Iris (Korean Drama 2009)

iris

Drama Rating: 7/10

Kim Hyun Joon and Jin Sa Woo are close friends who are both best in their military skills, they are then recruited into the NSS (National Security System) a top secret organization comprised of elite agents which does covert missions for the Koreaniris2-00111 government. During their time in NSS, both men falls in love with the beautiful and yet feisty profiler agent named Choi Seung Hee, however she only reciprocated Hyun Joon’s affection which pushed Sa Woo on the sidelines. When Hyun Joon was assigned on a mission to Hungary, he became severely wounded but was able to escape. Upon his return, he learned that he was set up and was betrayed by his friend Hyun Joon. He was then taken into custody as a criminal and is due for interrogation and jail time. Seung Hee tried to help him escape but one thing led to iris20-00023another and both were torn apart by a bombing incident which led Seung Hee to believe that Hyun Joon died. On the other hand, Hyun Joon was saved by complete strangers who introduced themselves to be a part of another secret organization named IRIS. Hyun Joon fled to another country under a different identity, when he came back to Korea he was set out for revenge against the people who wanted him dead in the guise of  aiding the people who wants to stop the reunification of South and North Korea.

Basically Iris is like a taste of ALIAS, the American series which starred Jennifer Garner, the difference is that this drama is in male form with a downer story line and bitter ending. I’ll start off with what I loved about this drama and that will be Lee Byung Hun and 582391624_origKim Tae-hee. They made this series worth watching because of their sizzling hot chemistry, kick ass action scenes and those witty dialogues which made this drama a household name. As for the supporting cast, I have fallen in love with the antagonist! Why is T.O.P. one heck of a slick villain?!? This was the first drama which I’ve seen him in and he was awesome in it. He can hold a gun to my head and I probably wouldn’t care just like the lady he’s together with during his undercover mission.

Then there’s the back drop setting in which they actually went to different countries to shoot realistic and proper locations which was a huge plus point for the series. What really made it a recommendable drama was the action scenes. As I have mentioned earlier it was like ALIAS,  it was kick ass and butt full of action. The fight scenes were eye popping that it was hard for me to think that it wasn’t a movie but instead a drama. They outdid themselves in the choreography with the fight sequence, battle gear and stunts. That’s why I am recommending it whole heartedly, plus not to forget the judo moves and gun shots. There were also a lot of run-for-your-life-while-bleeding-on-the-left-side-of-your-gut-crazed-looks while guns are aimed dead-on skulls. Even dying with blood stricken tears streaming down the face looked darn good and didn’t seem upsetting to watch.

As for the story line, it did start off great along with heavy action scenes but it just lost me along episode 5 up until it was about to end. It got all messy for the wrong reasons and the twists weren’t enough to put fire on my ass and say, “Gaaaaad… that was awesome”. The romance wasn’t enough to salvage that even though they had a really good concept for the romantic part in the whole series. So I’m leaving the story line behind with all my rants at the backroom because other factors made the drama a good one for its genre. Pushing all negative factors about the plot, I simply don’t care anymore as long as I get one full hour of action.

 

Photos are not mine. Credits to the owner.
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Mr. Sunshine (Korean Drama 2018)

Synopsis:

During the 1871 Shinmiyangyo- U.S. expedition to Korea, a young slave boy from Jeoson fled to America to escape his bitter fate from the hands of a noble family. When this boy grew up, he was sent back to Jeoson by the American government which he served as a soldier to be assigned as a commission officer and as a secret agent. From there he falls in love with a noble woman while harboring feelings of revenge for the family who was responsible for the loss of his parents.

Words from Me:

The setting of this drama was during the transition of Korea from Jeoson to the modern era and probably closing on to becoming a democratic nation. Story wise it was full of fictional characters and settings but was also somehow mixed with bits of truth here and there. I haven’t researched much about Korea’s history in regards with the drama’s time table because I didn’t want to compare fiction to reality. I have this thing about getting disappointed when I’ve set my expectations already. The drama was also filled with wit, thanks to the writer who seemed to enjoy on sneaking in a couple of funny moments using words to make a comical scene out of this serious drama, but a huge thanks should be given to the actors who were able to deliver these humorous lines. They were able to lighten the drama atmosphere by inserting some comic relief.

Setting that aside, I love the fact that this drama was dedicated to those who sacrificed their lives for their own nation. Though the drama summary seemed to revolve around two people who fell in love against all odds, there is a deeper meaning beyond the romance and that’s patriotism. Most of the lead characters in this drama weren’t keen in protecting their own country, except for one. They didn’t even want to get involved with anything that pertains to Jeoson, however, as time passed by and the situation got worse, these characters cross paths with each other and are eventually thrown into the chaos. The only lead character that was so sure of protecting Jeoson was Go Ae-Shin, a nobleMr. Sunshine ep10.mp4_004261294 woman with a high status and was bound to marry a man with the same standing in life. This steadfast character was portrayed by Kim Tae-Ri which she gave so much justice for. Ae-Shin is a stubborn woman with an amusing personality at times. Due to her all-knowing attitude, she seems to put herself in a pinch and ends up embarrassing herself in the end. Despite this little quirk in her character, she’s a woman who can wield a gun and shoot anyone spot on, that’s why she was chosen by the rebels whom they call themselves “The Righteous Army” to become their sniper. Her counterpart in this drama was Yoo Jin Choi/Eugene Choi performed by the hallyu veteran Mr. Sunshine ep10.mp4_004254954actor Lee Byung Hun. He was the servant boy who ran away from his country to avoid being killed. He had his own sheer of bad luck and dire circumstances that he ended up being an American citizen only to return to his birth county as an American soldier with big responsibilities. Unfortunately he fell in love. Yoo Jin could have lived a peaceful life as an American commander stationed in Jeoson, but no… he didn’t choose that kind of life because he decided to fall in love and choose the sappy path of romance and bits of revenge. I won’t say more about his character because it would be a big spoiler if I do, but I’d like to add that Byung Hun nailed his character. He may not be my favorite in this drama nonetheless he did a perfect job as Eugene Choi, he was able to speak English fluently with very little Korean accent, also adding up the fact that he can converse in Japanese was another feat that made me like him more than Ae Shin.

I have listed three other characters in this drama that is worth mentioning. First is myMr. Sunshine ep10.mp4_002111378 most favorite character – Gu Dong Mae also known as Ishida Sho. He was acted by Yoo Yeon Seok, he’s also one of my favorite Korean actors. The reason why I love his character is that he’s a total ladies man! He has this nonchalant way of helping out ladies in distress in a very cool way. Dong Mae was a son of a butcher and back in Jeoson days, being a butcher means being in the lowest ranks of commoners and more like equal to a slave. He lived like a dog when he was a young boy and resented everyone even Ae Shin who tried to help him escape during a certain incident, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t grateful because he was. He also have this weird way of showing his love, he does hateful things to aggravate the person he likes so as she wouldn’t forget him and that his memory will embed in her mind forever. He’s the typical bad boy who can kill anyone with his shiny-sharp cherry blossom sword and yet go through an unrequited love. The second character in my list is the hotel Mr. Sunshine ep15.mp4_001524758owner Kudo Hina who was once called Lee Yang Hwa. When she was a young girl, she was sold off by her own father to marry a rich but old Japanese man. Her character is quite peculiar because she does things on her own pace and she also has all kinds of agenda in her plate, but one thing is for sure, she’s a strong willed woman who cares for other people despite how feisty she is. With the kind of personality she has, I’d bet she’d bite off anyone who would mess with her. Just the kind of woman I’d like to be friends with. The last character in my list is Kim Hui Seong and he was personified by Byun Yo Han in an epic way. Hui Seong hasMr. Sunshine ep16.mp4_000128962 deep ties with Yoo Jin and Ae Shin, since his family was the one that made Yoo Jin’s life a living hell in Jeoson and he was pre-engaged by his grandfather to Ae Shin. I love how his character evolved up to the end. At first, he may seem like an easy go lucky like kind of person but underneath it all, he wanted to be of use in more ways than one. Another thing that I liked is how Yo Han was able to sparkle between the charismatic guys, Yoo Jin and Dong Mae. I find myself looking forward for the trio’s scenes together because they always end up with such witty and funny lines.

Mr. Sunshine ep15.mp4_002664431

All in all, everything in this drama looked beautiful, the actors and the back ground setting was a highlight of its own. I also have this thing for cinematography and those Mr. Sunshine ep20.mp4_003823890back shots which looks so good in screen captures. The drama also didn’t shy on killing those seemingly important characters in the middle of the show which totally tore my heart into pieces and made me anticipate who’s going to die next. It may have a bittersweet ending but it’s not about that, because the drama is about the journey and the sacrifices one has to make for the bigger picture and for those they love. By the way, OST was so good I had it running inside my head days after I’ve finished the drama. I felt happy and sad every time I hear the songs. TvN once again made a popular drama that would stay in the hearts of people who’ve seen it. I’m definitely recommending this for those who love watching historical dramas with heroic tendencies.