Friday, January 24, 2014

The Heirs Review (2013)

Drama Rating: ***
Personal Rating: Decent

Park Shin Hye is visiting California to look for her elder sister who's ditched her family when she chances on Kim Tan in Los Angeles, an unlikely heir to Jeguk Group, a chaebol back in Korea. Through their coincidental circumstances, they are reunited in Seoul and their love continues to blossom after their return. Rarely do things go so smoothly and as expected, they run into stiff opposition from Rachel, Tan's fiancee, Choi Young Do, Tan's former best friend and Tan's father, the chairman of Jeguk Group. See how things unfold in this answer to the age-old question, will love conquer all?

*Spoiler warning*

Screenwriting: C

The plot generally revolves around a well developed love triangle between Kim Tan, Cha Eun Sang and Choi Young Do as well as Kim Tan's general struggles against his father. Accompanying story threads are neatly woven into the plot fabric to provide supporting material for this main story arc as needed. However, it would have been more desirable had there been some further development of the many side stories as they were very entertaining; it felt like a real waste to toss out such rich drama content. For me, as with most dramas, the ending generally makes or breaks the story and unfortunately, this one falls in the latter category. I was quite disappointed with the anti-climatic denouement given the large amount of buildup. So although Kim Eun Sook came through with a decent script making good use of the acting talent pool, the story was generally a disappointment.

Lee Min Ho and Park Shin Hye star as the primary couple in this much anticipated drama and I must admit Park Shin Hye does a great job portraying the subtleties of her character in moments of joy and anguish. Lee Min Ho's acting leaves something to be desired as his acting rings a bit hollow especially when compared to the rest of the cast. Kim Tan's love for Cha Eun Sang is either not always felt (he comes across more as a player at times) or doesn't feel genuine especially when compared to Kim Woo Bin's convincing rival performance as Choi Young Do. His initial interactions with his brother also comes across more as gay romantic love than brotherly affection. The rest of the younger generation supporting cast including Krystal, Kim Ji Won, Kim Woo Bin, Kang Min Hyuk and Park Hyung Shik was surprisingly very strong playing every bit their parts. The elders were obviously quite polished and rounded up a very solid cast.

The musical selection for this drama was generally quite upbeat and matched the tone of the series quite well. However, like much of the series, it felt a bit too cliche and commercialized to make a deep impact on the viewing experience. In the end, the OST makes for a decent accompaniment to the drama but like the story itself, leaves very little lasting impression.

I must admit when I first started the drama that I was a bit leery of another rich and poor storyline and so this drama took quite a while before it started to grow on me. To add to that, Lee Min Ho was reprising a similar role (aka Goo Jun Pyo in Boys Over Flowers) so I was quite hesitant even with Kim Eun Sook penning the script. By the middle of the drama, I was hooked by the engaging storyline and by the strong acting of most of the cast. I wanted to like this drama from the beginning and was glad I got into it by the middle. But by the end, I grew rather frustrated by the disappointingly weak resolution and the fact that there were too many loose ends left. Sadly, this adds to the collection of dramas that gets your hopes up but lets you down at the end.  The only redeeming factor was the surprisingly strong cast performances (aside from Lee Min Ho) that made the drama somewhat likeable.

1 comment:

  1. It was an enjoyable drama. I found the soundtrack upbeat as well. There are some loveable characters and a few annoying ones.

    I liked the Choi Young Do side story the most and the chairwoman for me, left some good impressions on me by the end. The plot I felt was weakly connected by the main protagonist doing whatever he wants, leaving a messy ending of quick conclusions.