쾌도 홍길동 (2008) KBS 24 Episodes
Historical Melodrama, Fantasy, Grade: C
Korean Drama Review by Jill,
I have to confess: I just
didn't care for Hong Gil Dong (2008) at all. (I somewhat
affectionately call it Hong Gil Ding Dong
instead). I'm not going to spend much time on this
review. It's not one of the better fusion historical
K-dramas out there, and the only reason I continued
watching it was frankly ... for actor Jang Geun Suk,
whom I love as an actor and singer. He wasn't even the
first male lead in this, he was the second male lead,
which greatly disappointed me. He had far fewer scenes
than the two leading actors, who have never been top
favorites of mine, actress Yu Ri Sung from The
Snow Queen and Ji Hwan Kang from Lie
So already I was biased against this drama before I even
began it, and then on top of that Jang Geun Suk rarely
smiled even when he did have scenes because his
character was depressing, a Prince without a throne
doing underhanded things in order to get it back,
turning a blind eye to criminals helping him, and then
he didn't get the girl either (which might have been
best for him in the long run because she was a clown!).
I am slightly amused by people who rave about this one,
especially because by the end of it EVERYBODY DIES!
They stand there like idiots and let fire bombs rain
down on them instead of running away. I can't abide such
stupidity. It's not "artistic", it's sick!
only good thing in this drama is the music score,
including the title song
One good thing about the drama: the music was beautiful.
Bad things, besides the facts already mentioned: the
script by the Hong Sisters (Master's
Sun) is definitely low on the totem
pole compared to other shows I've watched that they've
penned. The first episodes are all over the map
artistically with ludicrous situations going on, like
the "heroine" doing some bizarre martial arts dance to
rap music, and then proceeding to attempt an
assassination on the current King! Then assassins break in and start shooting
government officials with arrows who are there for
the show. She escapes! In reality a woman like that
would have been immediately killed.
The mood is frazzled in the beginning
in a vain attempt to be funny but I sat there, watching
stone-faced. Yu Ri's
character sells cow dung balls to the people as
medicine, then she has to physically beat up men who
want to marry her, Ji Hwan's character wants to learn
Chinese from her and thinks she's an expert when she
only knows a few words, which makes her a liar when she
expects him to hand over money for "lessons". So our
leading lady character is an attempted assassin, a liar,
a thief, and yet everyone falls in love with her?
His talents badly used in this,
Jang Geun Suk is really the only reason to even
ATTEMPT to watch this!
Why are they yanking my chain with this
tomfoolery? I thought. Then, for whatever reason --
maybe the front office told the Hong Sisters it was a
sinking ship as a comedy -- as you reach episode 10 all
the humor goes out the window and we are treated to a
tragic melodrama all the way, a Robin Hood type of story
with a tragic ending that was so ludicrous I was
screaming at my TV.
This shot near the very end of
the drama sums the whole thing up: a DISASTER!
So go into this one knowing your chain
is going to be yanked. Big time. And you're not going to
get your happy ending.
I have little patience with
renegade stories and characters who try to accomplish
supposedly lofty goals by illegal means: I don't care if the
person is a Prince who wants his throne back, or a Robin
Hood who justifies his thievery and deceptions because it
will help "the poor" or "the people"; what makes "the
people" so special anyway? Most of them in those days (and
maybe in these days too!) would cut your throat for a bag of
gold. Do things properly, through legal means, and get your
justice with good morals intact.
It was funny, but this Ding Dong story shows up in episode
22 of The
King's Face, where the writer of this story is
tortured by King Seonjo; he considered it treasonous. I just
laughed. "I hear ya, Kingy. I didn't like this story
If you are only watching this for Jang Geun Suk, like I did,
I would strongly suggest you re-consider and watch him in Beethoven
Virusinstead, which came out the same year. A
1000x better drama! He's superb in it. Skip Hong Gil Ding