Thursday, September 26, 2013

Two Weeks Review (2013)

Drama Rating: *****
Personal Rating: All time favourite!!

Jang Tae San, an underling of Chairman Moon's gang, is framed for a murder he did not perpetrate. Unfortunately, he is apprehended soon after he finds out he is the bone marrow donor for his recently reunited daughter with the operation taking place in fourteen days. As the mystery deepens, Jang Tae San realizes he can only depend on himself as there's seemingly no one he can trust. Meanwhile, Detective Im Seung Woo is focused on pinning the murder on him. How will Jang Tae San clear his name?

*Spoiler warning*

The plot for this drama was intense from start to finish and definitely ranks among one of the most thrilling thrillers I've seen to date. Typically good guy/bad guy chases (think Fugitive or Black & White) begin with a nail-biting opener but fall by the wayside as the story slowly unravels due to the lack of thought behind how the story would conclude. Major plot holes begin plaguing the drama by the mid-series and pretty much falls apart by the end so that, despite the best efforts of the screenwriter to keep the story under control, too many loose ends and unanswered questions remain at the conclusion. Happily, this was not one of those dramas and in fact tops even Ghost, one of the better thrillers of late. Significant plot holes are generally avoided and the audience is kept riveted throughout the satisfying, 16-episode thrill ride. Well done!

Lee Jun Ki shines in this cop thriller as fugitive Jang Tae San. He was perfectly made for this role and does an exemplary job as a fugitive on the run who gradually learns the severity of his situation. Costars Park Ha Sun (as Seo In Hye), Kim So Yun (as Prosecutor Park), and Ryu Soo Young (as Detective Im) make up the rest of the stellar team that really make this drama sparkle. All three mastered their characters convincingly and indelibly reveal their imperfections and weaknesses. The devious Congresswoman Jo Seo Hee is played by Kim Hye Ok, who gave a superlative performance that vividly captured the emotions of her character while Jo Min Ki was no less sinister as gang boss Moon Il Seok. Overall, this was great performance by a top-notch cast with plenty of acting chops to boot.

While the soundtrack was not particularly groundbreaking, there was no need for it to be. The plot and suspense in the writing already created an awesome thriller and the music director simply made the most of that. Romantic scenes were appropriately matched with sappy, sentimental tunes and ballads for which Korean composers are so skilled at creating. Tense situations were made all the more so with unnerving, energetic selections that created an atmosphere of anticipation and urgency.

One word - intense! No doubt one of the best and most well-crafted thrillers I've seen ever. Plotlines were solid (or as close as they can get, realistically speaking anyway) with some great acting by the cast making this series VERY exciting to watch. A sense of urgency is continually felt throughout as the drama waxes and wanes through numerous climaxes and building up toward a much anticipated conclusion. It was a brilliant idea to keep the story down to two weeks so that the plot has a limited but manageable scope without making story threads overly complex and helping to minimize the risk of creating large plot holes. All in all, for sure one of the best dramas of the year!

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