Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mackerel Run Review (2007)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Loved it!

Mackerel Run tells the story of an aspiring soccer player Cha Gong Chan who is kicked off the team and serves as public enemy number one to his teacher Ma Do Shik and the school's Director. As Cha Gong Chan struggles to stay in school, he ends up creating touching and memorable high school memories.

*Spoiler warning*

Despite the slightly rough beginning, the core of this drama is rather fun as you get transported back to the good old high school days. Unlike japanese school dramas of the last several years, this drama doesn't focus on a class of serious delinquents where the teacher ends up fighting off gangsters or a class of underachievers  struggling to improve their grades. Instead, it takes a rather simple approach by delving into the everyday lives and struggles of high school students. Granted, some of the scenes are a bit exaggerrated but they're often done in an amusing fashion with an anime-like quality. The ending unfortunately, was far too abrupt. It almost felt as though the screenwriter was forced to end the drama far earlier than expected and had to wrap everything up without suitable plot development to get there.

Lee Min Ho plays a lively Cha Gong Chan who is constantly up to no good. Lee Min Ho is clearly less reserved in this drama as his acting oozes natural, raw emotions with instinctive reflexes. In comparison, Moon Chae Won's Min Yoon Seo feels overly rigid and unemotional in this drama. While keeping a poker face might be called for in certain situations, acting requires conveying a character's emotions to the audience. It was far too difficult for the audience to tell if she was pining for Baek Hyun or secretly longing for Cha Gong Chan. Kwon Se In's cool, confident Baek Hyun and Jung Yoon Jo's sharp witted Yoon Sae Mi were great fits for their roles. And last but certainly not least, after his brilliant comic turn in Secret Garden, I was rather amused to see Lee Byung Joon take this equally, if not more so, comedic role of Ma Do Shik. His timing and delivery of lines is just priceless. Between him and Lee Min Ho, their comedic antics will definitely leave you with a smile.

This drama really conveys a sense of fun and excitement with the music. The suitable soundtrack is light-hearted, filled with cheesy love ballads but the audience is also serenaded with the soft sounds of the xylophone and woodwinds for more sensitive and romantic scenes. Tense situations were reflected by the use of fast-paced rhythms from the electric guitar, percussion and jarring vocals. Sound effects are also extensively used in this drama, particularly to emphasize humor and comedy. Interestingly, the use of these cheesy sound effects actually made the drama much more fun to watch.

Despite the unusual name, Mackerel Run is a fun-filled, high school drama replete with annoying teachers, sappy love stories, sports competitions, amorous rejections, schoolyard bullying and much more. Surprisingly, the cast surpassed my expectations in spite of their youth and brought this drama to life with their lively characters. Lee Min Ho and Lee Byung Joon's comedic portrayals of their characters made this drama especially fun to watch. It was truly a shame that the drama ended so early and abruptly as the ending seemed rather carelessly patched together. An unfortunate end to a promising drama!


  1. That thing you said about the scriptwriter and abrupt, that's exactly what happened. Lee Minho didn't even know about it til the 6th or 7th episode. xC

    1. Sad when that happens, really ruins the drama :/

  2. Seriously ! That is the end of the movie ? No season 2 ? Aigoo ! I love happy ending.