Freitag, 11. August 2017

Night Watch

불침번을 서라 (Night Watch, also known as Neighborhood Watch) is a South Korean drama special that was aired on KBS2 on August 7th 2013 and has a duration of 1 hour and 7 minutes.

Story: Kim Hee-chan is an unpopular novelist and usually stays at home during daytime. On the other hand, his wife Jo Min-sook works during regular work hours. One morning she leaves for work and finds a blue bag filled with food trash tied to her car. She suspects Kim Soo-ji but the next morning, Soo-ji finds a blue bag like that next to her door and assumes it is revenge. However, during the next few days, blue trash bags appear in front of other neighbor's doors as well and cause a lot of suspicion and even one accident. Trying to find the "culprit" the residents start to check the CCTV and literally go on night watch.
I'm not fully sure if I understood the point of this drama. Yet it is a cute watch and keeps you busy for 1 hour. I actually caught myself being suspicious of everyone at one point and trying to figure out why someone would place trashbags in front of random doors.

Cast: Ki Tae-young as Kim Hee-chan. I don't really know what I should write here, it's not like I did not like his acting but more that it was again over the top and I think it was supposed to be like this to light up the mood a bit but.. I wish the whole special would've been just a tad bit more serious. But after all it was good and I have no idea what to criticize.
Lee Seung-min as Jo Min-sook. Oh, I liked her acting but not her character! I guess I just generally have a problem with female characters in dramas sadly but the jealousy was no joke and I hated it.. Well, I can't change that at least but a part of her character was actually understandable.
Kim Yoo-hyun as Kim Soo-ji. I found her character to be much more interesting for a female character. I can't pinpoint what it is but maybe it was just that she actually seemed interested at one point and wanted to find out what was going on (if I remember right).
Kwak Hee-sung as Kim Jin-hyuk. Oh, his character is a sweetie in this one and he reminded me of a puppy, especially the way he cared for his parents even though they were not present in this drama directly was quite sweet. I fairly enjoyed his acting, too.
Keep in mind that after just 1 hour you're usually not able to talk a lot about acting skills unless you really focus on that.

This was an entertaining, light-hearted watch but I probably wouldn't rewatch it because yes, it got me bored here and there and I still don't understand what the big deal is about a trash bag if you carry out your trash every single day anyway. I probably wouldn't bother to do research but rather rely on surveillance cameras or anything but I certainly wouldn't care enough to sit outside during nighttime and observe the building.
Also, parts of this looked more like a play that could've been performed on stage but not really like a drama special. This bothered me slightly but it wasn't terrible.

Freitag, 4. August 2017

Queen of Ambition

야왕 (Queen of Ambition) is a South Korean drama series that was aired on SBS from January 14th to April 2nd 2013 and consists of 24 episodes with a duration of approximately one hour each. This drama is referred to as "makjang", a genre that is not easy to explain so I might write an extra entry on this one day.

Story: Ha Ryu and Joo Da-hae grew up together in an orphanage until Da-hae was picked up by her mom and her stepfather. A few years later, Yang Taek-bae goes to a house to collect money with Ha Ryu and surprisingly enough they find Da-hae next to her mothers corpse. After this event they stay together and Da-hae lives with Hong An-sim and Ha Ryu and studies for the university entrance exam. After she passes they face the problem of money and Ha Ryu decides to work for Da-hae's tution. They live like this for a while until Da-hae's stepfather who supposedly abused her comes looking for her and the tragic story starts.
Again, a few years later, Da-hae and Ha Ryu have a daughter together and Da-hae gets the chance to work at a huge company. The son of the owner shows interest in her and wants her to go to the US with him to study. Da-hae talks about this to Ha Ryu who decides to make more money and sent her abroad to study. After she comes back, she breaks up with him to follow her ambition and make it to the top of the social hierarchy in South Korea.
Actually there is so much to this story but I don't want to spoil anyone so I'm trying to not give you a lot of information. Just be warned, this drama turns out to be a battle between Ha Ryu and Da-hae with them having nothing to lose in the end. This is much more than a melodrama or a family drama in my opinion but has some thrilling aspects as well even though it is not a thriller.

Cast: Soo Ae as Joo Da-hae. After seeing her in at least two dramas I think she is not a bad actress, no, but in this drama many things seemed a little bit off or unnatural to me. Yes, of course that might be because of the way her character was written and not about her portrayal of the character but it is still not easy to fully point out what it was. As far as I remember she occasionally seemed stiff. It still did not bother me enough to fully hate her acting though.
Kwon Sang-woo as Ha Ryu/Cha Jae-woong. I quite loved everything about his acting to be honest. A loving father and "nearly" husband (or long term boyfriend), a tough enemy and a fighter as well as a good friend. I just really can't find anything I could criticize about his acting.
Jung Yun-ho as Baek Do-hoon. Let's face it, once again many people will watch this drama solely because their beloved idol is in here. Now I have to say that his acting was good enough and if there was something I missed I could usually say that it was based on the way his character was written - carefree and lacking seriousness. Nonetheless I do not think it is worth to watch this drama solely because of him. Yes, he does have a lot of scenes but I think you might start to hate Da-hae at one point.. maybe episode 16 or 18? I'm not sure anymore.
Other actors in this drama include Kim Sung-ryung as Baek Do-kyung, Kwon Hyun-sang as Yang Taek-bae, Go Joon-hee as Seok Soo-jung, Sung Ji-ru as Uhm Sam-do and Lee Il-hwa as Hong An-sim.

Soundtrack: There was not one moment in which I thought the music was terrible or unfitting to be very honest. However, my favorite track has been (long before watching this drama Ailee's "얼음꽃 (Ice Flower)" and this drama changed how I personally interpreted the title of this song without ever reading the translated lyrics (or translating it by myself). Still a very beautiful song I will probably love for the next few years as well and loved ever since it was released.

Remember when I said I don't like melodramas? I still stay with that. This drama is so much more than a melodrama even though it is usually referred to as one. It has this special, evil twist that is not necessarily about fate or a disease but about a person and her desire which causes the evil in this drama.
If you dislike dramas with a darker atmosphere, this one might not be for you. As all of my regular readers know I love crime, suspense, thriller and horror if it makes you shiver just because of the atmosphere and this drama did not go that far but gave me goosebumps, too.