The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Flash Review: My Beautiful Bride

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I learned that there’s a reason why all my Twitter pals have been referring to this show as My Beautiful Banker rather than My Beautiful Bride. That reason’s name is Kim Moo Yul, and what a beauty he turned out to be.

To be honest, this show wasn’t even on my radar when it aired, since crime/suspense isn’t my usual cup of tea. It’s just, I came across so much spazz over Kim Moo Yul in this, and so many raves about the show in general, that I just couldn’t look away.

Happily for me, Kim Moo Yul – and a very handy, specific lens through which to view this show – made it solidly worth my while.

THE LENS – & SHOW’S UNIQUE APPEAL

The responses that I’ve come across for this show span a really wide spectrum. Some people love it to bits, while others feel it’s bloated, unrealistic and frustrating.

During my watch, I was warned by a couple of blogger friends that Show starts strong but gets repetitive and loses its edge at around the halfway mark. And I actually did start to feel that drag, a little bit, to be honest. But, thanks to 2 separate Aha! moments, I was able to enjoy this one pretty well after all, all the way through to the end.

Light bulb moment #1

The first Aha! moment, was when I realized that this show is written by the same writer who wrote Heartless City. D’oh! (cue accompanying facepalm)

Suddenly, everything made a lot more sense to me. No wonder Show doesn’t feel like a typical crime thriller. It’s meant to be more of a noir melo, not unlike Heartless City (review here). This realization actually made this drama’s melo tendencies feel much more organic, and helped me keep in rhythm with it.

It really helped me, to think of this drama world as a world that co-exists with Heartless City. Coz once I felt like I understood this drama world and what it was supposed to be, my expectations around characters and their behavior all clicked into place as well. [SPOILER] I stopped expecting very much from anyone as a cop, for instance, and the casual, gleeful cruelty from many of the characters also made a lot more sense. [END SPOILER]

On top of helping me to keep in rhythm with Show, the Heartless City connection in my head also helped me to appreciate Show’s noir sort of vibe. The filters and the music, not to mention the subject matter, all brought back Heartless City vibes. Everything felt dark, moody and quite elegant, with Show consistently showcasing a sardonic sort of beauty emerging from the darkness.

With this first lens on, I found that I was no longer fighting Show’s tone, vibe & melodramatic touch, but was rolling easy with it, and even appreciating it.

Light bulb moment #2

In the last quarter of my watch, it occurred to me that Show’s got a very unique appeal. It’s all dark and oily and sardonic in the construction of its world, but Show is really all about One True Love (which is isn’t all that far from the Hallyu Classic theme of Fated First Love) and what one man will do to protect his One True Love.

If I could make a food analogy of My Beautiful Bride, I’d describe it as a truffle that’s made of very, very dark chocolate on the outside, with a sweet liqueur center. It’s a very dark, very bitter world that encases the sweet, strong, somewhat intoxicating love at the center of our story. And at the heart of this dark, gritty, melodramatic love story, lies the question of whether – and how – a steadfast love can survive in a cruel world. Which is quite an idealistic, romantic, Classic Hallyu-esque sort of notion, if you think about it.

Which means to say, if you like a bit of Classic Hallyu with your Gritty Noir, My Beautiful Bride’s got you perfectly covered.

STUFF I LIKED

1. Show’s general handling

Say what you like about Show’s choice of tone and character; this drama always knew what it wanted to be and where it wanted to go, and it shows. Everything feels assured and deliberate in its setup and execution, like every detail has been thought of and prepared for, ahead of time. I really liked that sense of confidence.

For instance, I felt that Show is pretty good at managing information. It consistently keeps us on our toes in the way that it reveals certain pieces of information to the audience and flips expectations. And the whole thing feels clever instead of manipulative, something that I appreciate a lot.

[SPOILER ALERT]

This happens three times in episode 3.

1, when we find out that Do Hyung (Kim Moo Yul) actually does know about Joo Young’s past (Go Sung Hee), and has simply been pretending not to know;

2, when we find out that Do Hyung really has seen Song Hak Soo (Lee Jae Yong) before, and has even met him and spoken with him;

3, when we find out that Do Hyung had actually been gone for 3 days from his home, when Joo Young first disappeared.

It muddies up good and proper, our impression of Do Hyung being the completely clueless, perfect boyfriend, and makes us wonder what he’s hiding, and what the real story is. The intended message is loud and clear: everything and everyone is not as simple as it seems.

[END SPOILER]

Often, the information reveal is done by rotating points of view. We get different flashbacks to the same points in time, and via the different points of view, we piece together the whole story of that particular incident; a pretty great application of the rotating point-of-view as a storytelling device, I thought.

Additionally, Show’s deliberately staggered introduction of characters makes this drama world feel like it’s actually much bigger than we think. Show managed to surprise me a couple of times this way, which kept me on my toes.

It’s true that this assured quality showed up more clearly in the early stretch than in later episodes, but overall, I still thought this was one of Show’s bigger strengths.

2. Kim Moo Yul as Kim Do Hyung

Oh. My. Word. Can I just say, Kim Moo Yul is absolutely, I-have-no-words, flat-out AH-MAY-ZING as Do Hyung.

I mean, not only does he deliver in the role with a very believable, natural nuance that morphs according to the needs of the scene, [SPOILER?] he’s also a total badass who kicks ass like a lean, mean, multi-skilled fighting machine. Just, woah.

Exactly where have you been all my drama-loving life, Kim Moo Yul-sshi, and can you please just live on my screen now??

Such badassery

I sorta love that I went into this show relatively blind, coz when Do Hyung starts busting out his amazing reflexes and razor-sharp fight moves as the need arises, he effectively made my jaw drop pretty much all the way to the floor.

[SPOILER ALERT]

More than the kickass fight skillz themselves, I loved that Do Hyung’s brand of badassery is the streetwise and highly adaptable kind. He doesn’t need a proper weapon; he simply makes it up as he goes. Like how he uses the car key as a (very lethal) weapon in episode 5, and effectively takes down several men by stabbing them with it. Woah. If you think about it, this means that Do Hyung’s always dangerous, because he will almost always have access to a weapon. I am admittedly pretty awed by that.

The other thing I love about Do Hyung’s badassery, is that in every circumstance, he always has a choice. In episode 9, we see him exercise that choice: despite being in cuffs and escorted by police officers, Do Hyung going with them is clearly a choice. Some time later, when he decides that it no longer serves his purpose to go with them, Do Hyung busts out of there, still cuffed, without batting an eyelid. Just, how cool is that?? Flail.

[END SPOILER]

I can only imagine how tough it must’ve been for Kim Moo Yul to film this drama, especially since Do Hyung is in practically every scene, and the crazy intense action doesn’t let up much at all, for a very long stretch. Actors already deal with bone-deep exhaustion in order to film normal dramas, so how much more exhausting and demanding must it have been, for Kim Moo Yul to act as Do Hyung?? I honestly feel like he deserves a prize, just for surviving.

Of course, it helps that Kim Moo Yul is in insane, eye-poppingly ripped shape, as evidenced by the screenshots above.

I am still in awe.

Such range

Beyond the impressive ability to deliver the action in blinding, spellbinding fashion, Kim Moo Yul also delivers every facet of Do Hyung’s emotional landscape with impressive ease. From being gentle and tender, to being fierce and badass, to being lost and in pain, Kim Moo Yul kills it, and kills it completely.

When we’re in a happy flashback, his smitten dorky face is wonderfully warm. When he’s in a terse interrogation with Yoon Mi (Lee Si Young), his intensity borders on fierce. Much of the time, he’s got a don’t-mess-with-me badass vibe going on, but it’s sprinkled with moments where we see hints of lost little boy. And perhaps most haunting of all, is when Do Hyung allows his deepest emotions to the surface. There’s anguish, and desperation, and some fear mixed in, and it’s raw, stirring, and gut-wrenchingly, knock-you-to-the-ground powerful.

The amount of control that Kim Moo Yul has, in delivering such a detailed performance, is simply outstanding. Just the way he talks as Do Hyung is quite arresting. It’s terse, controlled and low, but you can literally hear the edges of his voice quiver sometimes, in his effort to stay in control. So good, seriously.

[SPOILER ALERT]

There are many instances when Kim Moo Yul blew me away with his delivery of Do Hyung, but I’ll just pick one to talk about.

In episode 8, Do Hyung’s grief comes to the fore, with the realization that Joo Young had miscarried. Alone on the roof, he allows the dam of emotion to finally break, and the guttural cries that escape from his lips are borderline chilling and viscerally heartbreaking at the same time.

It’s so clear, that Do Hyung’s going through unspeakable amounts of pressure on every level. Physically, he’s injured and spent. Emotionally, he’s worried and pained and grieved, and also spent. That bone-deep, soul-deep exhaustion just emanates from Do Hyung, and it’s heart-grabbing, arresting stuff.

Later, we see Do Hyung lying in Joo Young’s bed in her family home. The way he curls up and cries, and attempts to wipe the tears away, is so dissonantly vulnerable and completely heartbreaking.

I could literally feel the pain gutting him to his core. Augh.

So often in the show, Do Hyung almost comes across as machine-like, he’s so efficient and intent on saving Joo Young and taking down anyone in his path. But these moments of vulnerability give us a whole new perspective to his laser focus on saving Joo Young. He’s got feelings – lots of ’em – but he’s tamping them down and forcing himself into fight mode, and he’ll do whatever it takes, and push himself as hard as he needs to, for the sake of saving Joo Young. That’s just so moving. He’s not obsessed with her per se, but he’s completely focused on saving her, and pushes his own limits ruthlessly, in order to do that, because he loves her.

I can’t say enough how amazing Kim Moo Yul is, in managing to deliver all of Do Hyung’s facets, while leaping off tall buildings and taking down the multiple baddies in his path. It’s brilliant and insane, all at once.

[END SPOILER]

STUFF I FELT NEUTRAL ABOUT

Go Sung Hee as Joo Young

Basically, I felt that Go Sung Hee did a more solid job of her role as Joo Young in Show’s early episodes, when Joo Young is mostly required to look wistful, sad and conflicted in the present, and shyly happy in flashbacks.

[SPOILER] I particularly liked her turn as a high school student in an early-episode flashback. I thought she passed for a high school student quite nicely, while portraying the teen angst and confusion pretty convincingly. I also appreciated her portrayal of Joo Young’s deep shame at her past. [END SPOILER]

As we get deeper into the episodes, and as Joo Young gets to play a more active role in the narrative, however, I felt that Go Sung Hee’s limitations as an actress showed up more clearly.

…Which basically evens it all out to an ok performance.

STUFF I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH

Lee Si Young as Yoon Mi

Just to be clear, I like Lee Si Young as an actress and found her well-cast in this show. My problem with her character Yoon Mi, is that Show chooses to totally underutilize Yoon Mi, all the way through to the end. Boo.

While I appreciate that Yoon Mi’s warmth, compassion and softness is supposed to be the balm that’s different and needed in Show’s cruel world, it bothered me that Yoon Mi basically never gets to demonstrate that she’s a competent cop.

[SPOILER] Before Show’s midpoint, Yoon Mi’s panting and heavy breathing, from consistently chasing after – and losing – the bad guys, started to wear thin, for me. I found it hard to buy that she’s leading a team, since her kickass abilities as a cop aren’t actually demonstrated. Mostly we see her giving orders, making phone calls.. and basically losing people. [END SPOILER]

Inept policing

…Which brings me to another downer for me: the inept policing that pervades this drama.

The detectives are shown to be more hindrance than help in almost every situation, and while I get that this is part and parcel of the kind of Heartless City-esque world that these characters live in, it did feel a bit much. At least some effective policing would’ve been nice.

Show cycles in place, sometimes

While I was suitably in awe of Do Hyung on his relentless, seemingly never-ending hunt for Joo Young, the almost-wins did get repetitive after a while. There are really only so many times you can watch an almost-win, before starting to feel like Show’s turning into Groundhog Day, a little bit.

I appreciate that Show takes a narrative turn by its second half so that Do Hyung’s no longer constantly running and leaping from buildings, but I also think that Show would’ve benefited from a smaller episode count, so that it wouldn’t have felt the need to cycle in place.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

Show’s ending is a bit of a mixed bag for me. A mixed bag with slightly more positives than negatives, but a mixed bag all the same.

On the upside, it’s a tense finale that keeps Do Hyung on his toes almost all the way through to the end, not to mention viewers as well. Also on the upside, a lot of stuff gets wrapped up and the key baddies get dealt with by the law. Which means that the ending is mostly a closed one, with just a touch of open-ended-ness about it.

On the downside, it does feel, well, rather anticlimactic, that the key inroads to getting stuff wrapped up, were basically a result of Mommy Dearest (Kim Bo Yun) intervening on behalf of her son. That somehow made all of Do Hyung’s efforts prior, along with Yoon Mi’s team, feel small and ineffectual in comparison. I mean, everyone sweats blood to within an inch of their lives, all series long, and it’s all solved when Mommy Dearest steps in? That’s.. not very gratifying nor exciting, to be honest.

On the other upside, though, Do Hyung doesn’t die. Phew. Seriously, for a hot second, I thought Show really let Do Hyung die on that operating table, which, guh. Thankfully, it was a fakeout, and I’m so relieved that Do Hyung gets his happy-ever-after, that I’m even willing to forgive Show for toying with me.

Ultimately, Show is true to its title and premise. It’s not really about the crime-riddled world of this drama, and who lives, dies or rules the day. What it’s really about, is Do Hyung loving his Joo Young, and protecting her, and allowing her to be who she wants to be, while loving her through it all.

That Do Hyung gets to do that, finally, in the last few frames – able to breathe easy, able to be with his Joo Young, able to smile (like really smile) again – is good enough for me.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

A solid watch, if you think of this as a melodrama wrapped up in suspense noir clothing. Worth it for Kim Moo Yul’s performance alone.

FINAL GRADE: B

TRAILER:

MV:

Dark, gritty, angsty; yet atmospheric and quite beautiful.

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

44 thoughts on “Flash Review: My Beautiful Bride

  1. Pingback: Year In Review: 2015 | The Fangirl Verdict

  2. hey there 😉
    just wondering if you would recommend Heartless City?? I love noir and crime stuff (really enjoyed Signal!!)

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    • Hey there, pippaliz! If you love noir & crime, then I’d say Heartless City would be right up your alley. It’s dark, bloody, gritty, violent, and yet, the characters have soul. Jung Kyung Ho is mesmerizing and unforgettable in it. In the middle stretch you might feel like some elements get somewhat repetitive, but it’s still a solid watch that I would recommend, particularly if you enjoy noir. 🙂 (I really ought to write it at least a quick review, sometime!)

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  3. You finally finished it! He is superb!

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  4. You finally finished it! He is superb!

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    • I did, and he so is! I took the slow scenic route to finishing this one, but mostly only because noir isn’t my usual cup of tea. It felt exhausting to watch Do Hyung, sometimes, even though he was the one pushing his body to the edge! 😛 I had to rest between episodes, I was empathizing too much! 😄 So worth it, for Kim Moo Yul. He’s SO. GOOD. ❤

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  5. “bit of Classic Hallyu with your Gritty Noir”
    Here lies one big reason why Show lost me after the initally wonderful start. That just ain’t a mix that works for me. Especially when the Classic Hallyu so clearly overshdows the Gritty Noir in many places. Going on circles in the 2nd half didn’t help any either as it just underlined the parts I did not like at all.

    Kim Moo Yul was the absolute best part of the show. He was amazing!

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    • Hehe! Yes, I know. It’s a very specific, odd sort of mix that would appeal to a very specific niche of viewers. I can’t say that I wanted that mix, but understanding that mix helped me to appreciate what Show was gunning for. I am not at all surprised that the Classic Hallyu elements didn’t work for you. But I am also not at all surprised that you agree Kim Moo Yul is the best thing about this show. He makes the show worth watching, regardless of lens or drama preference, I think! 🙂

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  6. Im stuck on episode 4 or was it 5 and have been for the longest time. I really really want to finish this show , I dunno something just isn’t sitting right with me.

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    • I didn’t take to this show easily either, actually.. I regularly went days between episodes, because I generally find dark drama worlds hard to get into. In the beginning, it was Show’s confident handling that intrigued me. And then later, it was Kim Moo Yul’s performance that carried me the rest of the way. The atmospheric experience became more of a bonus than a draw in and of itself. What isn’t sitting right with you, so far? Is it the darkness of the drama world? The characterization of main players? The storytelling? Or could it be a mood thing? 🙂

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      • I think its the OTL thread that feels misplaced. I feel as if I know whats going happen. I didn’t mind the fact that the leads were friends in HS but I sighed a few times and ff’d despite the awesome fight scenes.

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        • Lol. Ok, it sounds like you don’t like your gritty noir mixed with Classic Hallyu after all! 😄 Maybe you could just FF all the OTP scenes? They don’t share that many scenes anyway. 😉

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          • Lol I think you’re right.. the mixture is putting me off. I wanted to finish this one *sigh* I have 2 add it to the dreaded dropped list.

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            • Aww.. I feel ya. But you can always console yourself that if you ever change your mind, you can always give the show another whirl. I’ve had weirder turnarounds before – I HATED You’re Beautiful the first time I saw it, then LOVED it the second time I watched it, when I decided I ought to give it another chance. You never know, you might end up liking MBB – someday. 😄

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  7. I still need to get around to watching this one. Like you, I’m not a big fan of crime thrillers. I didn’t love Heartless City, but I did really like it a lot. I had some recent success with Signal which I absolutely loved! For me to connect with a crime drama, I need to sympathetic characters that I can really connect with and a very strong overarching story to carry me through the “mini-missions” that are typically found in these sorts of dramas. But since I did like Heartless City, I would think I have a good shot at liking My Beautiful Bride. Plus, I do like that classic hallyu and One True Love stuff, lol. Signal will be almost impossible to live up to though, so I may wait a bit before starting it 🙂

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    • If you liked Heartless City, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll like this one too, particularly since you’re open to having a bit of Classic Hallyu with your noir. 😉 I wouldn’t categorize this as a crime drama.. it’s more of a suspense melo with noir packaging, if that makes sense? Coz when I think of a crime show, I actually expect the police to be competent – and in this world, like in Heartless City, the cops are outsmarted, more often than not. I haven’t started on Signal yet, but definitely plan to check it out – great to know you loved it!! 🙂

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  8. hi kfangurl! thanks for the review, it makes me want to watch the Show now. I’ve been wondering whether I should watch it or not, but now I think I should watch it.

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  9. Awesome review 🙂 Thumbs up! It makes me feel like revisiting the drama :’) All your descriptions about the show totally hit the right notes. Especially about Kim Moo Yul and the overall analogy!

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    • Aw, thankies Jas!! 😀 That’s a compliment indeed, if this review made you feel like revisiting the drama! And why shouldn’t you, since Kim Moo Yul is so flippin’ amazing in it, right? 😉

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      • Haha it is! 😀 It’s like when I read your review on NIF, hee. Yes, indeed I should! Kim Moo Yul is enough reason for me to rewatch it 😉

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        • Ah, you are sho schweet! Thanks for the encouragement, my dear! ❤ ❤ OMG, I just looked Kim Moo Yul up, and realized that he started out in musical theater!! WHUT. My mind is blown. The beautiful banker not only kicks ass, he sings, too?!? Flail.

          Liked by 1 person

          • ❤ ❤ ❤ Hehe I found that out while I was watching MBB 😀 and indeed it was surprising for me too. I may not know but I think there are many musical/theater stars-turned-actors out there. Like Jo Jung Suk as well. HAHAHA 😄 I cannot imagine Kim Moo Yul singing, honestly LOL. But yes, the fighting scenes in the drama were really GOOD – he did well in them, and they were filmed really nicely too.

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            • I think that’s exactly it – I need to see Kim Moo Yul singing, in order to wrap my brain around the fact that he started as a musical actor! I mean, with Jo Jung Suk, we get to see him sing at least a little bit, in practically every role, but with this being the only show I’ve seen Kim Moo Yul in, it’s just so hard to compute! 😄

              Which is why I poked around on YouTube a little bit. Here’s a clip where we can actually hear him sing! His singing part starts at 3:45.

              He’s actually very good! *Mind. Blown.*

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              • Haha that’s true, Jo Jung Suk sings in his shows. I actually saw Kim Moo Yul in Iljimae (Lee Jun Ki version) but MBB is more memorable as a KMY show, definitely. Whoa okay, I am mind. blown. HAHAHA 😄 his singing is impressive indeed!

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                • Right?? He’s really good! So strong, and in perfect pitch. I’d love to hear him sing a song which shows more of his vocal range. I love a man who can sing. ❤

                  I actually watched Iljimae! But I honestly don't remember Kim Moo Yul in it. 😛 I mostly had eyes for Park Shi Hoo (whom I used to fangirl over big time), and Lee Jun Ki. Even googling what he looked like in Iljimae failed to jog my memory. 😛

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                  • Same here! I think men who can sing are charming. And being able to sing so well like Kim Moo Yul, totally a plus point!! ❤ ❤

                    Haha it's okay, it wasn't a major role considering the drama's leads back then. I only remembered because I watched it quite a few times, but the memory was only really triggered after watching MBB. 😛 YES I was also a fangirl of both Lee Jun Ki and Park Shi Hoo in the drama~ Must have become an ultimate fangirl of Lee Jun Ki since then hee 😀

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                    • You watched Iljimae quite a few times? Wow. You ARE a dedicated fangirl! 😄 I half want to dip my toes into Iljimae, just to see Kim Moo Yul in sageuk action. I’m sure he won’t be as badass as he is in MBB, but it’ll be fun, I’m sure! 😉 And high five, that you were also fangirling over Lee Jun Ki and Park Shi Hoo during that drama! I’ve since fallen off the Park Shi Hoo fan-wagon (I fell off before his scandal, thankfully! Or else I would’ve been traumatized, I think!), but I am more of a LJK fan than ever. ❤

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                    • Yeah I did 😄 I remember liking the drama very much, not just because of Lee Jun Ki since I didn’t really know him then. I only heard of King and the Clown after Iljimae 😛 I would actually love to watch it again, since it’s been quite some time now. And it isn’t a bad idea now that we have Kim Moo Yul to look out for as well! Hehe yeah high five! Yup me too, lol. It’s a pity though; he’s a good actor. I was a fan up to his Prosecutor Princess days!

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                    • Oh, isn’t LJK just wonderful and captivating and amazing in The King and The Clown?? So quietly beautiful and tragic. Ah, I want LJK to have an amazing drama. All his recent ones have been on the underwhelming side for me, aside from Arang.

                      As for Park Shi Hoo.. I dunno.. I was freaking in love with him for a while, but over time, I started to find him boring. But, he did very well in TPM, no doubt about that. And then the scandal happened, and I still feel a bit weird about seeing him onscreen. I tried an ep of Neighborhood Hero, and concluded that it was too soon, for me. 😛

                      ANYWAY. You need to steel your ovaries, Jas. I found this vid of Kim Moo Yul singing, and it’s spazz-inducingly sexy. OMG.

                      ❤ ❤ ❤ *hearts in eyes for dayyyyss*

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                    • Yes LJK is marvellous in The King and The Clown!! Same here. That’s why I hope Moon Lovers will be good, though I’m not really excited for it..unlike for Scholar and Joseon Gunman. I actually didn’t finish Arang – need to pick it up again soon! Hmm I liked Joseon Gunman though. It wasn’t the best, but didn’t leave me much negative thoughts about it either.

                      High five kfangurl. I really used to fangirl over him major, lol. Yeah I watched TPM, and yes his performance there was undoubtedly captivating. But I think I wasn’t sold on the story as compared to other sageuks. I have the same weird feeling as you, so perhaps the time is not right for me too. Ah, actually I watched NH up to about Episode 8/9 before dropping it because I didn’t like the direction the story was headed to. Still, I thought Park Shi Hoo’s acting was good in the eps I watched. The acting by the other cast as well; Lee Soo-hyuk ❤ ❤

                      OMG kfangurl! -Spazzz- and the feels after watching 😄 Not just the singing (his voice is ❤ ❤ ❤ ), his smile kills it as well 🙂

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                    • You didn’t finish Arang? You didn’t like it? Or, just got sidetracked? I thought LJK was very good in that! 🙂 Also, YES, I’m really hoping Moon Lovers will be good.

                      Lee Soo Hyuk is getting better and better, isn’t he?? I’ve always found him interesting, but of late, he’s actually becoming quite mesmerizing. I didn’t like Scholar all that much, but Lee Soo Hyuk was very good as Gwi, I thought.

                      Kim Moo Yul’s singing AND his grinny, fanservicey side slayed me good and proper in that clip, I tell ya. I’ve watched it, er, several times now! 😉 He really needs to get more love, so that he can do a fanmeeting, and blow us away with his amazing singing and his effortless grinny fanservice!! ❤ ❤ ❤

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                    • Part of it was because I got sidetracked, but I guess it was mainly because I wasn’t really invested into the story’s setting – about ghosts and all. Sometimes I don’t really get into elements of fantasy 😛 YES same here!

                      He IS making huge improvement indeed. Before he was just good-looking and had a unique voice 😉 but now he’s struck me more as an actor! Yup, I really liked Lee Soo Hyuk’s portrayal of Gwi – the role was a breakthrough for him, just like Chan-gyu in Neighborhood Hero. 🙂 So happy for him!

                      Haha YEAH!! ❤ ❤ ❤ Totally, I want more people in dramaland to know about him, not only in movies.

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                    • Ahh.. Yeah, if you generally don’t enjoy supernatural settings then I can totally see how Arang might’ve not landed as well for you as it did for me. Not that I’m particularly into supernatural settings, but I’m not averse to them if the story is well done. And I thought Arang was very well done, in that the supernatural world they constructed felt complete and whole, and rules for how things worked were pretty clear (contrasted with Scholar, for instance, where rules were not clear at all). Also, I’m surprised you liked Scholar, given that Scholar’s a supernatural type story as well. And it’s not because it’s the power of Lee Jun Ki either, since he stars in both shows! Hmm.. Could this be the power of.. Lee Soo Hyuk? 😄

                      Who really IS making big strides in his acting career, from what I can tell. Given his unusual looks and very unusual voice, I half thought he was in danger of getting typecast as the killer type, or as a vampire (haha!), but he’s doing very well in terms of taking on a variety of roles. Who knew that the silent killer in Tree would one day be able to play a regular guy type in Neighborhood Hero? 😄

                      Gosh, I really hope that Kim Moo Yul will do more dramas!!! I am very impressed with him (as you can tell!), and I’d hate to see him only in movies 😛

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                    • Yeah. I think I became more accepting to supernatural settings over time. For me, when Twilight was so popular back then I wasn’t into it at all. I didn’t know why so much hype surrounded it. Haha Vampire Prosecutor 1 was the drama that really made me become more open to the idea of vampires 😛 And I only watched it a few years after it aired, that’s why. When Arang came out, fantasy was not something I could enjoy yet so I stalled on it. But I think I would be able to watch it now 🙂 This was the same reason why I ended up not watching Master’s Sun, ha. I was surprised myself that I could move on with Scholar actually (though I came to a conclusion that I stayed for the cast only, lol) HAHAHA I think it’s the powerful combination of both Lee Jun Ki and Lee Soo Hyuk 😄

                      I know right!!? Haha! That is very true, kfangurl. Heee yes and it can only spell good for him! I would never have imagined he could act like this if not for Chan-gyu, to be honest 🙂

                      SAME HERE. I hope the drama gods hear us and grant our wish! 😀 Hehe I am equally impressed by him ^^ Yes because the movies take a long time before international fans like us can watch it..but dramas would do the trick! 😉

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                    • I think I know what you mean, about becoming more accepting of a particular type of show, over time. I used to avoid melos and crime procedurals, but now am perfectly happy to check out shows that fall in these genres, if I hear that they’re good. I hope you do go back to Arang, Jas, coz I thought it was very well done, particularly for a show that wasn’t pre-produced. And, Lee Jun Ki and Shin Min Ah make an excellent pair as well. ❤ 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

  10. So I usually like to have an action drama going on and several hit at the same time. I watched the first episode of this drama and Last and Hidden Identity. I dumped HI and went for Last. I got half way through and though it is pretty good, and I might go back to it I kind of stalled. I really liked Heartless City, especially the first half. It was so well done though the second half got a bit repetitive. You’ve given me something to think about and I might give this a go. I actually am not a huge fan of old style hallyu but you are so right. Sometimes if you have a certain perspective and understanding, it makes all the difference. Having said that, I am coming off the excellent Signal so I’ll let that drama settle in for a bit before picking this up or I’m probably doomed to disappointment.

    Though I first came to k-drama for the romance so rarely seen in Western tv these days, I have always loved action shows. However, I really don’t always need romance in my action shows. I really liked Healer as an overall drama, but think Two Weeks is a better action show because they don’t slow down for a love story so I am intrigued by the premise of this drama…all for the love of a woman but action packed. Hmmm.

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    • I haven’t seen Signal myself, but I’ve heard lots of good things, so it’s probably a wise decision to hold off on this one for a bit. No sense setting it up to disappoint you! 😉

      I’d say that this one shares many of the same strengths and weaknesses as Heartless City. Similar beautiful dark world (though I fancy Heartless may’ve been a touch darker), and similar shadowy multi-tiered crime organizations dealing with similarly ineffectual cops. And unfortunately, also a similar tendency for repetitive cycles in the middle stretch. I still consider it a worthy watch, once you adjust your lens and expectations. For a show that’s got Classic Hallyu at its heart, MBB’s jam-packed with gritty, stylish action. Not at all like Hidden Identity, which went way too heavy on the melodrama and way too light on the crime stuff. I dropped that right quick though, so I can’t speak for the entire show. 😉

      Come to think of it, MBB does have a similar can’t-let-up tone to Two Weeks, at least for the first half. Plus, for a show that’s about One True Love, the OTP spends most of the screen time apart, mostly to make way for – or rather, to set up – that serious action. So it’s quite unlike most kdramas that way. 🙂 I hope that helps!

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      • You’ve convinced me; this is going on my watch list for the summer. I knew I hadn’t given it a fair shake but the downside of so many dramas getting released is sometimes it’s easy to forget to go back and give some passed on dramas another try. Thanks so much.

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        • Ah, that’s great, that you’ll be giving this drama a chance! 🙂 I absolutely know what you mean about dramas falling to the wayside, not because they aren’t good, but purely because they came out when there were too many dramas vying for our attention. I have a good handful of dramas that fit into that category, that I mean to get to. Hopefully sooner than later. Like Signal, which I hear is great. 🙂

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  11. so.. i love heartless city and after reading your review, i’m definitely going to watch this show.. can u recommend me any other drama that have similar vibe..? thank U .. ^^

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    • Hi there papoy, it’s great that you’re going to give this show a chance! 🙂 As for other shows with a similar Heartless City sort of vibe.. the closest ones I can think of, are Bad Guys (review here), for the similarly gritty beauty, and maybe Vampire Prosecutor (review here), for its dark elegance. I hope that helps! 🙂

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      • thank U for your recommendation.. already watch bad guys and i like it.. ^^
        i almost watch VP but because there’s a vampire in the title so i hesitate a bit.. hahahahaha.. i’ll try to watch it after finish with MBB.. thank u again.. ^^

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        • I am not especially into vampire type shows, but I really liked Vampire Prosecutor, which I found interesting and very elegant. That elegance reminds me of the kind of dark elegance we see in Heartless City, which why I think you might enjoy it. Season 1 is capable of standing alone, so you don’t have to watch Season 2 (which is less elegant, and a lot more bloody) unless you want to. I hope that helps! 🙂

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