With so many suspense series out lately, "Three Days" going for a more action-based approach was a risk. Drama audiences like certain, very specific things. Mainly heavy melodrama, makjang and romance. Even dramas which start off without relying heavily on those are often manipulated into featuring them, since ratings are the law in Dramaland. And this is where "Three Days" makes a rare and great decision.
The series starts with a very simple premise, which is its title. We get to see the events that unfold during three non-consecutive days, as we go from an attempt against the President's life to a national crisis. Han Tae-kyeong (Park Yoo-chun) is an agent for the Blue House's secret service and he is the character viewers follow, as he is the go-to man in solving said crisis. The man he is trying to protect, President Lee Dong-hwi (Son Hyun-joo), is a man haunted by his past and whose actions will determine the country's future.
The biggest and clearest flaw of the series is that it is very far-fetched and inaccurate in certain aspects. We get the typical unrealistic depictions of action that are usually found in such works, but given the filming system and lack of wow factor that Hollywood usually offers, they just show more here. Realism is not a friend of this genre in general and given this is a Korean drama, it suffers from that even more. However, the only reason why those things stand out is because they are a different type of lack of realism than we usually get from Korea. "Three Days" generally feels a lot like a 90s Hollywood action movie. Good guys being heroic and moral, a bad guy who could only be more of a caricature if he had a moustache to twirl, a lot of action and a conspiracy.
This means that both the characters and plot are different to usual dramas. We do not get to know them a lot as people, we do not get to meet them in their daily lives. For some, those who do not like such works, this might be boring. But given the premise and format of the plot, it is necessary. That said, the characters do have values and principles they follow, their emotions and conflicts are well portrayed and they remain consistent. And this is where the drama succeeds in comparison to most. Consistency.
This is how one can tell when a creator respects their own work. The characters and plot, while on the very shallow and genre-serving side, do not go astray too often. We do not get personality transplants, we do not get sudden changes in the overall focus and the romance is kept to a minimum, which is just realistic considering the circumstances. The female characters are also treated with the same detail and consideration as the male and each event has its place in the grand scheme of things. There is, of course, some noble idiocy involved and the series does misstep a few times, but not as badly as usual.
And this is why, in all its action fluff cheapness, "Three Days" is much better a series than most Korean dramas. It does not present itself as something of higher quality than what it is and it does not feign poignancy in what it has to show and offer. It lets the tropes serve the plot, rather than shape the plot around the tropes. It picks a tone, picks a story and sticks to it, respecting viewers who like what they get, rather than switching things around to chase ratings.
With this new trend of messy and unfinished plots plaguing Dramaland, "Three Days" comes as quite the unlikely champion in terms of standing its ground. Not without flaws, flaws mostly common in Korean dramas and the action genre in general, it manages to maintain its dignity and stay true to what it set out to achieve. When so many series try to fool viewers into thinking they are more than just light and cheap entertainment, "Three Days" being just that and doing it well is a breath of fresh air.
Written by: Orion from 'Orion's Ramblings'
Vasia, also known as Orion or Ori online, is currently doing opinion pieces and database upkeep. She has a love for good TV and a penchant for rambling in written form. Vasia can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Three Days""
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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