Elizabeth Tai

Scribbles about reading, writing and publishing in the digital era

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Korean drama review: City Hunter

Pencil-pusher by day, crime-fighting vigilante by night, the City Hunter will keep you glued to the screen.

IN 1983, 21 South Korean special forces soldiers were sent to North Korea on a top secret mission. They completed their mission successfully, but were inexplicably executed by the same government who sent them on the mission.

The only survivor was Lee Jin Pyo, a bodyguard for the Blue House (the South Korean version of the United States’ White House). Burning with rage, he hatched an elaborate plan to bring down the five powerful men responsible for the betrayal.

He went through extreme lengths to ensure that his plans succeed: he kidnapped his mentor’s infant son from his grief-stricken mother. (His mentor was one of the 21 men killed.) He then brought the boy, whom he named Yoon Sung, to Thailand and trained him from a young age to be an efficient soldier. He then enriched himself through the drug trade in South-East Asia’s Golden Triangle.

It is now 2011, and the two are ready to launch their plan to bring down the “gang of five”. However, Jin Pyo warns Yoon Sung (Lee Min Ho) never to trust or love anyone lest he risks the lives of those who are close to him.

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Being Human

Three’s company
A trio of characters bond in unusual circumstances.
By ELIZABETH TAI

AIDAN (Sam Witwer) is a 260-year-old vampire with a friend who happens to be a werewolf. Aidan is a nurse while Josh (Sam Huntington) works as an orderly in the same hospital.

One day, Aidan suggests that they both move into a house like “regular people”. That way, they can have a more normal life.

Josh wonders how normal their lives can be when he has to change into a ravening beast every full moon and that Aidan has to battle an overwhelming urge to munch on people, but he agrees nevertheless. When he starts to move their meagre possessions into the dusty, old house, he actually starts to get excited.

Then they meet the house’s other occupant: Sally (Meaghan Rath), the ghost of their landlord’s fiancée who died in the house six months earlier. She’s invisible to human beings, but since they are supernatural creatures they can see her. Ecstatic that she can finally make contact with someone, Sally begins to hang out with them much to their displeasure. However, over time, despite their inconvenient personal “quirks” the three bond because of it – “weirdness” loves company after all.

Interestingly, the characters spend most of their time struggling with problems plaguing ordinary people. The kind of problems you’d have when dealing with roomies – messy housemates, food that goes missing from the fridge … a visitor that never goes away.

In this sense, Being Human is endearing in its “ordinariness”, though we are, of course, reminded of the weirdness when the characters face problems of a supernatural kind.

Being Human was originally a British dramedy created by Toby Whithouse. Now in its third season, the drama has a strong cult following, and not many were pleased that the show had been Americanised.

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Review: Slave Hunters (Chuno)

Ah. My mum has fallen in love with this hit KBS drama. And with two lead (very hot) actors like Jang Hyuk (right pic) and Oh Ji Ho, can you blame her?

You can read the edited version of my review here. But here’s the longer, more “quippy” version:

THE early 17th century was a time of great uncertainty and suffering for the people of Korea.

In 1636 to 37, the Manchus invaded the country (then ruled by the Joseon dynasty), and So-Hyun, its crown prince was captured and taken to China as a hostage. Although he returned to his homeland in 1645, he died a month later, poisoned to death. His family fared no better – his wife was sentenced to death, accused of his murder, and his three sons were sent to Jeju island. Two died of illnesses and only the youngest, Seok-kyun, survived.

The common folk fared worse. Their fates are often determined by the whims and desires of selfish aristocrats who are busy jockeying for power and half the populace has been turned into slaves.

One such unfortunate is Song Tae-Ha (Oh Ji Ho), a government slave who works in the stables, serving the people he once fought with as a general of the empire. He does his job, keeps a low profile and even allows the head slave to beat him up even though he could easily crush him with a toe if he wanted to.

This all changes when he receives a message about Prince So-hyun’s death. Furious and guilt-ridden for not being by his prince’s side, Tae-Ha decides to break free and rescue the prince’s youngest son.

However, when slaves escape, they are hunted down by slave hunters (chuno). Lee Daegil (Jang Hyuk) happens to the nation’s best slave hunter, and his reputation is so fearsome it makes slaves weep in fear to hear his name.

So, naturally, officials hire him to drag Tae-Ha back. Daegil and Tae-Ha paths is set to collide in a fantastic way and their fate is entwined in ways that both may not forsee but will be, hopefully, quite entertaining for us.

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