Sunday, April 20, 2014

Inspiring Generation

I was excited to watch this action drama with our beloved Kim Hyun Joong. Would I see a vast range of emotions and an improvement in acting? I was anticipating it. I got to say, I was pretty hooked in the beginning. It stunned me how well the director did when choosing the child actors. The actor who played the teenage Kim Hyun Joong in this drama was a smaller replica of the actor. It was all flowing beautifully and the action kept me on my toes...train jumping, bridge jumping, fist fights, and the starting sparks of young love.
*Spoilers included in the following paragraph.*
     The characters were also not so bad either. Let me just focus on Gaya, Ok Ryeon, and Jung Tae for now. Everyone adored Gaya because she was a strong character. And the girl knew how to fight without even changing her facial expression...that's pretty impressive. Though some people would say that Ok Ryeon was weak compared to Gaya, I actually liked Ok Ryeon a lot more than Gaya. She was sensible and caring throughout the drama. She was very consistent to the very end. But, I have a question for the writers of this drama and Bridal Mask (the following sentence has a spoiler). Is it necessary to have the girl die on her wedding day? It's kind of a coincidence that the situation was so similar in both action dramas (Bridal Mask and Inspiring Generation). As for Jung Tae, it started off pretty well and he did show a lot of emotion (especially at the last episode), but I felt he was very similar to Gaya. They had no facial expressions throughout the whole drama while you could see emotions in Ok Ryeon's eyes. Gaya and Jung Tae just felt so monotone and sullen to me. Maybe it is just me? Though this drama was pretty good in the beginning and at the end, I did get bored of it in the middle and wondered just how much of this expressionless acting I would have to see. I did not get attached to the characters in this drama and I would probably not rewatch this. It felt like it was dragging it out and all the action was supposed to make up for my dying interest in the drama. 

     This story takes place in China...which I couldn't help but find it confusing since the entire drama was mostly in Korean. Our story is about a young fighter named Shin Jung Tae. He works and fights in the streets during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai in the 1930s. His father had disappeared from his life and his mother had passed away. Shin Jung Tae was left in charge of taking care of his sickly little sister. He does a bunch of risky jobs like jumping off of trains and fighting just to earn money for the medicine and later on, surgery. All the while, he has a close relationship with a girl named Ok Ryeon. You could see the developing love between the two. There is also Gaya who met Jung Tae as a teenager also. You could also see her admiration for our main lead. Jung Tae ends up getting caught up in the Dobinori smuggling gang which promises him the money he needs for his sister. When his sister decided to leave home in fear of being a burden to him, she is assumed to have jumped off a cliff and died.
      The teenagers grow up to be adults. Gaya, a girl of Japanese descent, has trained to become a sword fighter to avenge her parents' death with the idea that Jung Tae's father had committed the crime. Though she is out to kill Jung Tae, she still doesn't have the heart to do so because of her feelings toward him. Ok Ryeon has stayed by his side since they were children. She looks out for him in every possible way. Though she's not tough and skilled like Gaya, she's still endearing in her own ways. She aspires to be a singer and constantly sings Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Jung Tae is torn between Gaya and Ok Ryeon. The action builds throughout the entire drama. Jung Tae probably gets into at least one fight in every episode.
       Spoilers are going to be included from here on.
       Jung Tae ends up with Ok Ryeon. You kind of expect it since they were together for so long with growing feelings while Gaya was very distant from them and planning to murder people. I couldn't help but rage at the stupidity of Ok Ryeon's end when she drinks the poison that was supposed to be for Jung Tae. She swapped the cups so that Jung Tae wouldn't drink the poison. Could she not have just poured her drink out discreetly? They weren't even looking at her. Or she could have done it in a broad gesture. Pretend to take a sip and then say something like, "I do not drink well. But I shall empty my cup in respect." And then pour it out. I honestly just felt her death could have been so easily prevented. I also couldn't help but note that her death was awfully similar to how she died in Bridal Mask/Gaksital. Both her characters that the actress portrayed died on their wedding day and in the arms of their beloved. In both, she told them to stay by her side since she knew she was going to die. Gaya remained strong till the end even though you could see her buckling a little. Jung Tae's emotions are heightened after Ok Ryeon's death. And the best part yet, they gave him a reason to continue living by ending it with his sister appearing again. It works out but I kind of got tired in the middle of the constant fighting. A lot of people liked it, I just feel that it could have been improved in a few aspects to make me anticipate each coming episode. 

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