Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Warrior Baek Dongsu

   I'm after only two episodes (too much drama to watch, and other stuff, no time!), but after rough start with me in episode 1, episode 2 convinced me. There is a lot more fight scenes in here comparing to other sageuk, so if you don't like it, that might be a slight hindrance in immersing into the story. There is a lot of familiar faces, and huge score - typical for fusion sageuks: rock, orchestra and a great, powerful song by BMK.

Basic info:
Title: 무사 백동수 / Musa Baek Dong Soo
Previously known as: 야뇌 백동수 / Honorable Baek Dong Soo
Genre: Period
Episodes: 24
Broadcast network: SBS
Broadcast period: 2010-Jul-04 to 2011-TBA
Air time: Monday & Tuesday 21:55
Official Website
Set in the Joseon Dynasty during King Jeongjo’s reign, this martial-arts fusion sageuk is centered around the events involving Crown Prince Sado’s conspiracy. Warrior Baek Dong Soo was a real-life legend who created a martial arts guide in Joseon. His group who defends King Jeongjo is pitted against a mysterious organization of assassins who plot to kill the King.(koreandrama) 
I dropped The Duo because of Cheon Jeongmyeong who was a complete miscast in here, and if I can't connect to one of the actors (especially main ones) watching of the show becomes a nightmare. So this is my first sageuk since... oh, SKKS. Hope there won't be any mistakes like this one.
Anyway, back to Baek Dongsu, I noticed funny fact how they changed the titles. Previously it had "honorable" in it, now we are left with "warrior" only. I guess writers concluded that in dark times, to be a good and loyal warrior excludes being honorable in a certain way.

   Back to the drama. The story is probably well known, it appeared in countless dramas and movies. In SKKS last year we had this history but years after, we had King Jeongjo who wants to honor his father, Prince Sado. In 8 Days Mystery of Jeongjo Assassination we had also hints about Prince's conspiracy. In Yi San also...Now we have Prince himself.
At first, the story may seem utterly confusing for those who about korean history know that there were gisaengs and yangban wore hats. But truth be told, we are thrown in the middle of the events, at first - treacherously slow, but ominous. And we may ask after one of them stupid officers - "but what is Northern Expedition?". He didn't get his answer at first. For some who crave for romance and events speeding like shinkansen - be patient. Now we have the background, the characters and their relations. Because one person is unable to live alone. One always makes connections. They introduced characters well, and I even have to confess in shame, that I screamed: KILL THE BASTARD OFF!! at my screan while seeing beheading of Dongsu's father. Then I realized I'm watching other drama not QSD, and the actor played here positive character. But still...

   The cast. As I mentioned, few very familiar faces, and I see that some more will come in the next episodes. I'm glad to see Oh Manseok as doomed Prince. It's kind of weird feeling for me to watch his actions shattered and life ruined, to KNOW what will befall upon him. The Prince is now full of hope, full of plans and scheming, but I can't get rid of the history facts in my head, and I'm just waiting hopelessly for his horrible death. This is why people shouldn't know either the date of their death or their loved ones. This is just not right.
Also, a familiar face from Return of Iljimae is back in exactly the same fucked up role. Granted, he doesn't walk sidewalks, but he's downright insane again. And Park Chul Min is perfect in such types of roles.

   Ever since QSD I can't warm up to Yu Seungho, I know the kid has potential and all, but somehow... Maybe I need to see him some more, and just get rid of that annoying, plotting, betraying Chunchu character from QSD. Gods, I hated him in it. I guess that is part of his legacy that I still hate the character he created.
All older actors are just great. And for now we have our main protagonists as teenagers (12 yo), and I must say I'm impressed by Yeo Jingu (he looks like 12-yo, but has a voice of a man. I almost fell from chair). The boy cried in such a messy way I couldn't help but reach for the tissue also. OK, that was a metaphore. But I do like him here (he played young Kim Jinhyeok - Jihun's role in Antique^^). How I wished he could stay for the entire series and not "radish kimchi" what's-his-name Ji Chang Woo. Dongsu's counterpart, ill-fated from before birth even, is played by a young Park Geontae, and he's weaker than Jingu in performance, but not bad. Both boys carry their characters well. One is deformed and fighting to become a normal kid. The other one is a perfectly normal kid letting his soul be deformed. In a way, they're like in-yang circle. So the latter choses the path of an assassin.

As all assassins, he got his first assignment - to kill his own father. Well, he could chose whom to kill, and he chose the man. The head assassin of the group had very, very (as for him) surprised face.

 And the head of assassins group is a very mysterious man. Although he says that a killer never feels any hesitation, he didn't kill everyone he was asked to. Perhaps creating his own demise in this way.

 I found the scene below somehow oneiric. 12 yo kid received a true steel blade. It was as if he took his own destiny not knowing about it. Somehow I felt it really heavy.

 And last, but definitely not least, the grotto, lake and... QSD anyone? If it's not the same scenery in which Bidam appeared, I will listen to The Table first album/single/whatever. It is, right? The same scenery, and I'm 100% sure there is a grotto where Seondeok's sister died. Ah, around 2 years ago... my eyes became watery suddenly...

And of course, song. BMK has powerful, earthshaking voice, and the song is more movie-like than drama-like, which is good. Sageuk invests also in music. That's a good sign.
Verdict? I'm watching^^