GO BACK COUPLE (K-drama 2017)

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Choi Ban Do(Son Ho-Jun) and Ma Jin Joo(Jang Nara) are both 38-years-old and a married couple. Choi Ban Do has been burdened with being the breadwinner and Ma Jin Joo is a housewife with low self-esteem. Even though they loved each other when they married, they now hate each other. They both regret marrying at such a young age. The couple travels through time and finds themselves as 20-year-old university students when they met for the first time.

This travel drama is not like an ordinary one where you had to travel back in the past and change your future. Unexpectedly, the approach was beautifully realistic. As we all know, the struggles and challenges of marriage are not as simple as we think, there is always a possibility of sad endings, and in this drama, they stress out the painful reality of it and chances to resolve the relationship in a very truthful manner.

The story hits me right in my heart. In the best way, it gives a  whirlwind of emotion. It has everything from romance, family, friendship, and comedy.  Every character plays a significant role that gives appeal to the viewers.  Most importantly, this drama shows a high quality of lessons to be learned; to know your value, communication and family lives.

Verdict: 10/10

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WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING (K-drama 2017)

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A supernatural romance about a woman who can see the future in her dreams, and a prosecutor who fights to stop these future events from happening. The heroine has dreams about unfortunate events that will happen to other people, and the hero is a prosecutor who runs around trying to prevent her tragic visions from coming true.

Plot – I like the originality of the story.  I believed that the Writer knew exactly what she wanted to do with this drama. The thread of the story-line, the inserts of flashbacks, the major twist, the justice system, the romance which was not overbearing and the everyday life conflicts have been linked and incorporated in well-paced timed.

Characters – I am not surprised how Lee Jong-Suk portrays his character as a rookie prosecutor. He’s always been typecast in this field, so acting wise, he’s still the same; good and effective, I have nothing to complain.

I was totally surprised by Bae Suzy. Honestly, I don’t buy her acting skills, but in this drama, she perfectly acted out of her character. Her story was complexly written because she has to deal with tragedy and fear, and in fairness, she absolutely has done a good job.

Jung Hae-In, my god, his character was loved by everyone and I love him too more than Lee and Suzy. He is charming and loyal second lead that you will never ever hate. He doesn’t have to act all the way because his smiles and innocent look compels his character with outstanding morals despite uncertainties.

Lee Sang-Yeob , the main villain who truly highlighted his character to the end.  Every action of his greediness and wickedness makes so much sense on how the story drives into perfection.

The cinematography was astounding. Music was quite good. The chemistry of the two main leads is refreshing. Character development was consistent.

Since this drama has the element of fantasy, there some plot holes that have never explained which serves as the ground of understanding where was the fantasy begins and how it will end.

Nevertheless, this drama is one of the best. It gives us the message about the choices we made in our lives and how it affects to people around us. It signifies also the lesson that help begets help. The best and easiest way to help is to be of help.

Verdict: 9/10

REPLY 1988 (K-drama) 2015

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Five childhood friends, who all live in the same Ssangmundong neighborhood of Seoul, lean on each other to survive their challenging teen years and set a path for their futures.

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Sung Deok Sun (Hyeri) struggles for attention as the middle child in her poor family while also carrying the burden of her 989th ranking in school. She is everyone’s trusted gal who shares her bright personality to all and shows her caring nature.

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Jung-Hwan (Ryoo Joon-Yeol) is the second son of the Kim family. His brother Jung Bong was born with a weak heart, so he decided to help him fulfill his dream, whatever that might be. As a typical teen, he grumbles and complains a lot, and it will take time to convinced him to say yes. He can’t seem to empathize and is always blunt with his words, but he has a good heart and always loyal to his family and friends.

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Sun-Woo(Ko Gyung-Pyo)is a model student at the school, good son and good brother at home. Sun-Woo’s mother has raised him and his younger sister alone after his father passed away.  Became a man of his house, he’s quite dependable, mature and responsible among his friends. He always tries to do right by everyone. He is considered as the ideal son of the neighborhood.

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Ryu Dong Ryong(Lee Dong-Hwi)is a geek who knows more about girls and life than the rest of his friends, but his poor academic score prevents him from being able to go to college. Though he is not an achiever academically, he is the wisest of all.  He’s the neighborhood counselor and the joker of the group.

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Choi Taek (Park Bo-Gum) is a famous BADUK player known as Master Choi, god to the world. But for his friends, he is simply as an idiot in Ssangmundong. Since he dropped out of school, Duk-Sun, Jung-Hwan, Sun-Woo and Dong-Ryong are his only friends.  They protected him as their National Treasure. They always shield him as the youngest one, the baby, and no one could touch and hurt him.

“That might be why youth is beautiful. Because it shines, blindingly bright at a brilliant short moment. But you can never go back to it.”

Certainly, we couldn’t return to our youth because everything just passes by and ages. And this drama makes you remember everything. It has this certain charm where you can always feel that you are part of their family household, that their parents are yours. You grew up with them lurking with memories of good and bad times. In that neighborhood, you waited for your secret crush to pass by,  dreaming of your first love, the walls that witness your first hug, first kiss, and even your first heartbreak.

In this drama, I have cried, laughed and fell in love instantly. I missed my family, my childhood friends, my all old memories.  Though I can still go back to my street where I grew up old, I cannot find the same faces, the familiar laughter, the nooks and corner where we used to play and the arguments we have solved. What has just left in that old street is the warm feeling of nostalgia, the sense of belongingness and the image of my precious child and youth memories.

Reply 1988 is a perfect drama for me. It tackles not only about the journey of their friendship but it showed problems of their families facing every day, the ups and downs of their lives. They truly emphasized the relationship between the parents and children and every emotion was raw and genuine.

Characters are perfect in this drama, truly are the heart of the entire show. Each of them is written well with so much thought.  They all have distinct personalities that are real and allows you to relate.

The Plot is uniquely presented in one setting and yet the development is spontaneous.  It does not become boring or trite, it’s not draggy at all. It was just so enjoyable to watch slowly while savoring each of their laughter and tears.

If you’d love to watch a drama about family and friendship, this surely is for you.  I recommend it with a full blast of assurance that you will totally get a whipped of laughter, tears and bittersweet aftertaste.

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“The reason I miss that time and that street is not only because I miss my younger self. It is because my parents’ youth, my friends’ youth – the youth of everything I loved was in that place. I regret not bidding a final farewell to the surrounding of my youth that can never be brought back together again. To the things that have already gone, to the time I can’t return to… I bid my belated farewell. Goodbye, my youth. Goodbye, Ssangmun-dong” – Deok Sun

Verdict: 10/10

HOSPITAL SHIP (K-drama) 2017

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A story about young doctors that provide medical care to the locals who live in rural villages via hospital ship that sails around the little islands.

Main Cast: Ha Ji-won as Song Eun-Jae / Kang Min-hyuk as Kwak Hyun Lee Seo-won as Kim Jae-geol / Kim In-sik as Cha Joon-young.

I really like the premise of this drama; the adrenaline and the setup, as well as the introduction of the characters, were quite interesting. I cannot ignore the excitement for the whole team in the ship and was looking forward to their very own adventure.

However, forty episodes (30 mins. per episode) were too long for this drama, my excitement dies after facing some major flaws; unmoving short love triangle, the unnecessary comeback of retard ex-lover, and some hospital politics.  I would love to like the story if they just concentrate more about life on the ship which will accomplish the story itself to be unique and appealing.

Good points are; beautiful settings of the sea and island, their service for elderly patients, family matters resolved, the friendship, teamwork and pretty faces.

The hospital ship is now to disembark. Thank you.

Verdict: 8/10

The Taxi Driver (K-movie) -2017

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In May 1980, German reporter Peter (Thomas Kretschmann) works on an assignment in Tokyo, but the news is slow there. He hears from a colleague that something ominous is occurring in Gwangju, South Korea. The phone lines have been completely cut off to the city. Peter decides to go there.

In Seoul, South Korea, Kim Man-Seob (Song Kang-Ho) struggles to make ends meet as a taxi driver, while also taking care of his daughter. He needs money to pay his rent. At a restaurant, Kim Man-Seob overhears that a foreigner is offering to pay a lot of money to be driven to Gwangju. The drive would cover Kim Man-Seob’s rent. He dashes out of the restaurant to pick up the foreigner.

Soon, Peter and Kim Man-Seob head for Gwangju from Seoul. They don’t know what is going on there or the countless lives that will soon be lost.

This film shows the underline brutality inflicted on the people of Gwangju where the highly trained military troops firing the bullets to their own people instead of protecting them. It impressed me the moment when Kim Man-Seob struggled to follow his conscience or not, further, the breathless escape which packed with a bang shouldn’t be missed.

Without a second thought, Taxi Driver is one of the best South Korean films I have seen to date. From the narration, presentation, and execution, everything is almost perfect. Thanks to Kim Man-Seob (Song Kang-Ho) who connects our emotions through his versatility as the film progresses. And of course, bravo to the rest of the supporting cast, who spices the story into a more memorable experience.

Verdict: 10/10

BECAUSE I LOVE YOU (K-movie 2017)

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On the way to meet his girlfriend, Lee Hyung(Cha Tae-Hyun) gets into a car accident. He wakes up to find himself in a different body and with no memory of his life.  He then met Scully(Kim You-Jung), a high school student, who helped him when his spirit has been switching into the body of random strangers: a high-school pregnant girl, a middle-aged busy detective, a grandmother who has dementia, a lonely teacher, and a music producer. Well, I found the story with the elderly people the most moving and heartfelt. (spoiler)

In short, our protagonist plays Cupid in this fantasy drama.  Each of his encounters gives him the experiences to love at all ages. He supports comfort and redemption to love for each character which made this movie interesting, heartwarming and sweet.

The plot is quite unusual in a good sense and even though it was a slow-paced movie, I still appreciate it even with their limited time because it was played relatably for pleasure. The actors were great though I have seen some new faces, acting was not too bad and the music was so cool.

I will recommend this movie because they presented it in a very beautiful manner. Enjoy!

Verdict: 8/10

The Battleship (K-movie) 2017

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During the Japanese colonial era, roughly 400 Korean people, who were forced onto Battleship Island to mine for coal, attempt to escape.

I’ll be straight,  the film was breathtaking. It was very engaging and I was speechless until it ends.  Honestly, I don’t know anything about Hashima Island and the coal mines that were operated by the Japanese during the 1940s, but I wasn’t surprised of the brutality shown during this occupational era.  Throughout the show, you can see the distressing situation of many Koreans ended up in a forced labor camp where men do hard toil in the mines while the women end up as comfort women for the Japanese.

I define this movie in the sense of power against the weak and poor, the betrayal and patriotism.  The hopelessness of people and the struggle for survival. This film gives us the image of what a devastating and triumphant escape looks like by those Korean workers who just wanted to be released and set home.

Admirable performances were delivered by Hwang Jung-Min, So Ji-Sub and Song Joong-Ki. They have played their roles perfectly. The most memorable part of the story is the father-daughter relationship between a bandleader (Hwang Jung Min) and his daughter (Kim Soo An). 

Battleship Island has some plot points that impossible to believe, but this film still an exceptional. The cinematography is stunning coupled with a solid and talented cast. You shouldn’t miss it.

Verdict 10/10

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Mood of the Day (K-movie 2016)

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By chance, a man and a woman meet on the KTX train and spend 24 hours in the unfamiliar city of Busan, South Korea.

One night stand is a typical story used in many dramas or movies, but in reality it will never serve a good baseline for any romantic relationship. That’s kind of the whole point. But in Mood of the Day, it drives you right into the actual scenes of the story, no confusion and no major complications.

The characters of our main cast and their relationships are developed at a great pace. I would say they’re very well much in their role. Though there are minor elements resulted in some cliché, I decided not to mind them because there’s a heartwarming scenes for all those who yearn for a bit of romance and love.

Aside from that, sceneries in this movie are no joke, it was all breathtaking. They captured the beauty of autumn perfectly in Busan. And take note, Yoo Yeon Seok is one of the best and hottest kissers among Korean actors. You will definitely enjoy seeing him kissing to Moon Chae-Won.

I recommend this movie for those who have no issue in life and just want to have a good mood for the day.

Verdict: 8/10

 

 

 

MANHOLE (K-drama 2017)

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Tells the story of Bong Pil, an unemployed man who mooches off his parents while pretending to study for the civil service exam. Bong Pil time travels into the past through a manhole in an effort to stop the wedding of his lifelong crush, Soo Jin set to happen one week into the future.

I thought the concept of this drama will be exceptional, but sad to say, it wasn’t.  I became so frustrated with its direction, the repetitive and unnecessary scenarios. The plot has so many holes, It never captured the essence of the time travel ideas. I cannot appreciate the bottomless of his adventure, it seems shallow and dry.

The protagonist character is trying to be comical, but they miss to develop his charm. I feel the rest of the characters are obnoxious and hypocritical especially his closest friends, they are kinda exasperating.

You know, I can hardly believe that I finished this show. Honestly, I just want to know how the finale ends. Well, I got the last scene smiling and I think I’m okay with it.  Of course, I will not rewatch this drama and if you want a story with excitement and sensibility, I will not recommend this one.

Verdict: 7/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

STRANGER (Secret Forest) K-drama 2017

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A brain surgery during childhood caused prosecutor Hwang Shi Mok to lack emotion, even though he is rational. Cold and lonely, he’s one of the only prosecutors not involved in corruption. He then meets Police Lieutenant Han Yeo Jin at an odd murder crime scene, and they work together to uncover a tangled web of corruption that spirals far beyond the case.

This drama keeps your attention in full in every episode until the last minute. I would say to upcoming crime and legal dramas, they should aim to be like this; mind bugling, no unnecessary fights, a smooth pace of progression, complex strategy without replications, complicated characters with passion and motives crashes, every dialogue, scenes are well executed and there are no rushed settings to the finale.

Hands down to one of the best classy legal dramas I’ve ever seen. The script was amazingly written that I couldn’t even find a single plot hole. Instead, it has twists and turns that were completely unexpected. Watch out, it will hit you curve ball out of nowhere. The cast delivers top-notch acting talent with clear role functions and even the minor characters are indispensable to the every episode.

I’m glad that I marathoned this drama and jiggled my brain.

It was confirmed that this “series was a hit with both domestic and international viewers, and gained favorable reviews for its tight plot, gripping sequences, and strong performances.”

Verdict: 10/10

 

 

 

CRIMINAL MINDS (K-drama 2017)

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The drama follows a group of highly trained profilers in the fictional National Criminal Investigation (NCI) team who track down criminals to solve cases. The drama is based on the American television series Criminal Minds.

While some of the viewers couldn’t stop comparing this drama from the original series, I have had no expectations at all. Honestly, this show has never been able to give the suspense and action that I have been looking for.  Yes, the team are quite competitive, the cases were interesting and the discussions about the minds and characters of all the involved criminals were appealing, but then I felt something was missing.

I think this drama lacks of emotions, their dialogues, the tone, it was all cold. The execution was totally sluggish and the character development was too flat maybe the reasons why I couldn’t get the hype of the story at all.

And I hate the Reaper episodes. He was a multi-talented murderer who uses both knives and guns, a wise hacker, a photographer who perfectly plans his crime. They emphasized an extraordinary criminal who is not easy to catch, but still, I just don’t buy it.

Only Lee Joon Gi made me stay. Even so, I have no regret that I finished the 20 episodes, I just didn’t enjoy it.

Verdict: 7/10

 

 

 

 

LIVE UP TO YOUR NAME (K-drama 2017)

This drama is a WOW.

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Heo Im is an oriental doctor, acknowledged as the best in acupuncture and moxibustion in Joseon. His success is blocked due to his low status. One day, Heo Im travels through time and finds himself in present-day Seoul. He meets Choi Yeon-Kyung. She is doctor firmly believing in only modern medicine.

This is definitely one of my favorite Korean drama this year. It gives me a real emotional connection with the characters. The script is so well written with different timeline mixes modern and Joseon eras. Every episode is loaded with goofiness, laughter, melancholy and of course, it is morally uplifting which pact some heavy issues while dealing with the delicate touch.

I love the strong and natural chemistry of our leads. I was blown away with their cuteness and sincerity. Kim Nam Gil’s acting is superb, I can’t imagine anyone else in this role, but him.  Kim Ah Joong’s character took me a while to warm up, but as the story goes you will clearly mesmerize by her skill.

The finale gives absolute mix emotions. They asserted the lesson that staying true to your heart will lead you to the path of good choices.

And of course, the kiss! I haven’t seen a beautiful kissing scene in Kdrama for a long time, this is pretty realistic and their romance is a pure gold.

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Overall daebak!

Verdict: 10/10

 

 

SAVE ME (K-drama 2017)

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A girl is surrounded by suspicious people and quietly whispers, “Save me!” in a dark neighborhood alleyway, and a couple of unemployed youths hear her and run to her rescue. They discover that she’s trapped in some kind of pseudo-religious cult and try to help her, but what ensues is a sequence of horrifying tension-filled events that make us wonder more about the science of the human psyche.

Save Me isn’t my average drama. I haven’t seen any plot like this before in kdrama world that ventures sensitive topics and issues of religious cults. Each episode was gripping and I was very impressed with the thrilling and cliffhanger moments all the way to the final act.

The plot was well done with uniqueness and capricious. Everything was all written with interest and suspense. All cast were amazing from the main leads down to villains. Each character had a story to depict which added to the mysteriousness of the whole episode.

You’ll get angry, thrilled, scared and laugh with this drama, absolutely, you will never get jaded. Let’s go to the boat of salvation, our wishes will be fulfilled.

Verdict: 9/10

 

 

 

 

 

STRONGEST DELIVERY MAN (K-drama 2017)

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Choi Kang Soo is a deliveryman. In spite of his humble beginnings, Choi Kang Soo is fearless and gives it all in everything he does. Lee Dan Ah is another delivery worker. She hates her current socioeconomic status so much that she, like many young people, calls her country “Hell Joseon.” Together, Choi Kang Soo and Lee Dan Ah have a budding competition and romance in their quest for glory. They compete to conquer life but, as our two delivery workers soon learn, being the strongest does not guarantee success.

Strongest Delivery is not a solid drama, however, you will enjoy the relaxing mode of the show. The plot shows the hitches of what is in the outside world and how does our young adult react themselves to beat the uncertainty, competition, and problems realistically.

You will definitely know the life and struggles of our deliverymen, that this job for them is not a laidback at all. It might change your mindset and appreciate what you have right now. It indicates also that no matter how strong you are, there is no guarantee to have an instant success, you might still stumble and face your endpoint, nevertheless, second chances are evident. You can still go on.

Characters development in this drama was profound. The love chemistry from our main leads are not the superb, but for the second leads are quite enjoyable to watch. A lot of motorcycles in this drama, and of course let’s be nice to our deliverymen because at some point they make our purchasing life easier, and just like us, they are working so hard to have a decent life.

Verdict: 8/10

 

 

 

 

 

THE KING IN LOVE (K-drama 2017)

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Drama series is set during the Kingdom of Goryeo.

Won, the crown prince of Goryeo, has a pretty appearance, but he also a lust for conquest. He is best friends with Rin who is a son of a royal family and his bodyguard. When beautiful San, the daughter of the richest man, appears in front of the two young men, the three become good friends, but things change after Won and Rin both fall in love with San.

When I remember this drama, I will think of as bittersweet.  A kind of drama suffered from political conflicts, a love triangle, and friendship that has been defied all the odds.

The plot is nothing extraordinary to compare, but the execution was great. The actor’s portrayals are convincible at any rate. The cinematography and the ost are also beautiful. Though they have all these positive points, I didn’t feel any emotional connections and I was wondering how I finished this drama without whining.

Nonetheless, if you want a  period drama with the right amount of conflict, not so scary villains, plain romance, anticipated plot, beautiful scenery, and faces, then the story of king’s in love will suit your taste.

Verdict: 8/10

 

 

 

REUNITED WORLDS (K-drama 2017)

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Twelve years, after dying in a car accident, Sung Hae Sung (Yeo Jin Goo) suddenly appears alive and well not having aged a day. With the help of his friends and his childhood love Jong Won (Lee Yeon-Hee), Hae Sung sets out to make things right for his family and solve the mysteries surrounding his death and resurrection.

Reunited Worlds is far from a perfect drama. Though the plot was quite stimulating, along with the way it became sluggish with flaws and inconsistencies. I was about to drop it honestly, but then I want to know how it would end, hoping a spark might light up before the whole episode turned into a merely passing show.

What I like in this drama is the beautiful message about love, friendship, and family.  As our main lead resurrected to solve the mystery of his death, he has to help his siblings to be reunited too.  

The finale didn’t stand up as I expected, but it was good enough.  The writer must be very generous to give them all redemption.

Yeo Jin Goo acting is astonishing and flawless.

I like the friendship between the six friends, their relationship is warm and very supportive of each other.

 I don’t find any chemistry of our lovey-dovey.  Lee Yeon Hee’s acting is dry and flimsy.

Verdict: 7/10

 

 

 

 

 

FABRICATED CITY (K-movie 2017)

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In real life, Kwon Yoo (JI Chang-wook) is unemployed, but in the virtual game world he is the best leader. Kwon Yoo is then framed for a murder. With the help of hacker Yeo-Wool (SHIM Eun-kyung), he tries to uncover the truth behind the murder case.

This movie is a stylish action packed with engaging, spot-on characters, good pacing, amazing visuals and a balance of boggling thrills and likely predictable plot.

I can’t imagine our world will be as easy to fabricate the truth.

A must watch movie.

Verdict: 9/10

 

THE MERCILESS (K-Movie 2017)

Jae-ho (Sol Kyung-gu), who aims to become the number one in a crime organization, gets to build-Vup trust with Hyun-su (Im Si-wan), an ambitious newbie in the prison. While they try to take over the organization after the prison release, their ulterior motives start to emerge.

This movie is all about the violent underworld of gangsters, moles, and cops where the plot evolves in friendship and betrayal between a prisoner leader and a new inmate.

The two leads team up to take over a gang when they will be out of the prison. As the story progress to the reality of their goal, unspoken tensions became burning and you will never sure who’s got the upper hand at the end.

With the great charisma of the two leads, I wasn’t able to feel the stomach-churning scenarios, maybe I was used to it when it comes to Korea action movie. The cinematography is stunning and the action sequences impressively were done.  The essence of the plot is collective, but the great deal is, it was well presented and executed.

 

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as Hyun-soo as Byung-gab as Chun In-sook as Byung-Verdict: 8/10

 

71: Into the Fire (K-Movie 2010)

This movie is a WOW.

The film is based on a true story of a group of 71 undertrained and under-armed, outgunned student-soldiers of South Korea during the Korean War, who were mostly killed on August 11, 1950, during the Battle of P’ohang-dong. For 11 hours, they defended the local P’ohang girls’ middle school, a strategic point for safeguarding the struggling Nakdong River perimeter, from an attack by overwhelming North Korean forces, specifically the feared 766th Unit.

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I like war movies. But into the fire is not just a combat epic, but it makes you feel nationalistic. Aside from the awesome stage battle sequences, marvelous shots, the tragic and comic and classical cinematography style, the story marks the essence of courage, pride, brotherly love, and self-sacrifice.

The film shows us how people struggle to fight, live and die in war.  The 71 students have the different background with each story to tell. As they have exposed from the horrors of war, they fought for a common reason. Indeed, they became a real soldier as they stand on the ground together while trusting on their own knowledge to form a defense system to protect their field.

The pace of storytelling is almost faultless. Character development is exceptional.  Great acting is highlighted. You can feel the sense of willpower and desperation throughout the film, the triumph over sadness, the life offered for a great cause.

A must watch movie that was amazingly heartbreaking and beautiful.

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Verdict: 10/10

 

 

 

 

FINDING MR. DESTINY (Kmovies 2015)

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A woman named Seo Ji-Woo (Lim Soo-Jung) traveled to India and met her first true love Kim Jong-Ok. Since that time Ji-Woo can’t forget her first love. She then turns to the company of “Finding Your First True Love Company” to help track down Kim Jong-Ok.

Han Gi-Joon (Gong Yoo) started “Finding Your First True Love Company” and he takes on Seo Ji-Woo as the company’s first client. The pair travel all over Korea to find Seo Ji-Woo’s first love and & in the process Han Gi-Joon finds himself falling in love with his first client.

A movie that is about tracking down a long-lost love and found a new love unexpectedly. The plot is nothing extraordinary, but it was Gong Yoo that made it considerable to watch. A little bit of confusion about the first love character since they have both used same face with the main lead.

The plus point in this movie is; the chemistry’s blended well. The cinematography was excellent. Flashbacks location was taken from India, so some scenes are filled with warm hues and bright colors that are fresh for our eyes.

An overall great movie to unwind after long days of work.

Verdict: 7/10