My Beautiful Bride: Gone Girl

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The Kdrama gods have shown their mercy. I finally found English subs for My Beautiful Bride. Another brilliant grungy OCN crime production that has me spellbound. This story follows the tragic underworld of loan sharking combined with organ harvesting. Cha Yoon Mi, a female detective, chases the Shadow leader of the organ harvesting operation and finally puts the leader Son Hak Soo away for 10 years with the help of an insider. However, the informant, who happens to be the past lover of Son Hak Soo, disappears after the man she betrayed was put into jail. Meanwhile, Kim Do Hyung, a seemingly straight-laced no nonsense (or fun) bank manager leads a nondescript life with his beautiful girlfriend, Yoon Joo-Young. Manager Kim is a very strict about managing the company’s money and isn’t the kind of guy that plays around. He is the type that would rather send a cake than take a client out for drinks and girls. He loves riding his bicycle everyday and didn’t find meaning in life until he met Joo-Young. Joo-young fell for him at first sight and hoped to get close to him. However, she turned out to be the disappeared informant of the organ harvesting operation. She wanted to start her life anew with this handsome manager. Luckily things worked out between them and they lived together for two years. He even proposed marriage at the expense of his richer household. However, she is hesitant about marrying him at first since he knows nothing of her past. One day, as he is riding home to her for dinner, she gets a mysterious phone call that sends her running. Joo-young disappears and Do Hyung has no way of finding her. She even left her wedding ring, but there were no signs of forced entry. Driven to the police station, he lists her as a missing person and attracts the attention of Yoon Mi who recognizes her past informant’s face. An investigation starts as Hak Soo is released from prison on parole. Do Hyung gets entangled with the unsavory loan shark organization as his investigates by himself. We also get to see his past military history where he was part of a special division of marines that traveled from N.Korea and back, meaning super badass fighter. Unfortunately, he gets caught by cops while chasing the leader of a loan shark group. What really astounds everyone else is that he happens to also have the frozen corpse of Hak Soo in his trunk.

I love it. Another dark goody from OCN. It seems now a days, all these badass detectives or leading fighters were part of some special division during their military service. Take Bummie from Hidden Identity for example! Not that I’m complaining! Anyways, while the three main leads are not from the famous group of actors, I find their acting pretty decent. Kim Moo Yul, plaing Do Hyung, is a new face to me. A little stiff, but that may be part of his super stiff character, and military background? With Joon Young captured, we probably won’t see too much of her unless she pops up somewhere else. Ko Sung Hee has been a hit or miss for me, but its a hit so far. As for Lee Si Young, she is looking amazing, beautiful, and even more improved since her BOF days. I very much enjoy strong female characters and she definitely shows it as the leader of the investigations. The filming is also great, juxtapositioning the main couple’s dreamy courtship and the grungy reality of debt paying. Awesome series to follow!

Check out this amazing OST !

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Hidden Identity: Angels in a Demon’s Mask

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A thousand times yes! My special craving for crime thrillers has been fulfilled yet again. Interestingly enough, TVN takes a leaf out of OCN’s book and produces a grungy noir piece. Cha Gun Woo plays a broody detective who has suffered a lot of traumas in his career. As a man of few words, others find it hard to work with him. However, he has a warm heart and holds his friends dear. Unfortunately, on a stakeout, Gun Woo loses his partner of 6 years and falls into a deeper state of depression. He also blames himself for the death of his girlfriend a few years past when she became involved in one of his investigations. His sunbae, Tae In, is the brother of the dead girlfriend and threw himself into undercover work in a gang in order to find out who killed her. When Tae In became exposed, Gun Woo was called in to also become undercover in order to find where Tae In was being tortured. Gun Woo plays a gambler who would do anything for money and gets recruited by the gang. He becomes part of the gang’s scheme to steal the hologram for Seoul’s new printed money. Although reluctant, Gun Woo joins the team in order to repay his debt to Tae In and find his girlfriend’s killer. In a moment of moral conflict, Gun Woo had to “kill” Tae In in front of the gang in order to keep his cover as a cop. Luckily, each cop has a molar installed with medicine that will put them into a coma instead. Tae In survived the stabbing that he actually initiated so that Gun Woo would not have to pull the first move. Although Gun Woo is exposed after the hologram code is stolen, he continues to participate in the investigation team.

Color me surprised when pretty Kim Bum transforms himself into gritty Gun Woo. In the past I have always remembered him as the pretty playboy type who has the most gorgeous smile. What a change here! Barely saying a few lines each episode, he conveys all his emotions through his expressions. I never realized how expressive he could be and how well he plays the angst angle. His crew cut, mustache, and broody air really changes him completely. I also enjoy how this series has a strong female character who really kicks arse, multiple arse by herself! Although I wished he would be undercover longer as I love seeing double agent tropes, the story must move on! I feel like this is a great career move to play this variety of character for Kim Bum. Coming from the team of Bad Guys, the fighting choreography is also on point. With brilliant moves that gets my blood pumping! This is definitely my top drama to watch right now!

High Society: Low Happiness

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There is a certain rawness in High Society that caught my eye within just the first episode. While High Society may sound like your run of the mill “life of the rich is actually hard, blah blah blah”, there is more to it than meets the eye. I am in it more for our two main character’s development arc. There is no happy Candy nor traumatized chaebol here. Instead, Yoon Ha is our main lady and she is the youngest daughter of a rich conglomerate. However, in her home she is repressed by her mother and bullied by her numerous siblings. Her mother noticeably pushes her down all the time and only forces her to get married so that Yoon Ha can leave the household. Meanwhile, Yoon Ha tries to break out of the pampered aghassi mode and gets a part-time job at a super-market.

There she makes a good friend named Lee Yi Ji, who is a Candy type where she is poor, happy, and hardworking. Yi Ji has her eyes set on handsome and hardworking Joon Ki, who is a deputy of the supermarket for a business conglomerate. Joon Ki is born to a poor social status and yearns to marry up or gain more power in the company. He hates being looked down upon for his family background and is noticeably annoyed when his richer friend says untactful comments at times. His friend, Chang Soo, is the younger son of a conglomerate who also yearns to make a name in his own company and rise above his older brother. However, he doesn’t do the work himself and always has Joon Ki solve his problems since he is more capable. Because of Chang Soo’s birthright, he unwittingly treats Joon Ki like his minion rather than as an equal. This bromance has a potential of going sideways for sure.

Chang Soo meets Yoon Ha in a blind date meeting set up by their parents, which goes awry as Yoon Ha tries to get out of the set up. It was at this place that Joon Ki first saw Yoon Ha and was interested. Yoon Ha had went in looking like rockstar to put off Chang Soo, and came back out clean and chastised after Chang Soo dumped water all over her head. Chang Soo hates being used and reported mean things about Yoon Ha back to his mother. After being scolded and hit at home by her mother, Yoon Ha decides to meet up with Yi Ji for comfort. She meets Joon Ki for a third time as she sees Yi Ji follow Joon Ki out of the supermarket after work. They say that if you meet a person three times coincidentally, it is fate. In Joon Ki’s mind, he doesn’t believe in fate, but “chooses” to pursue a possible interest in her.

For me I enjoy the innocence of Yoon Ha and look forward to seeing her develop more or fend for herself without relying on her birthright. She has an independent streak and I want to see what she does with it instead of being brutally suppressed by her mother. Played by UEE of After School, she has developed a lot in her acting role from her debut in Your Beautiful. While I hated her there, I really enjoy her portrayal here. As for Joon Ki, he is not your usual nice guy or rich guy. He has high ambitions and wants to climb the social ladder no matter what. He is the person who will leave you cold and hanging if it suits his goals. You can already tell he has something against the rich with their arrogant attitude. He has the perfect combination of utter coldness as well as inner warmth which is shown through Sung Joon’s versatile acting. Having seen most of his roles, he is a very capable actor who is very expressive with his face, especially his eyes. Now with Yoon Ha hiding her rich family and pretending to be poor, we can see how Joon Ki may be in conflict with himself as he aims to marry into a rich family. Will he compromise his ambitions for a love with a seemingly “average” girl? Will he just use her to achieve his goals? Will Yoon Ha be able to be with a guy she loves that is not of her status? I know she would not mind as she wishes to marry for love, but her family is her greatest obstacle. She wants to throw them away, while Joon Ki needs them. As for Yi Ji and Chang Soo, they will probably end up together later on as they are the two extremes left as our main develop their romance.

-phoenix