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9 End 2 Outs (2007)

9 End 2 Outs

A.K.A.: 2 Outs in the 9th Inning
Korean Title: 환상의 커플 (9 Hoimal 2 Awoot)
Vietnamese Title: 9 Cong 2
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Starring: Lee Jung Jin, Soo Ae, Lee Tae Sung, Hwang Ji Hyun, Lee Sang Woo
Screenwriter: Yeo Ji Na
Director: Han Chul Soo
Episodes: 16

In life and in baseball, you need comebacks!

A poet once said that the party is over at 30 but “Two Outs, Bottom of the Ninth” counters that with the mantra that the party starts at the age of 30. Hong Nan Hee (Soo Ae) has never hit a home run in life, not to mention a single as she reaches 30. She thought she worked hard to get ahead in life but all she has are some small savings in her bank account and a mother nagging her to get married. But she has one thing to be happy about in her life. Her current boyfriend is Jung Joo (Lee Tae Sung), a talented baseball pitcher who is aiming to play in the big leagues in America and eight years her junior. But her mother disapproves of her daughter’s crazy choice.

One day, a childhood friend of Nan Hee appears in her life. And he’s Hyung Tae (Lee Jung Jin). Hyung Tae thinks he got over Nan Hee but is that really true? As a friend tells Hyung-tae that life begins at the bottom of the ninth with two outs, we’ll see how the game of life unfolds.
Source: Hancinema

Rating: A- (Great)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: This is one of the underrated dramas in 2007. At first, I almost passed it by because from looking at the promotion pictures I thought this is a drama about baseball. I didn't know that baseball is only a theme to compare the lives of the people in the movie. I think I must have been getting old because more and more I found myself in love with watching dramas about 30-something-years-old people. Needless to say, I really found myself immediately addicted to this drama after the very first episode. From watching this drama, I came to realize what a talented and versatile actress Soo Ae really is. Previously, I only know her through more serious roles in dramas such as Love Letter, Sea God, etc. and like with Chae Rim, I didn't think that she can be funny or can act in romantic comedy drama. However, this drama has helped me changed my mind. Her chemistry with Lee Jung Jin is also undeniable--you knew that the characters that they played have something for each other whenever they appeared together in this drama.

Lee Jung Jin is also very believable in the role of a guy who is torn between the feeling he has for his best friend and the feeling he thinks he still has for his ex. My heart ached whenever I saw Hyung Tae takes a quick glance at Nan Hee because there was love in his eyes and the pain of bearing an unspoken love. This drama is not only about the two best friends who have to risk losing the deep bond of friendship and learn to admit their love for each other, but it is also about the people in their 30s--their lives, ambitions, and regrets. Really, you don't need to be in your 30s to appreciate this drama because there will come a time when we all need/hope for one great comeback in our life, and this drama brings a hopeful light that it can will happen.


Couple of Fantasy (2006)

Couple of Fantasy

A.K.A.: Fantastic Couple, Fantasy Couple, Couple or Trouble
Korean Title: 환상의 커플 (Hwansangeui Keopeul)
Vietnamese Title: Doi Tinh Nhan Tuyet Hao
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Starring: Han Ye Seul, Oh Ji Ho, Kim Sung Min, Park Han Byul
Original Screenwriter: Leslie Dixon
Adapted By: Hong Jung Eun and Hong Mi Ran
Episodes: 16

This series is based on the 1987 American movie Overboard. Anna Jo (Han Ye Seul) is a rude, feisty, and audacious American-bred heiress who can never be satisfied. She returns to Korea only to continue being a controlling wife to her already cowardly husband, Billy Park (Kim Sung Min). When her yacht gets stuck for repairs, she hires local handyman Jang Chul Soo (Oh Ji Ho) to fix her shower, but when they have a heated spat over her dissatisfaction and non payment, she pushes him overboard and dunks his tools into the ocean right along with him. Later, after a quarrel with Billy that threatens to end their marriage, she herself gets drunkenly pitched overboard and falls victim to a bad case of amnesia.
Source: DramaWiki

Rating: A (Excellent)
Rewatch Factor: High
Comment: This is a surprisingly wonderful drama about two people from opposite world--the two people that you would think if the fate of the world rest on the two of them get together and procreate, we all would be doomed. While the story about romance blossoming from an amnesia incident is a very cliché story in Korean drama, this drama nevertheless managed to make this story fun, upbeat, and refreshing. Han Ye Seul fulfilled her character role perfectly in this drama as the snobby and hard-to-please heiress, Anna Jo, and later as the woman who has amnesia. At first, I wasn't convinced whether Ye Seul can pull off this role because she has such a stiff look and strong face, but thankfully all of her strong features all work to her benefit in this drama. Also, both Oh Ji Ho and Kim Sung Mi surprised me greatly in this drama for their great comedic actings in this drama. I have watched a lot of dramas before with Oh Ji Ho and Kim Sung Mi in a more serious role and I didn't think it was going to work when they were casted in this drama, but they proved me wrong.

I especially enjoy the many hilarious scenes that occurred when Kim Kwang-Gyoo and Kim Sung Mi appeared together on screen. All in all, I really love most of the supporting cast in this drama, those people is one of the important reasons why this drama is so fun to watch. From past experiences of watching Korean dramas, I was expecting something major and tragic to pop up from this drama like cancer or another case of amnesia that will separated the main couple apart until some years later. Thankfully, none of that ever happened and the drama has managed to keep me smiling toward the very end. In the end, I came away from watching the drama with some nice messages about the meaning of love and human relationship with each other.

In short, I love this lighthearted drama and I regretted that I didn't watch this drama earlier. So don't let that happen to you! Lastly, this drama has peaked my interest for the movie "Overboard". I need to hunt down that movie and see how it fare with the drama--my expectations are high now that I watched the drama.


Coffee Prince (2007)

Coffee Prince

A.K.A.: The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince
Korean Title: 커피프린스 1호점
Vietnamese Title: Hoang Tu Cafe or Duoc Lam Hoang Tu
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Starring: Yoon Eun Hye, Gong Yoo, Lee Sun Gyun, and Chae Jung Ahn
Screenwriter: Jang Hyun Ju and Lee Jung Ah
Director: Lee Yoon Jung
Episodes: 17

This drama is based from a romantic comedy manhwa by Lee Sun Mi.

The life of Go Eun Chan (Yoon Eun Hye) is not easy; she works many jobs to pay off debts and even gave up her feminine image. Choi Han Kyul (Gong Yoo) is the heir of a big food company, but his grandmother wants him to settle down, so she arranged many dates for him. After Eun Chan bumped into Han Kyul and was mistaken for a boy, Han Kyul decided to hire Eun Chan to be his gay lover in order to avoid the arranged dates. Desperately in need of money, Eun Chan had no choice but to accept. Han Kyul's grandmother also made Han Kyul in charge of a filthy coffee shop in danger of being bankrupt. Eun Chan begged to work at the coffee shop, and not long after, feelings start to spark, except, how would Han Kyul accept his "homosexuality"?
Source: DramaWiki

Rating: A (Excellent)
Rewatch Factor: Very High
Comment: From the casting, the storyline, music, to the settings everything seem to fit perfectly in this drama. "Coffee Prince" is not just your typical drama that centers around a protagonist female doing gender bending--aims at teenagers like "Hana Kimi" because it is much more than that. There is much depth, honesty, and realness about this drama that attempts to uncover another side to love. Indeed, this drama is intended for young adults everywhere. Arguably, the biggest captivating feature about this drama was the dedication of all of the cast and all of the sincerity everyone had putted in this drama. "Coffee Prince" easily can become another typical--shallow teen drama if it weren't for Gong Yoo and Yoon Eun Hye's fine actings. The onscreen chemistry between Gong Yoo and YEH is undeniable. In my opinion, one of the finest actings in the drama occur when the two main characters struggling to accept love, thus leaving my heart bursting with pain during those scenes. Not enough good things can be said about this charming drama. It is definitely one of my highlights of the year 2007.

Additionally, after you have done watching "Coffee Prince" and still experience the addiction urge to watch more "Coffee Prince" then don't pass up on watching the drama special. While the special is not any extended episode of the drama, it certainly will fill that "Coffee Prince" void inside you and you will leave with a greater appreciation of what everyone has putted in this drama.


Hwang Jin Yi (2006)

Hwang Jin Yi

A.K.A: Hwang Jini, Dust Storm
Korean Title: 황진이 (黃眞伊) (Hwang Jin Yi)
Genre: Period, Traditional, Drama
Starring: Ha Ji Won, Kim Jae Won, Kim Young Ae, Jang Geun Suk, Wang Bit Na
Screenwriter: Yoon Sun Joo
Directors: Kim Chul Kyu
Episodes: 24

The story of Hwang Jin Yi, the famous 16th century Gisaeng.

This story sheds new light on the life of Joseon-era dancer, musician and poet Hwang Jin Yi, who made her art blossom even when her love was put to test. The series also depicts the tragic life of a woman who faces hardships due to her social status. The drama drew the spotlight even before its premiere because Hwang Jin Yi is portrayed by top actress Ha Ji Won. Meanwhile, Wang Bit Na portrays another prominent dancer of the same era who is jealous of Hwang Jin Yi’s artistic talent. The role of nobleman Kim Eun Ho, Hwang Jin Yi’s first love who dies because their love turns out unrealistic due to differences in their social status, is played by Jang Geun Suk, while king’s relative Byuk Kye Soo, who becomes addicted to Hwang Jin Yi but fails to win her heart, is played by Yoo Tae Jun. Actor Lee Shi Hwan portrays Yi Saeng, an ambivalent character who is neither Hwang Jin Yi’s lover nor friend. Kim Young Ae plays the role of dancing girls’ trainer, while Kim Bo Yeon portrays her rival, Mae-hyang. The role of dancer Heon-keum, Hwang Jin Yi's mother who gave birth to her as a result of her belief that love only comes once in a lifetime, is portrayed by Jun Mi Sun.
Source: DramaWiki

Rating: A- (Great)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: This period drama captured my attention from the first episode. The drama has similar theme as the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha" and the old Japanese drama "Oshin", that is the theme about the struggle of a woman living in a world dictated by men and rising above the adversities. Hwang Jin Yi is fiction drama about the life of a famous kisaeng (gisaeng), an entertainer similar to the Japanese geisha. In the drama, Hwang Jin Yi is portrayed as not only a highly intelligent individual, but also a talented artist who if not for her sex and social status could've held high and powerful rank. The drama was very well done, from the sceneries to the elaborate costumes.

Ha Ji Won is absolutely perfect in the role of Hwang Jin Yi, playing as a strong and vulnerable seductress. Every facial expressions that Ha Ji Won showed in this drama is subtle yet precise. From her inviting glance to her alluring smirk, all was done effortlessly and naturally. I love seeing the transformation of Hwang Jin Yi from a naive and lively kisaeng to an experienced and unemotional kisaeng. Not to mention, all the dances in this drama took my breath away, especially the Baekmu's Crane Dance. Sadly, I was more interested in Hwang Jin Yi process of becoming a kisaeng and her life as an artist rather than her love life, so I was bothered that there was more attention giving to her love life in the drama. Nevertheless, this is a beautifully done drama that shouldn't be missed.


Dal Ja’s Spring (2007)

Dal Ja's Spring

A.K.A.: The Spring of Oh Dal Ja
Korean Title: 달자의 봄 (Dal Ja ui Bom)
Vietnamese Title: Mua Xuan Cua Nang Dal Ja
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Starring: Chae Rim, Lee Min Ki, Lee Hyun Woo, Lee Hye Young, Gong Hyeong Jin
Screenwriter: Kang Eun Kyung
Episodes: 22

Oh Dal Ja is 33 years old and she is an MD of a home shopping channel. She has a "love contract" with Kang Tae Bong, a 27 year old freelancer of a playmate enterprise. The story also revolves around Dal Ja's life with three men. Wee Sun Joo is a divorcee who is an expert on love and faces life with positive thinking.
Source: DramaWiki

Rating: A (Excellent)
Rewatch Factor: High
Comment: This is a drama about single women living life in her 30's. The women in this drama went through several major changes in their lives and is trying to survive those changes. Dal Ja in particular, when she was young believed the purity of a woman is everything and when she reached for a career she found herself become an independent and capable woman who do not need to rely on a man or the safety of marriage. However, when she reached her 30's she discovered that she was all alone and that her "spring" has passed. "Dal Ja's Spring" is a non-serious yet smart drama about 30-something, single women struggling to live their lives while juggling love and career. Slowly, the women in the drama learn to realize that their "spring" is not over.

The drama in itself is very funny and has brought me numerous laughters. I remember I laughed so hard at several episodes that my side hurted in the morning. All in all, the drama was very well written and directed. Not to mention, it effortlessly incorporated numerous parodies in the drama. Among the many parodies that in the drama that I can recalled at the moment are: "Kill Bill", "Snow White", "Cinderella", "Hwang Jin Yi", "Titanic", "Goong", "The Bodyguard", "Rocky" and "Pretty Woman" (well, you get the idea). Chae Rim made a great come-back and really impressed me in this drama. After I saw this drama I was convinced that she should be in more comedy dramas.

In the beginning, I was willingly to rate this drama "A+", but the conflict that was thrown near the end of the drama failed to impress me. It was so typical, and the ending felt rushed. Despite the last two episodes, this has become one of my favorite Korean dramas of all time. I love the drama's underlining message to single women everywhere that marriage is not a target, but an outcome. Getting marry shouldn't be some chores that one has to do. It's a choice to get marry, and it's great if you do and it's great if you don't. If I haven't make myself clear by now, I will attempt to wrap it up in one sentence: Dal Ja's Spring is a must-watch, regardless if you're a woman or not.


Fly, Daddy, Fly (2006)

Fly Daddy Fly

Korean Title: 플라이 대디 (Peul-lai Dae-di)
Genre: Drama, Family, Life
Starring: Lee Moon Shik, Lee Jun Ki, Poppin Hyeon Joon, Lee Yeon Soo, Kim So Eun
Screenwriter: Choi Jong-Tae
Director: Choi Jong-Tae

An ordinary businessman in his forties, Jang Ga Pil (Lee Moon Shik) returns home one day to find his daughter sexually molested by high school boxing star, Kang Tae Wook. Realizing that he has neither the money nor the background, Ga Pil couldn't stand up for his daughter like he said he would. With his father-daughter ties being threatened, he realizes that he must do something. He finally resorts to appear at Tae Wook's high school in an attempt to stab the guy but instead encounters another student, Go Seung Suk. Seung Suk agrees to teach Ga Pil how to box so that Ga Pil can teach Tae Wook a lesson and earn back his dignity as a father.
Source: iHeartJunKi.com

Rating: A- (Great)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: At first this sounds like a typical hero story where an unlikely guy goes to prove himself and probably ends up victorious in the end. The bad side is that it is just that kind of movie. The good side is that it has other elements that seperates it from other movies of similar genre. There are rarely any movies that portray a father-daughter relationship where a father is willing to risk his life to protect his daughter in such extreme ways. This movie has it and that's one of its key points. This movie does at a great job at emphasizing that Ga Pil used to be the average man working in an average company and loves his family very much. He doesn't deserve to come home one day finding out that his daughter was beat up by a bunch of punks. He doesn't know what to do especially when it's obvious that the punk's family is higher in status than him. Lee Moon Shik does a great job at portraying this father role. I could seriously feel his frustration at his own failure to protect his only daughter. Not only that, but Ga Pil's relationship with Seung Suk is like friends or even like a father and son. Seung Suk teaches Ga Pil to fight so that Ga Pil can regain his confidence and dignity. Seung Suk's past is revealed in the middle of the movie and that is one powerful and emotional scene. I think that Lee Jun Ki does a fantastic job at portraying Seung Suk, a mysterious adolescent with a painful and traumatizing past. One of the movie's highlights is the acting by these two main leads. It's true that the basic plot isn't anything original but it's the elements and other details that sets this movie apart from the rest. This movie is very enjoyable and a person doesn't really have to think much when watching it. It's a great movie that anyone can watch with their friends and family.


Sweet 18 (2004)

Sweet 18

A.K.A.: Little Bride, 18-Year-Old Bride
Korean Title: 낭랑18세 (Nang Rang 18 Seh)
Vietnamese Title: Co Dau Nho Xinh
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Starring: Han Ji-Hye, Lee Dong-Geon, Lee Da Hae
Screenwriters: Kim Eun-Hee and Yoon Eun-Kyeong
Director: Kim Myeong-Wook
Episodes: 16

Wedding is not consummation of love but only the beginning!
This is a story about the love between a seemingly incompatible couple, a starry-eyed and mischievous high school girl and an all-conquering and powerful public prosecutor. They overcome their age difference and an equally vast gap in social status and upbringing to weave a cute yet great story of love in a comical spin. Yun Jeong-suk is a high school girl bent on doing things her own way but is a descendant of one of the most aristocratic families of Korea, the Yuns of Papyeong. She is not interested in studying nor does she seem to have a purpose in life. But the patriarchs of her family and the public prosecutor's had already decided that their offsprings were to get married. So at a tender age of 18, she weds the son of another equally blue-blooded family of Kwons of Andong. Her counterpart is Kwon Hyeok-jun, a straight shooter who has to do everything according to the norm but still retains the purity of heart. He is also one of the omnipotent public prosecutors in Korea. But doing her duties as the wife of the first son of an illustrious family and being tamed as if she's a shrew await her...
Source: KBS

Rating: A (Excellent)
Rewatch Factor: High
Comment: This drama is reminiscent of the popular Korean movie "My Little Bride". At first I'm reluctant to see this drama because I thought it would be a recycled version of "My Little Bride" and I wasn't a big fan of Han Ji-Hye. However, I'm glad that I decided to watch it. Even though "Sweet 18" covered the same theme as "My Little Bride" the drama still manages to be different and equally interesting. Even though, some people may think Han Ji-Hye over act in this drama, but I actually enjoy her "expressive" acting. There are some cheesy moments in this drama, but those moments blend well in the drama so it's easy to watch. Don't miss this funny and adorable drama!


The King and the Clown (2005)

The King and the Clown

A.K.A.: The King's Man
Korean Title: 왕의 남자 (Wang-ui Namja)
Vietnamese Titles: Tro Dua Tri Quoc, Nha Vua Va Ten He
Genre: Drama, Period, Homosexual, Comedy
Starring: Gam Woo Seong, Lee Jun Ki, Jeong Jin Young, Kang Seong Yeon
Screenwriters: Choi Seok-Hwan and Kim Tae-Wung
Director: Lee Jun-Ik

The movie sets place in the 16th century during the Joseon Dynasty. Jang-Saeng (Gam Woo Seong) and Gong-Gil (Lee Jun Ki) are street entertainers/clowns/minstrels who are part of a travelling troupe. Gong-Gil, despite being a man, has a feminine look and is often forced to service the town officials who are interested in his looks. Jang-Saeng, tired of seeing his friend being abused, fights back and together they escape to Seoul.

However, upon arriving in Seoul, the two friends are disappointed to discover that the previous King has drove out almost all street entertainers deeming them as beggars, and so the hopes of achieving success in their profession seemed slim. When they met three other street entertains, Jang-Saeng plots a plan to mock the King (Jeong Jin Young) and his Royal Consort, Nok-Su (Kang Seong Yeon). As a result, they are arrested and accused of treason and setenced to be flogged. Jang-Saeng strikes a deal with Cheo-Seon, the King's minister, to let them perform in front of the King to prove their innocence. If the King laughs, they are innocent. If he doesn't, their heads will roll.
Source: iHeartJunKi.com

Rating: A+ (Masterpiece)
Rewatch Factor: High
Comment: Before I begin, I just have to say that I absolutely love this movie. It remains to this day, my number one favorite movie of all time. The acting, setting, plot, characters, and everything is simply superb. It's hard to believe that any movie could be perfect but I would say that this movie takes the cake. The setting and the costumes are so beautiful to look at and it just gives the movie that extra flair. However, what really brings this movie to stardom is most definitely the acting. If it wasn't for the amazing acting done by the actors and actresses, this movie would be one corner short of a full square. Lee Jun Ki really wows me with his acting as Gong-Gil, the effeminate clown who just has to be manipulated by everyone because of his looks. Gam Woo Seong, as Jang-Saeng, just impresses me with his acting as the fearless clown as well as him walking the tightrope! Jeong Jin Yeong sure convinces me with his portrayal of the evil yet child-like King. And Kang Seong Yeon does a great job as Nok Su, a Royal courtesan who will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

I must say, that I watched this movie twelve times and every single time, it always excites me. It's definitely a movie that I will never get tired of. What I also love about this movie are the subtle clues and connotations hidden in the movie. It requires people to actually rewatch the movie again if they wish to understand it more. After watching it twelve times, you can bet that I understand this movie for what it's worth and I love it even more. The homosexuality is rather subtle in this movie, and if people aren't watching close enough, they might don't even suspect that it's there, other than what the King feels for Gong-Gil obviously. I greatly recommend this movie for anybody who love watching Korean movies or who haven't watched Korean movies before. This movie is one of the Korean movie industry's finest.


Save the Last Dance For Me (2004)

Save the Last Dance For Me

A.K.A.: Save Your Last Dance For Me, The Last Dance Is With Me
Korean Title: 마지막 춤은 나와 함께 (Majimak Chumeun Nawa Hamkke)
Vietnamese Title: Dieu Nhay Cuoi Cung
Genre: Drama, Romance
Starring: Yoo Jin (Eugene), Ji Seong, Lee Bo-Yeong, Ryu Soo Young
Screenwriters: Ma Jin Won, Jo Yoon Young, and Song Hwang Won
Director: Lee Seung Ryul
Episodes: 20

Eunsoo (Eugene) is a pure but unsophisticated woman who runs a small resort inn with her father. Eunsoo is just an ordinary girl, but her life changes when she meets a man (Ji Seong) who's completely lost his memory. She takes him in and cares for him, and even gives him a name: "Baek Changho". Love blossoms, and soon wedding bells can be heard. But on the night of their wedding ceremony, Eunsoo's father passes away. And soon after, Changho disappears too! In the blink of an eye, the two people Eunsoo loves most in the world have left her. But Changho had his reasons for disappearing: his real name is Kang Hyunwoo, and he's heir to a large conglomerate. Even more, someone is plotting to kill him.
Source: DramaWiki

Rating: A- (Great)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: This is a great drama for all the hopelessly romantics. Eugene clearly demonstrates in this drama that she is not just a pop singer, but she have great potential as an actress. Ji Seong and Eugene have an incredible on-screen chemistry. The music for this drama also adds to the captivation of this drama. With an interesting plot and well picked cast, this drama is definitely a must-watch!


18 vs. 29 (2005)

18 vs. 29

A.K.A.: Eighteen vs Twenty-nine, 18:29
Korean Title: 열여덟 스물아홉 (Yeolyeodalb, Seumulahop)
Vietnamese Title: Tuoi 18
Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy
Starring: Park Sun Young, Ryu Soo Young, Park Eun-Hye, Lee Joong-Moon
Screenwriters: Go Bong Hwang and Kim Kyung Hee
Directors: Kim Won Yong and Ham Young Hoon
Episodes: 16

Yoon Hye-chan is a twenty-nine-year-old who wants to divorce her husband, Kang Sang-young (Ryu Soo Young), a popular actor. After Hye Chan gets to an accident, her mind reverts to that of a silly, eighteen-year-old teenage girl, who is reliving her high school days.
In the past Hye-chan despised Kang Bong-man, a popular boy at her school, thinking he is shallow. But little did she know that Kang Bong-man would become an actor one day, change his name to Kang Sang-young and be her future husband. For Sang-young, seeing his wife revert to their high school days changes him, and he strives to mend their shattered marriage. The only obstacle is Shin Ji-young, an actress, who has fallen in love with Sang-young.
Source: Wikipedia

Rating: A (Excellent)
Rewatch Factor: Medium
Comment: This is a drama that takes a unique look at youth, marriage, and love. It is about reliving the past and rediscovering love. The story is refreshing and the main characters are lovable. It has hilarious, endearing and bittersweet moments as two people slowly find themselves falling in love with each other once again. I love the chemistry between Park Sun Young and Ryu Soo Young. This drama really showed what a fine actor and actress those two are. "18 vs. 29" is a drama for those who are eternally optimist and those who aren't. You will laugh and you will cry, but most of all you will leave feeling satisfy.