Posts Tagged korean dramas
There’s something to love about the dynamic these two have after 13 episodes, in Fugitive: Plan B.
They’re not comfortable enough with each other to be friends, and they’re not in a position to be lovers, but they connect about the important things. They’re brothers in arms. Comrades.
In a weird way, they’re on the same wavelength. She’s never lacked for money, and he’s never lacked attention. She’s been on the run from criminals and he’s on the run from the law…while catching criminals. She can fight her way out, while he never seems to get out without a fight.
Very complimentary styles, though they of course madden each other in completely different ways.
Rain’s character “Ji-Woo” is comfortingly predictable. He’ll look like a slacker until suddenly he gets struck by inspiration, and then spout off a cryptic metaphor before attacking the problem with everything he’s got. And go until it’s done. For Ji-Ni, I think his opportunism about money and girls is the kind of flaw that’s bearable. It’s pretty transparent.
On the other hand, Kai harbored an ability to betray her, buried very deep and apparently awoken only to protect her.
She’d rather have control than passion, though. For very good reason.
And why she freaks out when he seems to be changing his ground, or withholding information he thinks she won’t like.
He’s not the kind to actually hide things once they’re done, but he can’t articulate that difference.
I had noticed that it had been a relievingly long time since we saw insomniac-Ji-Ni, right before they’re fight over (literally) the gold, and it was so sad to see her go back to that, the moment he wasn’t present in her heart as a protection.
And yet…his dollar-store magic wand goes under her pillow while she tucks in with her bludgeon. There we see she hasn’t really put him on the list of Untrustworthys. She just has to live raw to stay alive.
While he has (predictably) bugged her, he also is unpredictably relenting about the insult, while firm about getting past their misunderstanding. Ah, this is where his value shines through. His lack of pride about some of the skeevier aspects of his interests also makes him able to do this.
JiNi has little left of dignity or stability, and inner pride is all she has, so he has to be contrastingly yielding. It’s great to have a guy in that role, while being the type of real guy that could be…
Thinking about it like this, it’s interesting to see how well their relationship DOES work. It backs up the way that I ship them, on a basic level–no, I don’t think we’ll see it happen during the show.
But as time goes by, and he remains cheerfully protective, she’s going to want more from him. And there will be other girls to make her aware of it, because Ji-Woo is shameless.
As for him, she pulls the serious self out of Ji-Woo. He has a bit of a learning curve when she rebuffs him, but later on there is enough of a connection whenever he reads an opening. She’s just too quick and stoic. I don’t think he’s in passionate love with her, but I think he’s the kind to build up that kind of feeling once he’s committed. But she’s a woman who can really know him, looking past the flirt and also past the professional.
Their insecurities are obvious to each other, and so are their strengths.
Lawks, this show is so cute.
The hero keeps trying to be That Chaebol Leading Man:
But he’s NOT. When he get’s a shower scene, we watch him spazzing over “How much did she see?” Literal flailing.
…When he was in his cartoony boxers and a T-shirt. Embarrassing but really, not that disastrous. He’s not mature, not because he’s willfully self-absorbed, because his life has been so limited. You know a girl has never seen him in his PJs before. And he hadn’t chosen her to be the one…
This is something superior with a mature actor. Ji Sung, who plays Cha Ji Heon, is 34, has done his military service. He reportedly dropped 30lbs. before filming, which gives him a boyish look. His ability to look completely uncool, unconscious of the camera, is one I haven’t really seen in younger thespians.
And he manages, that way, to be completely adorable.
Though I actually am more drawn to him in his “mid-thirties” glory:
…he looks like he could carry the groceries, but would put his foot down at carrying a purse. But also pay for dinner, right?
This kiddo? Not so much.
I will go knit sleeves on my sweet-loli-kodona sweater while I watch it
I did already see enough to screencap some truly awe-inspiring sets we’ll be spending time with…
I love how much space there is. This is a theme–in fact, this house Chaebollie resides in kind of reminds me of the Taiwanese drama concepts of rich-people-houses, which tends to involve lofted ceilings (the ultimate waste of space and antithesis to most Asian housing, not to be rude) and useless objects d’art.
The living trees are something I saw a bit of in Lie To Me, being used well, but here they’re on a completely different scale. I love the “eco-grandeur” of even the office. I don’t know what this company does, but it believes in SCALE
The whole company building feels a bit more like a modern-architecture-showpiece museum than any kind of industry center. Which is really kind of neat.
Also, I think some of the set pieces are also from City Hunter, which makes me feel a bit at home…
I’ve been watching an older drama, while simmering along in wait for subtitles on the shows that are current, starring Rain, and a lot of fun fight-scenes.
Also known (on Hulu, where I watch it) as Runaway Plan B, this is a gorgeously shot show where they knew how awesome shots would look in HD on a big screen, and planned accordingly.
As another show, like City Hunter, with an action/intrigue focus, and a high-tech friendly subject, they work a lot in cool colors for the industrial settings.
They also used locations where the detail may have been too complex to look well in lower resolution, but is drop-dead-gorgeous as well as evocative with a good lens on it.
Funny thing, though, the makeup department didn’t seem to get the memo. I first noticed it on Daniel Henney:
Figured it was just a problem of him being half-white and not matching the toners they had. But when it started really bothering me, I noticed that all the guys seemed to have the same color, and it looked kind of bad on others, too. They just aren’t the eye-candy type so it would bother me.
Even the leading lady was a little too yellow, when she’s a fair, blue-toned Winter. The subtleties needed for makeup on these newfangled shows was missed somehow.
There will be no comments on wardrobing, because I’m guessing it’s pretty easy to make guys look good when you’ve got Rain, who MUST be in v-necks and leather coolguy jackets, Henney, who looks good in anything businessman-like or average-guy-casual
and the ladies looked good in their suits, but there was *nothing* stand out in their wardrobing. I liked the detail of Jin-Yi wearing flat sandals of the kind of hippie type, and carrying flats a lot, but then sometimes she wears the high-heels of a Heroine, too. So I feel like they missed an opportunity for characterization there.
In the end, who cares? The point of this show is the compelling plot (which dragged a bit toward the 5th or so episode, but picked up again when the secrets were mostly out (an effect I was not expecting) and watching Rain ham it up.
Right. And eye-candy locations. It’s a globe-trotting, high-rollers-in-crime show. Why skimp on that?
You can tell you’re caught up in a show, when at the big Birth Secret reveal…
you think, “Yeah, he looks WAY more like him!”
Haha. Okay, so my actual thought was, “Right, that mom and that dad make more sense when it comes to creating a Lee Min Ho, though he’s a little tall for both of them.”
Still, they did a good job casting, right?
Something interesting I hadn’t thought of before: the fact that this father also makes more sense in the City Hunter that grew up than Jin-Pyo’s brother’s actual son probably would have. I did kind of wonder, what if this kid had been completely unadept at all this stuff? What if he’d grown up like the actual second-best dresser at the Blue House?
But Jin-Pyo and the president are actual more similar to each other than any of the other men (except Yoon-Sung and Young-Joo, but in that generation). A man who can make hard decisions. A man whose emotions are actually quite vulnerable, but also support his moral code.
They haven’t gotten soft just because they’re in charge, behind the frontlines, either.
I mean, look at how hot this guy’s hands are…
Jin-Pyo and Yoon-Sung are both *way* too vain to ever wear a hat like that with complete unconcern for anything but comfort, but it’s actually quite cute. (Yoon-Sung *is* Jin-Pyo’s son by nurture…)
Anyway, it’s cool to think that Yoon-Sung could grow up like this–someone with regrets, sure, but able to live as a human despite it, not a one-dimensional passion for money, power, or…revenge.
have a gratuitous art-shot from City Hunter, may it live forever:
This whole scene was about the unspoken, things we know and the characters don’t, and so the open-ended focus and back-profiles are just good cinematography as far as I can tell…
The space is both obvious, but not awkward. And I notice, that the scenes of the president are all very uncluttered but not high-style, either. The only really exciting place in the Blue House is the security room, actually. This choice, to not glorify or stiltify the national headquarters, is one that both makes the tension not about lifestyle but moral code, and makes the accessibility of these places to our main characters much smoother.
And stuff. Probably.
Last: gratuitous art shot of Himself.
I admired the Arch-City Hunter for his good looks and steely manner from the moment we go to see him in his guerrilla-chick gun vest and cargo pants in the second half of the first episode. When he made the switch to Steve Lee style, in his palatial new house. as he got ready to send his son off to Yale, it seemed so drastic a switch I was wondering what was going on.
Yet, he never lost that kind of debonair edge of the man ready to jump for a gun. It was kind of intriguing…
It wasn’t until the first real scene of danger to him that I realized there was something about him (a little obvious in the screencap above because I was wanting to capture it, once I noticed) that kept that past visually present.
Right there, with his (no doubt very nice) watch, are those surfer-style bracelets. What are their functions? Who knows. He hands the bullet over to Yoon-Sung, maybe they’re some sort of memento. He’s definitely the nostalgic type. (In an ironically twisted way? Heh.)
Or maybe, there for in case he has no gun anymore and needs to hang someone. With Jin Pyo, who knows? He sleeps sitting up, hand on a firearm.
There’s something inscrutably hot about this guy. And I’m going to make this clear: every time he does something cruel I was disappointed in him. It’s mostly the actor, you know? I think it’s *awesome* they got a hot actor, who can pull off layering leather bracelets, to play the Bad Dad.
The Prez also had hot arms, but we’ll have to get to that some other day…
One of the things about City Hunter that I’m surprised to actually support is that while the love-line between Na-Na and Yoon-Sung took the fore in a mini-arc, once it was kind of settled, the actual mission came again to the front. Na-Na was still a major player, because she was set up as a character involved with the whole package, not just his solace in a nasty storm…
though very good at that, too.
The focus of the drama was all about relationshipS, a network of them, where no connection came without a couple of knots with others. Even though the action was hot, it was the pieces of this network falling together that was the primary suspense.
And so, what was the best love-line? All shades of love are involved in this drama…
appropriate since the denouement conflict is over choosing between the love of loyalty, blood, and altruism, too.
So then, we have Jin-Pyo, who made him who he is, and who is his harshest enemy. His mom, who he has the sweetest, bitterest reunion with. Young-Ju, with whom he has a rivalry that pushes both of them to excellence…and the funniest dominance games.
But who brings out the best in him? The human flaws and virtues?
Not Na-Na, actually. She heightens his conflict as City Hunter, and throws him into the hyper-reality of romantic love. No, this honor goes to everyone’s favorite ajumma…
I mean, look at these guys.
They have the sweetest exchanges, in terms of every-day back and forth in a friendship. The credit-cards arguments?
BEST THING SINCE COCOA
They’re the kind of besties that usually you only see in US chick-flicks. Lee Min Ho’s other best pairing notwithstanding…
It’s so cute, because while Yoon-Sung still feels the emotional lack of a mother, and all the ugly pressure of a swarm of fathers, Ajussi is the one who makes sure he’s living well, who gives him someone to take care of (who’s not a burden emotionally, but a real motivator to stay alive) and also a buddy who can help with whatever he’s up to.
Na-Na can keep up with the action, but Shik-Joong can be talked into doing the grunt work…
How cute is it that he’s the opposite of Yoon-Sung’s suave, plausible con man, and yet, he ALWAYS succeeds, too?
Aw. I will miss you.
This is a show set firmly in the 2kteens.
In a way, it must be horrible for actors to have to be on-target facially to such a high definition. Lee Min Ho does not have to cry over this, though.
I mentioned toward the beginning of the series that costumers know they have a good thing when he’s under their hands. I notice, in my screen caps, that there’s a lot of black, of course … and also hues of baby blue. It’s kind of in metro fashion these years, but it’s also definitely a good color on him.
Since there is almost no softness to his figure and features, the gentle colors don’t take away any masculinity.
EVEN if you put him in lace-texture blouses, too.
(I noted how they didn’t cop out on his sick-pallor makeup for several episodes after he got shot, and then again after being gassed. In looking back over the recaps I’m reminded how awesome that little detail is.)
Something else I’m seeing even more clearly from my screencaps is the introduction of warm, pinkish tones when NaNa is on the scene. I noted at the time the strong, but romantic light in this scene:
It’s true to the very high-intensity light of the rest of the show, but softened by the contrast of red phone and bright blouse, and a small diffuse effect.
But it’s not just in warm moments that this is true, actually.
Even if it’s Lee Yoon-Sung wearing maroon in the shot, can you deny it?
It’s a color that looks well against the sky and steel blues of most of the rest of the show, yet has a very distinctly different vibe.
You may also note (in upcoming photos, and previous ones) nature colors of wood and greens are the others to temper the black and glass-clear tech of this show’s 2011. Sky blue is noticeable in lightening the mood, because it has more green and yellow notes in it than the powdery or clear colors elsewhere.
So hot it BURNS.
…of course I’m talking about that jacket, what else?
That’s how many screencaps I have of this show. Usually it’s more toward 30 total, but you know…
this was just a gorgeous show. The shots, the sets, the people. Any time the beats of the scene were going to be a little slow, they plopped it in a place with visual energy.
It’s really not surprising me at all that I took that many without really trying too hard. This is probably only a handful of episodes worth. The story is so absorbing I plumb forgot most times.
Just as Myung Wol the Spy (my new favorite flavor of crack) is working the rebellious energy of the Eric/Han Ye-Seul pairing, Nana and Yoo Sung are both eager-to-please, dedicated people with a taste for danger. It’s not just chemistry of their clear-lined looks. Their characters, and the actors behind it, have rapport.
I’m going to be so sad when this show is over. Since it’s never for a minute bored me, though, I’ll probably be rewatching it someday.
Anyway, fair warning: thematic posts on City Hunter to turn my mourning energies to productivity likely to fill the next week or so.