[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Signal" 2016/03/19,
Having a love for suspense, mystery or any other genres outside of romance, family, period and melodrama can be hard when a Korean drama fan. Crime shows are aplenty now, but few really achieve great quality in an enthralling presentation. "Signal" is nothing new. The timeline communication element is reminiscent of works such as Hollywood film "Frequency" and the rest is a suspense and crime series. Yet what makes "Signal" work is something Korean drama creators tend to forget. Quality matters,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Preview] "Signal" 2016/01/16,
Regular viewers of tvN may have noticed that the station likes to keep its usual actors and creators close. Here to take this one step further is "Signal", the approach of which brings back memories of the station's "Gabdong - The Serial Killer". The drama will be the second tvN show based on the Hwaseong serial murders, but unlike its predecessor it comes with a supernatural twist,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Sign" 2014/09/13,
While OCN might be the current king of the crime in Korean drama, crime as a topic, premise and even genre for shows is nothing new for the industry. Series with crime as their genre or an integral part of them might not appear often, but attempts have been made with various results. "Sign" is a big attempt at pure crime and achieves some new things, but its problems and lack of a solid main plot ultimately fail it,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 16 Final 2014/05/01,
In the end, it's all about the explosions. We don't actually get to see the explosions, though. Mostly it's just people talking about the explosions, or the threat of explosions, or the general mechanics of explosions, but the point is, this episode is about all the stuff related to explosions that isn't particularly interesting. I suppose that's not terribly surprising- locked into the villainous storyline and motivation of "Three Days", of course we'd get another case of talk rather than action. This is a problem when the talk is eyerollingly dumb.
I praised the first episode of this drama for having an obviously cynical take toward surveillance culture and the echelons of power in modern society,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 15 2014/04/30,
I haven't exactly had high expectations regarding the villains' plans lately, but I was expecting the assassination attempt to be a tad more elaborate than just a bunch of guys firing assault from moving vehicles into the general direction of the place where everybody thinks the President is. That's just sloppy- so much so that it almost makes me yearn for the evil plans that involve murder with a bright flashing trail of evidence.
But then, I don't have to yearn for it when such plots appear in this episode too. The bad guys are still getting access to wherever they need to go by donning police uniforms,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 14 2014/04/24,
The assassination attempt ends pretty much the way every other assassination attempt has ended in this drama to date. There's a fakeout, an explanation of elaborate motives and scheming, and then we're right back to the same old situation. The secret service is stuck in a passive holding pattern while Do-jin's corporation is able to act with infinite recklessness to achieve whatever they want to do.
Remarkably this still manages to happen even though Do-jin is arrested. Yes, Do-jin comes up with yet another assassination plan, that is only mildly inhibited by the guy's being in jail,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 13 2014/04/23,
Well, scratch that about Do-jin being a nutcase that's about to ruin everything for everybody. As far as I can tell the legal structure of the universe in "Three Days" is of complete benefit to the man. Do-jin is totally untouchable regardless of how much obscenely incriminating evidence the good guys are able to find. Even an on-the-spot assassination attempt isn't enough to at least bring the guy in for questioning.
That's not even the worst of it, actually. Apparently even a bunch of goons captured in the process of committing a crime red-handed isn't enough to put any sort of suspicion on the Jaeshin corporation,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 12 2014/04/10,
So apparently Do-jin is just straight up a completely crazy person. I had thought this drama was being a bit over the top with the whole evil corporate action stuff but other corporate types involved in the evil scheme actually manage to call Do-jin out for going too far. On some level the problems with Do-jin's plans really shouldn't be that hard to explain. If the police have found the bombs, it stands to reason they have evidence which will probably wreck the whole false flag operation part of the death and destruction. Without that, there's not really much point to the bombs in the first place from a corporate perspective.
It's actually a fairly interesting metaphor. Old school political types just shoot the breeze with crazy ideas that might equal financial and electoral success,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 11 2014/04/09,
Nobody can trust anyone in this drama. Normally that would be good for a narrative about about political machinations and dark backroom deals, but unfortunately the narrative behind "Three Days" is just black and white enough that these plot points come off as belaboured. Do we really have to go through Tae-kyeong being paranoid about who to trust again. That gimmick is getting really old, mainly because he's always getting talked out of it so easily.
In a lot of ways the bad guys were actually doing Tae-kyeong a favor when they tried to bump off Cha-yeong,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 10 2014/04/03,
The conclusion at corporate headquarters is about everything that can be reasonably expected. It says quite a bit about the way characters in this drama plan events that defeat keeps popping up in moments of practically absolute strength. "Three Days" takes place in a world where bravado and confidence are not great advantages. Anytime somebody takes a moment to be smug the weaker party is able to take advantage of that foolishness to shift the dynamics again.
The drama is able to do a decent job the closer it hews to standard action tropes,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 9 2014/04/02,
I suppose there's one concession I have to make to this drama- if security professionals in this universe were actually any good at preventing rogue agents from attacking secure installations and doing whatever they wanted, really, where would the tension come from? Yes, the particular plot device used to that end in this episode is a bit groanworthy. And it's especially annoying that most of the background is too dark for us to see what's happening. But it moves the plot forward.
Unfortunately for the most part the storyline is just standing still,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 8 2014/03/27,
We finally get some nice, clear character ambivalence from Tae-kyeong. He's a man that's honest about his limitations. Not in a refreshing way. It's a bit unnerving just how little confidence Tae-kyeong inspires in any scene that doesn't directly involve crazy action stuff. He has to be one of the more wishy-washy action heroes I can recall ever seeing on-screen. It's certainly different from the genre standard- but I'm not sure whether it actually works.
"Three Days" itself seems to admit this, as the episode abruptly changes gears from Tae-kyeong's inner conflict to more explanation about the specifics of the conspiracy,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 7 2014/03/26,
Once again we find Tae-kyeong not being the most cooperative lead character. This kind of action thriller typically requires a main character who's willing to break the rules, but when we see Tae-kyeong fighting people on his own side just as much as the actual villains, it's difficult to ignore the thematic significance. Even if it's in flashback the guy really seems determined to win every possible encounter, regardless of whether or not it will actually help his long term goals.
Let's take, for example, the confrontation at the suite,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 6 2014/03/20,
Tae-kyeong really needs to take some responsibility in terms of his image problem. Even though he's been cleared of wrongdoing and is ostensibly working with the good guys again, the man continues to respond to every minor crisis by punching everyone nearby. I mean, geez, Cha-yeong is clearly trying to give him the benefit of the doubt here but there's only so much she can do when the guy's so determined to alienate himself from everyone for no apparent reason.
The storyline moves forward as the bad guys move to the next step of their plan- kill everyone who might know something about the big mysterious secret,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 5 2014/03/19,
Most of this episode is dedicated to flashback, and to fairly good effect. We find out pretty clearly and unambiguously what the conspiracy is and why they're trying to kill the president. The revelations are fairly disappointing ones actually, but it fits well with the overall tone of the episode. Tae-kyeong is horribly disillusioned by the discoveries, yet he insists on sticking close to the action anyway because he's a secret service agent and darn it he's gotta protect the president.
The sense of urgency feels awfully out of place for the fifth episode,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 4 2014/03/13,
Most of the opening portion is just a huge orgy of action. Tae-kyeong is on a train and, as expected, this about the worst possible place to try and hide from a search by local authorities. So the situation very quickly degenerates into an outrageous fistfight. If the secret service agents had any doubts as to whether Tae-kyeong had seriously gone wrong, those are pretty much dispelled by the man's actions here. Word of advice- if your plan is to beat up everyone in the nearby vicinity until or unless they force you to stop, prefacing this rampage with "I'm sorry" really isn't good enough,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 3 2014/03/12,
...And it turns out that Tae-kyeong is, beyond all reasonable doubt, a wizard. I really can't come up with any other explanation for his accomplishments this episode. At one point he actually manages to knock someone out with the Vulcan nerve pinch. At least I'm assuming that's what he did- we don't see it very clearly but I can't imagine how else he could have forced this person into unconsciousness. For pity's sake, "Three Days", at least hand him some chloroform or something.
There's also the extended car chase, which has an ending I still can't figure out. So the bad guy is driving this giant semi, and all he has to do to kill our heroes is score a direct hit and knock them over,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 2 2014/03/06,
It would seem that I was mistaken on the action front. Initially the attack is a big deal, but for the most part this episode is just an anatomy of the attack, which was so sudden there's not even much to see. The focus here is mainly on Tae-kyoung, who is being treated suspiciously for...some reason I'm not sure what exactly. Maybe I've seen too many of these cat-and-mouse mysteries, but everything about this episode was so painfully predictable I was just impatiently tapping my fingers thinking "get on with it already!"
So, Tae-kyoung is wrongly accused, and now must work on his own to protect the president. That's motivation,...More
[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days" Episode 1 2014/03/05,
The immediate striking aspect of "Three Days" is how scary it is. Just to be clear, the first episode doesn't actually give a very good idea of who the bad guys are and what they're trying to do. Rather, the fear factor here comes from the Korean secret service of all people. Their elaborate surveillance scheme, the sniper on the rooftop, the excessive security detail, all demonstrate a frightening degree of control. Director Sin Kyeong-soo takes a bunch of people that are supposed to be at least kind of heroic and makes them look like the agents of a dystopia,...More
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