Thursday, March 24, 2011

8 Days of Jeongjo's Assassination

   I'm slowly finishing this 10 - episode drama about those 8 days during which King Jeongjo was being the target of the assassins.
Yes, it's all because of SKKS.
About the drama:
Title: 정조암살미스터리 8일 / Eight Days Mystery of Jeong Jo Assassination 
Plot: The drama is about the assassination attempts on King Jeong Jo's life during the 8 day period when he left the palace for a ceremony to honor his father who was killed by his grandfather. 
Original work: Novel by Won Haeng 
Kim Sang Joong as King Jeong Jo
Jung Ae Ri as Lady Hong of Hyekyung Palace
Park Jung Chul as Jung Yak Yong
Lee Sun Ho as Jang In Hyung
Hee Won as So Hyung Bi
Kim Sung Kyum as Young Jo
Kim Ki Hyun as Kim Jung Soo
Park Chan Hwan as Shim Hwan Ji
Lee Dae Yeon as Moon In Bang
Jang Ki Yong (장기용) as Hong Jae Chul
Park Soo Hyun as Choi Ki Soo

Official Website

  If you are looking for anything light and fluffy - read the title once more. "Assassination" doesn't indicate anything of it. Instead, this drama offers highly condensed mixture of fealty, treason, hate, devotion and cruelty. This drama has the sign: 19+, and it is due to few reasons. First, it shows some brutal scenes like beheading, impaling on a spear, some heads dangling on a pole. Then we have the mature romance between Jang Inhyeong and the gisaeng So Hyeongbi. That is - lovemaking scenes, and nothing under the sheets.
Here, the hatred between Noron and Soron factions is even more bloody and harsh than in SKKS. 
This drama is also not for those who don't like much political stuff because it is all made from political stuff. We have talks, plotting, scheming, all in highly stylized Korean, and yangbans are using quotes from Confucian classics. Moreover, they love to use some metaphored sentences (because one mere metaphore is not enough!) which makes dialogs sometimes hard to follow. Of course, if someone went through Yi San, QSD and few others historical dramas like that, this would be as easy as to kick The Diva (ohoho, I'm mean, and I like iiit^^).

Oh, King Jeongjo is played by the uncle from LiB^^
And this is what I was talking about while musing over the elusive topic whether certain actors fit into the historical dramas or don't. He doesn't. Somehow I can't see THE King in him. He's good, really good as Jeongjo, still, somehow... not the king's aura around.
I didn't have the same feeling with Lee Seojin who played King Jeongjo in Yi San. I felt some royal vibes from him. I felt "period vibes" from both Yucheon and Song Junggi, and I felt dissonance with Yu Ah-in, this is why he scratched my heart that much in SKKS. And as much as hated Iljimae, I think the whole cast, ah well, and Lee Junki alike, did pretty decent job in making me believe.

Anyway, lot of digressions here, so going back to the drama with the long title. The music is good, if that counts.
But as I said, this is not a drama for everyone. If you don't like sageuk/taeha - skip it. If you don't like detailed historical account of events - skip it. But if you like to see how to ruin a fairly innocent man and turn him into a killer - watch it. If you like to see ladies in pretty gisaeng attire or royal clothes - watch it. If you want to wonder whether our life is determined by fate, occasion or ourselves - watch it.


And some pics from the official website (open them in the separate window, they are nice and huuuge):