Goblin: Sorrowful Love

goblin_korean_drama-p1Dreamy and absolutely beautiful. I am in love, all the feels kind of love. To be honest, I was really hesitant to try the drama at first due to the vapid Descendants of the Sun….and the hit or miss track record from Kim Eun-Sook. For me, her dramas usually start out fantastic….and then peter out. However, this drama has got me wrapped around its finger.

With an amazing cast, beautiful filming and a gorgeous OST to boot, it hit the trifecta for me. Goblin tells the story of Kim Shin, an immortal being, who is waiting to find his bride so that he can finally die in peace. Hundreds of years ago, Kim Shin was a proud warrior who defeated many of his enemies, but was ultimately betrayed by royalty. He was unjustly branded a traitor by his country and his family ended in tragedy, including his sister, the young queen. He ended up being run through by his own sword.

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As a result, the gods above decided to give him both a punishment and reward. He would live forever while remembering all the deaths around him until he can find a bride to pull out the sword that is stuck in him.

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Wonderful Nightmare: Second Chances

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I definitely love me some body swap hijinks! In Wonderful Nightmare, Yeon Woo is a charismatic and savvy attorney. She cares only for money and reputation, ignoring the poor. She had a hard life growing up and that shaped her outlook on life. She enjoys being single and doesn’t care for marrying as she thinks it will only bring her heartbreak. However, due to a mistake in processing in “heaven”, she ends up dying early through a car accident. In heaven, she is given another chance to live again if she temporarily takes the place of another woman’s life who only has one more month to live. Eager to get back to the living, Yeon Woo decides to take this offer. Her new life is her worst nightmare. She is a mousy, stay-at-home mom of two children, a cheesy lawyer husband, and part of a loud ahjumma group. At first, she can’t get use to this new life and hates how poor she is. She tries to even use her old life to get ahead in her new life. However, she is scolded by “heaven” to not slip up since she has all her old memories and abilities. Gradually, she learns the warmth of a family and even takes on the familial duties that scorned before. Her kids also manage to warm up to her and she also enjoys standing up for her husband. However, with only one month to “live” this other woman’s life, she is reluctant to let go of this new experience she now enjoys. Unfortunately, her son begins to develop blindness that we find was genetic. She had suffered through the same growing blindness as a child that required several expensive surgeries to fix. However, heaven gave her to option to return about to her own life and have the blindness never happen to the son or to stay in her current role, but with the blindness of her son continuing. Although it broke her heart to give up her new family, she chose to go back to her own life to save her child suffering from the blindness.

Wonderful Nightmare is a story about sacrifice and familial bonds. Yeon Woo starts to learn how to care for others more and that life is not just about money. She learns to make attachments and even develops a maternal instinct. Um Jung-Hwa plays an awesome charismatic character as well as the homey housewife. Child actors Shin Ae and Ji-hoon are cute as buttons while new hubby Song Seung Hoon will have you swoony over how protective he is over his wife. A excellent feel good movie that will tug at your heartstrings.

Fatal Intuition: Psychometric

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I admit I watched this movie because Joo Won was the main actor and I love me some intense acting! Which I got for sure! Joo Won plays Jung Woo who lives with his sibling Eun Jin in a small seaside town. Jung Woo works menial jobs in order to support his sister going to college. His aim is to get both of them out of the rural countryside. Eun Ji is a playful and outgoing girl who is kind to everyone. She is also very pretty which makes Jung Woo very protective of her. One day, after an argument about there future, Jung Woo locks Eun Ji in the house so she won’t run away. Upset, he goes out drinking with his friends. Unfortunately, an intruder breaks into their home and ends up drowning Eun Ji in his own bleaching vat in the basement since she couldn’t escape the locked house. Jung Woo comes back and ends up filing a missing persons case when he couldn’t find where she went. Meanwhile, another girl in the town is bullied severely and cursed by everyone due to her unique ability to foresee the deaths of people she comes across. Before Eun Ji’s death, the two girls had come into contact with each other. Eun Ji was nice to her and the psychic girl Si-Eun had accidentally saw her death. Si-Eun had passed out from the force of her vision and wasn’t able to save Eun Ji. However, she did manage to let Jung Woo know where Eun Ji’s body was. Jung woo was heartbroken when he found out his sister died and swore vengeance to find who did it. He suspected the neighborhood pharmacist who had a upstanding reputation had done it. He beings chasing him down, but no one would believe that the pharmacist was the culprit. Si-Eun even tries to use her powers to help him. Little by little, we find out about the pharmacist’s sordid and bloody past. His own family had died by his hands. Even without the police helping him, Jung Woo swore he would kill the pharmacist with his own hands for what he had done.

The movie itself did not have much dialogue as it relied mostly on cinematography and the actor’s expressions. Joo Won puts on a rural dialect to play role and the chase is thrilling since the pharmacist is physically a strong fighter and able to elude Jung Woo. He is also manipulative enough to escape the police and turn the tables in his favor. Poor Si-Eun plays a sister substitute to Jung Woo’s real sister after she passed away. He becomes protective of her and they fight against society themselves to bring about vengeance and survive the ordeal. All in all, a decent movie to pass the time, but not anything to write home about.

 

W-Two Worlds: Fiction or Not?

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A very interesting concept! How many times have we imagined our favorite fictional characters coming to life and being able to interact with them? Oh Yeon-Joo is a cardiothoracic resident whose father pens a popular webtoon called “W”. The main character is named Kang Chul, a handsome young man with revenge in mind. In Kang Chul’s world, he is a Olympic sharpshooter who also runs a multi-billion company. The company is a front for an investigation show where he tries to find the killer who murdered his entire family and framed him for it.However, her father is planning to end the series by killing off Kang Chul. After a couple of odd disappearances of her father while he is trying to write out the last scenes of the webtoon, she decides to investigate what is going on. As she rummages in her father’s drawing studio, she is somehow pulled into the drawing tablet by a bloody hand. It turns out that she is literally dragged into the webtoon by Kang Chul. She manages to save his life by giving emergency treatment, but then is dragged back to her own dimension after seeing the words “to be continued…” appear in midair. In her world, the webtoon is writing itself now and she is now including in the drawings. Everything that happened in the other world is drawn as is and published on line. At first, her friends do not believe her and even her father, who reappears, tries to ignore it. The father knows what is happening which is why he is trying to end the series and kill of Kang Chul, who he believes has become a monster. However, the webtoon has now a life of its own and will write it’s own story no matter what the father draws. Yeon Joo ends up being pulled several times into the webtoon in order to help Kang Chul. However, she has a hard time getting back to her own world each time. She goes out of her way to “surprise” Kang Chul like slapping him or kissing him out of the blue in order to create a cliffhanger event to end that episode. Kang Chul is intrigued by this “crazy” women, but knows that she is the key to his life.

YES YES, another Lee Jong Suk drama please! I really adore and have watched all of the dramas he was in. He is a very versatile young actor who has put out several popular shows within the last few years. The character Lee Jong Suk plays is your typical Mary Sue with all the workings, tall, popular, good looking, smart, strong, and rich. However, it seems like he has a darker side as he shoots Yeon Joo with his gun just to test his theory that she is not of his world. I also feel bad that his character endures several out of context events that keep on trying to kill him. Meanwhile, although I like Han Hyo Joo, her role in this drama is a bit awkward at times. She is almost a little ditzy and is incredibly a bad liar. Then again, I would probably be as confused as she is if I was pulled into a webtoon which I had only read about. I suppose I had expected her to have more of a strong woman role like the actual heroine of the webtoon. Nonetheless, I am at the point where Kang Chul is starting to cross over to her world so I am eager to see what happens then!

Bring it On, Ghost: Supernatural Duo

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SO CUTE. Kim So Hyun hits it out of the park again with her sassy, spunky, ghosty character paired with a straight-laced ghost fighter, Taecyeon. In this drama, Taec plays Bong Pal, a college freshman who makes a living fighting ghosts. He offers a public service where his customers pay him large sums to exorcise ghosts out of certain locations. However, the catch is that he only fights the weaker ghosts. One day, Taec is called to an abandoned girl’s high school to exorcise a strong perverted ghost. The girl who called him there is Hyun-Ji, a female ghost who has been dead for 5yrs, not a human like he expected.  Hyun Ji does not seem like the other ghosts who are gray and decaying in appearance. She still mysteriously retains her youthfulness and color. However, she does not remember anything about her past or how she died. Hyun Ji is very spunky and a good fighter as well.  At first, they are constantly getting into fights with one another. However, gradually they learn to work together to fight off the stronger and more brutal ghosts. She practically follows him around everyday due to one instance where their lips touched and she was able to see bits and pieces of her past. Of course, she tries to sneak in another “kiss” as an attempt to see her past, unsuccessfully. Bong Pal, at first finds her quite annoying, but gradually becomes accustomed to her presence in his life. Together, they manage to defeat ghosts by finding their weak spots and banishing them from the places they haunt.

So Hyun always makes her sassy characters fun and relatable. It is a joy to watch her grow and develop her acting career from such a young age to the beautiful young lady she is now. While Taec at first seems a little stiff on the acting front, it ends up working well with his character. His character is a little awkward, as he plays a loner who seems almost more comfortable talking to ghosts rather than humans. To add comedic effect is the Ghost Net duo who are constantly on the search for supernatural events and more members for their club. I would be just as scared as them if I participated in such ghostly adventures. For the villainy side, we have Hye Sung. On the outside, he seems to be the popular and kind veterinarian and professor. However, we are shown his creepy blank stare and special scar on his back for a more mysterious past. I wonder how he ties into the story. So far, I have good vibes about this drama and appreciate its brisk and fun pace.

 

Vampire Detective: A New Strain

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OH OH OCN, you have lured me into watching the 7th airing drama on my list. Vampires done the right way for once! In the lieu of Vampire Prosecutor (which I will watch one day), we have vampire detectives now! Lee Joon is Yoon-San, who originally attended police academy before messing up a special undercover operations with two other new officers. One of these officers was his girlfriend, who always wore a sun pendant. However, after the three of them barely escaped from a dangerous situation, his girlfriend starts acting weirdly. She ends up shooting Yoon-San in the chest, and then blows up with the car and the third officer. I guess in one way, you can see it as her trying to save him before the car blows up. Yoon-San is mystified and heartbroken at the the turn of events. After recovering from his wound, he decides to do private investigating instead of pursuing a path in police work. He and Goo-hyung make a living investigating everything from murders to affairs. One day, Gyeo-wool visits them and demands that they help her find out why her brother is acting suspicious. They end up running into more suspicious people who have a storage of blood samples and the boss is a woman wearing a sun pendant. This piques their interest and they decide to take the case. It turns out that her brother is actually a vampire who is researching different blood strains in order to save his girlfriend. However, things come to a head as the brother and girlfriend sacrifices their lives to protect the little sister. Before the brother passes, he injects his new blood strain into Yoon-San who had leapt into the path of a bullet to save Gyeo-wool. The blood saves Yoon-San’s life as his chest wound heals. The three are left in amazement at the aftermath of such events.

Vampires can either be done very well or end up in nonsense.  Luckily, as a spinoff of Vampire Prosecutor, we know we have good writing and cinematography behind the wheel of this drama. Fortunately at the helm of this drama is Lee Joon, an idol turned actor that I very much admired due to his previous works. He has a wide range of acting, and I especially enjoy the brooding type. I am interested to seeing how his new powers manifest and how it will aid his job. Furthermore, I want to know what is up with the sun pedant woman and if it is old girlfriend. As for Goo-hyung and Gyeo-wool, the other two legs of this detective agency, they make nice support and I hope to see them develop more into their own characters. I am already loving Geyo-wool who is street smart and already a big help to their multiple escapes.

Psychometry: Hands That Save

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It’s not often that I am completely satisfied with a Korean movie, but this one hits the mark! With action and a dash of supernatural, Psychometry or Gifted Hands is the perfect flick for me. Yang Choo-Dong is your mediocre detective who doesn’t get much results in the force. However, he has a special affinity for missing children cases due to his past. One day, he by chance meets a graffiti artist who sprays him in the eye to escape. Later on, he finds that the mural that the artist painted depicted a crime scene that was found weeks later. Curious and suspicious how this artist, Kim Jun, would know what the crime scene of the missing girl looked like before police did, he begins searching for the young man. After he finds him, they get off to a rocky start as the detective thinks he is the perpetrator. However, Choo-Dong realizes that Kim Jun can perform pscyhometry which is a supernatural talent where a person can gain memories form touching an inanimate object. For Kim Jun, he can see memories of what happened in the past by using his hands. However, through a freak accident, his mom died after he touched her hand and he never forgave himself for the incident. Furthermore, each “viewing” puts strain on Kim Jun’s body to where he gets nosebleeds and even vomits up blood. However, after reconciling, Choo-Dong gets Kim Jun to help him find another little girl who went missing. Unfortunately, the police didn’t believe in this supernatural power and arrested Kim Jun as the kidnapper and murderer. Choo-Dong of course rescues Kim Jun from this predicament and together they try to find the real suspect.

Not a very complicated plot, but it gets you in the feels for its suspense and bromance feels. Kim Kang-Woo who also played in Missing Noir M, is perfect as the rambunctious detective who has a good heart. Kim Bun plays the broody Kim Jun who isolated himself from society because he thought his hands brought death. However, they develop a brotherly bond together through these investigations. I very much enjoyed these bromance moments and had wished the movie was longer or had a sequel. It would have been fun to see more crimes solved this way!

Signal: The Butterfly Effect

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Thank the lord for this year’s batch of new crime dramas! If you have ever seen the American movie, The Butterfly Effect, then this takes it to a new level. With crime and a twist of supernatural, Signal creates on the edge of your seat cliffhangers! Signal is based on the Hwaseong serial murder case that occurred in the 1980s. A serial rapist-murderer killed ten women and was never caught and the case is unsolved to this day. Signal starts out by pursuing a 15yr cold case that involved a kidnapping, ransom, and murder of a young child. A man was used as a scapegoat for the murder and the real perpetrator was never caught. Park Hae Young, a young profiler, happened to see the young girl get kidnapped 15 years ago, but the police had ignored his efforts to contribute to the investigation. Fast forward to current times, he accidentally gets his hands on a radio that starts transmitting from a Detective Lee Jae Han….but from 15 yrs ago (although Hae Young did not know it at that time). This leads Hae Young to discover the body of the man that was used as a scapegoat and reopen the cold case before the state of limitations expired. With the help of female Detective Soo Hyun, the police manage to capture the real perpetrator. As a result of this last minute capture, old cold cases are now being reopened and a special crime investigation unit was created to solve these cold cases. However, no one wants to be in this unit due to the fact that this means cases are going to be reinvestigated and police will be forced to admit to their mistakes. Their first case becomes the Hwaseong serial murder case. With no leads, the team is forced to backtrack and ask past detectives on the case for more information. However, at the special time of 11:23pm, Hae Young’s radio start broadcasting again. However, this time, its Jae Han, from 30 years ago as a brand new cop and investigating the Hwaseong murders that were still going on. Unknowningly, Hae Young tells Jae Han about the future murders. This ends up changing the timeline in the future. Hae Young becomes shocked that the information and pictures he has change before his very eyes due to the rippling effect of his words.

I cannot describe how exciting this drama is! I am so hungry to know what happens next. Even though the timeline paradox is a bit confusing as the radio transmits at different times of the past. Even more so, I am interested to see how big or how subtle of a change that mere words one says in the future can effect what happens in the past. I am impressed by Lee Je Hoon’s intense acting as well as the other main leads in the dramas as I have not seen them before. The cases are raw and emotional which make it all the more cathartic when they get solved. Crime dramas or special investigation units as I call them are always done very well! Over and out!