Sirius – Shine Bright

Sirius1

Sirius

So intense. Usually for a 4-episode special, I would have just gone ahead and finished it before writing about it. However, just with the first episode and a half, I had to pause to take it all in. This short suspense thriller has hit the trifecta for me, strong acting, great soundtrack, and tight plot. In this drama, Do Eunchang and Do Shin Woo are a pair of twins who are as different as night and day. Eunchang is the lively and charming boy who does not take hits lying down. Meanwhile Shin Woo is the quiet, bookworm twin who gets bullied every single day. They share the same face to the disappointment of both, but you can clearly tell that they care deeply for each other still. Eunchang is constantly defending his brother and even beating up his bullies for him. However, Shin Woo hates himself for being so defenseless. Unfortunately one day, things go too far and Shin Woo’s bully falls off the school roof in an accident while fighting with Eunchang. Eunchang had went to his brother’s school in place of Shin Woo to teach that bully another lesson. This lands Eunchang in jail for 8 years while their mother blames everything on Shin Woo. She even requests that Shin Woo go to jail in place of the other twin as she clearly has Eunchang as her favorite son.

With his brother in jail and him in a glass prison at home, Shin Woo forces himself to study hard for the bar to make something of himself. Shin Woo becomes Chief of a police force while his twin becomes a delivery boy when he comes out of jail. Their mother had died of a drug addiction from missing the other son so much. Because of this, he is very focused on going after drug busts. Furthermore, years of suffering under the insults of a crime that his brother committed and having to endure watching his mother fall apart made Shin Woo bitter towards his twin brother. He wishes that Eunchang didn’t exist as he thinks that is all everyone ever see compounded with them having the same face. Eunchang is still the cheerful person he was before jail and understands that his brother does not want anything to do with him. Unfortunately both of them become involved with a drug ring and chaos ensues. Chief Shin Woo is trying to chase down the mob boss, but gets into a horrible car accident. Eunchang is forced to take Shin Woo’s place as Chief of the police by the mob boss in exchange for his younger brother’s life. To worsen the situation, Shin Woo does not know that Eunchange is trying to save him rather than being one of the boss’s cronies. Poor Eunchang feels so helpless in this situation. It is a complete turn around from when they were younger.

The actor who plays the younger version of the twins and the one that plays the older set are SO AMAZING. Park Hyung Shik, a relatively new idol turned actor is busting his melodrama chops to deliver such a great performance. Might I also say that ZE:A, the kpop band he was in has churned out three amazing actors so far, Park Hyung Shik, Yim Si Wang (Misaeng), and Kim Dong-Jun (Girl K). Anyways, Park Hyung Shik playing the younger set of twins is very moving in his angst and torture of being the one ignored and unwanted in the family. He strives for recognition from his family, but is always overshadowed by his older brother. Now the older set is played by Suh Joon Young is also quite wonderful and pairs really well with the younger version. His acting of both twins is so great that at one point, I really thought they were two different actors!! Not even half-way through the drama, my heart already hurts for these two brothers. I really hope I get to see them reconcile or at least be on the way to patch up their past misunderstandings and hurts. It is so clear that they care deeply for each other and have a connection no one can break.

EDIT: I finished this drama and now I feel empty. I wish it was longer! It was such a joy to watch both younger and older set of twins played by these versatile actors! I also can’t believe how underrated this special was! It is truly a gem to be discovered!

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A Company Man: Making a Killing

Company-Man-Poster

Another action flick! This is definitely a company you do not want to work for. From the outside, the company looks boring and ordinary. You have secretaries, managers, assistants, busy telephones, fax machines, all the gears of a Misaeng workplace. However, each staff member doubles as a assassin. They all know a variety of martial skills and perform contract killings to generate revenue. Like a regular company, you have promotions and you of course have demotions. With demotions or “resigning”, often you are completely obliterated from the face of the earth. The point of the company was to keep you in service until your retirement days. For our main character, Hyeong Do, he is rising and star employee looked upon very favorably by the company’s CEO. He asks no questions and follows all his orders to a T, no matter his own personal opinions or emotions. The company was his world and home. However, one day he decides to save a “temporary” worker from being disposed of because he had developed a close bond with the young teenager during work.

With this one action started a snowball effect of finding happiness outside the world of murder. He meets the teen’s mother, Mi Yeon, who was a faded pop-star and a single mom. They develop deep feelings for each other and hoped to start a new life together. As his happiness for the other world grew, he began to become more merciful and this lead to the company finding out about him not following his orders. Even though he was promoted to a high position for his extraordinary work ethic, he decides to resign in order to pursue love. Of course when Hyeong Do runs away, this is not taken lightly by the company. Meanwhile, an old retired employee tries to get back into the company and betrays Hyeong Do and his new found love/family. In a bloody fight, Mi Yeon unfortunately becomes a casualty. Heyong Do decides to get revenge by taking down the company. However as he arrived to the company, each staff member is armed to the teeth and ready to annihilate him. However, of course he manages to defeat them all and kill all the members, down to the CEO and slimy VP. He escaped with only a few bullet wounds and also took the brunt of the blame from the teen who had come along to help me. The movie ends with him walking out into the huge crowd gathered outside the company from when they had heard gunfire.

Thoughts of Mine

Lets start with the plot and get that out of the way. Concerning that, you know you are not getting anything new other than powerful killer falls in love with innocent women and gets revenge because she died. Although that trope is very much overused, I enjoyed other aspects of the film. It was interesting how they juxtapositioned normal ordinary office worker life with the killing missions. These workers only went outside of their company if they were to go on a mission. They worked in teams like in a office, with a Manager, Assistant Manager, Director, etc. Instead of some files, we have weapons hidden in between them. Instead of supplies in their drawers, we have more weapons stuffed inside. They went on retreats just like normal companies. What the movie did well was show that these employees have been so jaded and brainwashed that murder has become part of their normal life. It is just their job and nothing personal.

Although the fighting choreography is on point and very intricately done, at times it is overly done. For example, it is not realistic, not even a smidgen, that Hyeong Do can walk out of that bloodfest at the end without any fatal wounds even if he had a bulletproof vest on. I had hoped for more character development for the main character played by So Ji Sub. I had also hoped for more bonds between him and the teen in the “fatherly” role instead of boss to employee.

I must say thought that So Ji Sub is wonderfully casted for this role. He definitely portrayed that cold, emotionless attitude of a professional assassin perfectly. It was those tiny and brief moments of emotions that appeared on his face which are memorable. A single tear when he knew happiness was out of his reach. That quick quirk of the mouth when he found something amusing and touching. That endearing awkwardness for social situations and puppy love. He definitely worked his character to the max which really carried the movie. Other than that, I would say this movie is just something quick to fill the time, and not something to write home about.

Misaeng

How odd. That is how I describe this addiction to Misaeng. I finally caved after hearing such raving reviews about how good it is. I even watched 6 episodes before pulling myself away long enough to write this review. What is weird, is that even though the drama hits none of my favorite drama tropes, it grabs me in another way. What had put me off from watching it earlier was the theme of the drama, office-life, which of course did not spark any interest and to be honest, sounded really boring. I was much more used to the regular drama fare, the dramatic story lines, the angsty chaebols, the birth secrets, the whirlwind romances or longing first loves. However, Misaeng is one of the most realistic and truest pieces I’ve ever watched. It portrays regular, ordinary life, but delivers such powerful messages at the same time. It really shows character growth and the power of human relationships.

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Killer Girl K

Original Title: 소녀K / Sonyeo K

Episodes: 3

Year: 2013

Country: South Korea

Channel: CGV

Theme: Action, Suspense, Thriller, Mystery

               Plot: Killer Girl K, a short drama of only 3 episodes packs a punch, figuratively and literally! Being a cable drama, Girl K is able to fill its short broadcasting span with much intense, uncensored violence and lust that is usually taboo amongst the longer dramas. The story tells of a young girl Cha Yeon Jin played by a newbie actor (Han Groo) who masks her hidden identity by pretending to be a normal student. With a family shrouded in mystery, Yeon Jin grew up as a rebellious teenager who gave back as much as she got, if not more. However, an unfortunate run-in with a group of dangerous people and her friends changed her life forever. With her mother kidnapped and all of her friends dead, Yeon Jin inevitably set out to rescue the one family she has and avenge the deaths. Coming up against trained assassins and hitmen, her fighting skills were not up to par and she narrowly escaped death, but unfortunately she lost her mother.

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