Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Review on Korean Drama: Jumong (2007)

Title: Jumong aka Book of Three Han (2006 to 2007)
Genre: Period Drama, Action, Romance
Duration:  81 episodes
Song Il Gook as Jumong
Han Hye Jin as Soh Suh No
Kim Seung Woo as Prince Daisu
Hu Joon Ho as Gen Hae Mo Su
Oh Yun Soo as Lady Yoo Hwa
Jun Kwang Ryul as King Geumwa
Kyun Mi Ri as Queen Wan Ho
Song Ji Hyo as Ye So Ya(Jumong’s wife)
Kim Byeong-Ki as Yeontabal

Synopsis: Hae Mo Su (Hu Joon Ho), a legendary fighter of freedom, joins forces with Geumwa, the crowned prince of Buyeo, to fight against Han.  Together, they formed the Damul army, a band of soldiers dedicated to defend Gojoseon refugees.
As fate would have it, both men fell in love with the same woman, Lady Yoohwa (Oh Yun Soo) but she fell in love with General Hae Mo Su despite him causing her whole trible to be killed and their huts burned to the ground. 
Prince Geumwa (Jun Kwang Ryul) decides to take her in but his wife got jealous of Lady Yeohwa and sends her to the Damul army camp where the love between Hae Mo Su and Lady Yoohwa flourishes and he promised to marry her as soon as the war is over. 
Unfortunately, he was sent to his death by the Buyeo’s Prime Minister and High Priestess believing he would bring destruction to the kingdom.  Hae Mo Su thought he was rescuing refugees but unbeknownst to him, the soldiers were only posing as refugees and he was caught by the ironclad cavalry of Han, tortured and his eyes taken out to serve as an example to the people.  Prince Geumwa witnessed how he was killed by the soldiers feeling helpless and frustrated.
Learning of the treachery of everyone around him, Prince Geumwa decides to take Lady Yoohwa back to his kingdom as his most favoured concubine and adopts Hae Mo Su’s son making the two other princes jealous of Hae Mo Su’s son Jumong.
Jumong grew up to be a carefree, weak, and cowardly prince who loves to womanize.  He only grew to realize the danger he poses when his two brothers tried to kill him on their way to see the legendary Damul bow.  Fortunately, he was saved by Soh Su No(Han Hye Jin) and lied to the king when he said he did not see the bow when in fact he broke the bow.  Because of the plot to his life, Lady Yoohwa decided that Jumong should learn to defend himself and hires a jail guard to teach him secretly.  During this time, the king declares a competition amongst the three princes on who deserves to become the crowned prince and this earned the ire of the queen and the two princes and they plotted to kill Jumong again.  Their plot fails but Jumong was stripped of his title and sent away from the kingdom.
It was during this time that he learned the values of humility and perseverance.  He begun to take his life seriously and slowly strategized to pursue his goal.  It was also then that he met three thieves, Oi, Mari and Hyobbo who will later on become his loyal companions in his noble quest.  It was also during this time that he encountered Soh Su No again and begins to develop deep feelings for each other.
Through the chief guard, Jumong was able to meet his real father, General Hae Mo Su in jail and he was able to train Jumong in martial arts.  It was apparent that Jumong had the skills and talent of his father that he was able to master the art of archery as well as become an excellent swordsman.
Unfortunately, Jumong only learned that his master was actually his real father but at the time that he learned the truth, his two brothers had already plotted to kill General Hae Mo Su at the prodding of the Prime Minister.
Jumong strives to fulfil his father’s lifelong wish and in his journey, he encountered pain, sacrificed his own happiness, but decides to move on in pursuit of his noble quest.
I only have three major complaints about this show.  First, the colours of the costumes stood out too much that it distracted me from enjoying the show. Second, Song Ji Hyo’s acting was so dead and dull that I never was able to sympathize with her character to the end.  Third, with all the sacrifices and support Soh Suh No  gave Jumong, it is frustrating that she had to leave him behind after the first family was brought back to the palace.  Being that what they had was their one, great love, it was heart-wrenching that the two lovers parted.  How can Soh Suh No be that noble?  She could have just stayed with him (deep sigh) or Song Ji Hyo could have just died (teehee).
But that being said, I enjoyed the show a lot specially the fight scene, how Jumong improved with his archery and swordsmanship and how Soh Suh No appears so brave and wise in all her undertakings.  She relentlessly supported Jumong never minding her circumstances.  She was forever putting Jumong’s life before hers that she was willing to give up on him and the throne just so they could avoid conflict in the palace...so sad.
I give this 9 out of 10 stars.

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