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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jing Bi-rok" Episode 9

2015/03/14 | Permalink

Technically speaking the war is at a standstill- but as countless modern examples have shown us, just because the fighting stops doesn't mean the underlying problems have gone away. The Japanese still have an army, and they still plan on taking over the world. So this is really not the best time to be thinking about executing the people who to date have shown the most foresight as to what's actually going on. San-hae, unfortunately, has decided to make politics the big priority here.

Yes, it's another political infighting episode of "Jing Bi-rok", so all the criticisms I usually bring up still apply here. These are events that actually happened. What's more, they accurately convey the idea that the Japanese invasion was prompted more by bureaucratic incompetence than the Japanese being vicious hellspawn. All the same, there's a reason why modern political thrillers focus more on the high-stakes stuff than petty positioning. The high-stakes stuff is more exciting, even if it gives a misleading idea of what politics are actually like.

While I don't think "Jing Bi-rok" has been that hard on the Japanese as a whole I do wonder at this point whether from the Japanese perspective Hideyoshi really has that bad a reputation. I'm guessing not, but I have no idea whether the writing team is just making him freak out here for the sake of having Hideyoshi look crazy or whether there's an actual Japanese history lying around somewhere indicating that he did in fact do these things. Either way the sequence did seem a bit over-the-top.

What else...well, there is a brief scene referencing White Day, of all things. Yes, obviously White Day didn't exist yet back then but that's really not the point. The scene involves the characters who I consider most likely not to be based on real historical people so I don't mind a bit of cutesiness to lighten up the general feeling of dread that seems to pervade "Jing Bi-rok". While Seong-ryong does win the battle here the timing remains rather ominous.

So really, overall about an average episode of "Jing Bi-rok". Nothing so incredible as to make a person want to start from this point- well, unless you're a huge political nerd anyway. The tone is largely consistent with what we've seen so far, although the encroaching dates definitely give the impression that serious fighting is actually going to come up soon- perhaps we are, after all, finally done establishing how completely unprepared Korea is for this immediate emergency.

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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