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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jing Bi-rok" Episode 6

2015/03/01 | Permalink

All right, it's not just my imagination. At one point this episode the repetitive political arguments get so boring they even manage to put another character to sleep. Is this what "Jing Bi-rok" is trying to do? Get me to sympathize with King Seonjo's inability to properly respond to the situation by pointing out that his ministers are describing what's happening in a completely uninteresting, unegaging way? Well, mission accomplished, I guess.

As I've written before- I'm all for history lessons disguised as dramas. But I still need something more interesting than good costumework to keep from falling asleep. There are still occassional moments of flavoring- apparently we're getting a romantic subplot with two of the younger cast members, who I'm assuming are people that didn't actually exist historically. These moments are cute, but they do kind of underscore how overall "Jing Bi-rok" is pretty heavily tilted toward factual representation of stuff that's actually fairly boring.

Except for weird stuff like Hideyoshi having fangs / buckteeth. I'm not really sure why I never noticed before how ridiculous those things look. I suppose that all was easier to ignore back when Hideyoshi was acting like just a generally crazy person. Bear in mind that he is in fact still crazy- at one point the man appears to take tactical advice from a baby. And maybe that's the issue. After a certain point it's hard to see the difference between genuinely crazy and actual racist caricature.

I am, by this point, eagerly paying closest attention to the dates. This is because I know that in 1592 an actual invasion is going to happen, at which point we're finally going to get some engaging action scenes. As of the moment, we're just getting the usual spare moments of excitement. Such as one scene on the beach, where we learn why it is that modern policemen usually demand that unidentified persons put their hands either in the air or on the ground.

Beyond that, though, "Jing Bi-rok" just remains a historical piece that's increasingly trying my sense of patience. It's fortunate that the time periods being covered are so broad- this means that sooner or later, something interesting is going to have to happen even if for the moment equivocation is the rule of order for the day. If this is the low point of the drama's storytelling, we might not be in a such a bad spot. But if "Jing Bi-rok" continues to wallow, well...let's just hope the situation doesn't come to that.

Review by William Schwartz

"Jing Bi-rok" is directed by Kim Sang-hwi and Kim Yeong-jo, written by Jeong Hyung-soo and Jeong Ji-yeon and features Kim Sang-joong, Kim Tae-woo, Im Dong-jin, Kim Hye-eun, Lee Kwang-ki and Lee Kwang-ki.

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