With the Olympics ending this weekend (OH THANK GOD, I THOUGHT I’D DIE FROM LACK OF NEW DRAMA EPISODES) and one of the more exciting premiere weeks this year coming up next week (Arang and Faith are both heavily anticipated dramas with Five Fingers up there too), I took a detour into Haeundae Lovers. Whether or not I actually stay for the whole ride is a different story.
Haeundae Lovers introduces us first to Kim Kang-woo’s Lee Tae Sung, an adopted prosecutor whose focused approach on criminals and the no-nonsense attitude towards his co-workers earn him the ire of other police officers. He’s obsessive about capturing his criminals but he shows a fundamental mistrust of his co-workers, who complain about his overbearing personality. The sad part about him is that at this very moment, he also happens to be getting married to his fiance Lee Se Na (Nam Gyuri), a sweet and all-too-forgiving daughter of the Minister of Justice. At the wedding, we also get the idea that his adoptive mother hates him because he is far more accomplished than her biological children.
Our heroine, Go Sora (Jeo Yeo Jung) owns a fish store along with three ex-gangsters whose loyalty to their boss is admirable. The boss, Sora’s dad, used to be a big-shot but after an accident, ends up mentally regressing and leaving him in a state of retardation. Sora and the uncles are working to get back the hotel that they lost long ago from Dad’s right-hand man who betrayed them.
Right off the bat, the action is all fun and comic and the tone matches the kooky premise well. The city is picturesque that it rightly gives off a summery vibe. As such, there is lots of natural lighting here. I like the music too, aiding to the show’s relaxed vibe. The lead actors here have the charms to pull off such a quirky drama and they rightly connects with each other in their scenes. The uncle/gangster squad is also really funny and admirable giving Sora the sense of family that she lost since her father lost his marbles. Of the supporting cast, they’re definitely the most interesting and I feel that a lot of humor will come from their constant weird antics. Among the other cast members, Jung Seok-won plays the chaebol vice president who seems typically second male-lead material but I’m glad he’s finally elevated from playing side character to an actual second lead.
To be honest, however, the first episode felt too slow for my taste. Not enough things happened although there was a lot of funny things happening. The second episode was much better and much more enjoyable with characters already revealing more about their past. Although I’m still a little disappointed that Tae Sung hasn’t lost his memory yet. I have enough faith in the writer (the one responsible for City Hunter) that I’m sure when we reach that point, we’ll have a very enjoyable action ride, since there will be so much complications between relationships that these two episodes have already set up (note the reveal that Tae Sung is actually the child of Sora’s Dad’s enemy).
Apart from that, the technical features of the show is quite taxing on my nerves. I get that there’s action involved but even City Hunter did not have this much camera shaking and scanted angles. I’m also annoyed at the way the show is edited, with the cloying one frame per second editing because it’s too disruptive. I’d like it if they slow down the editing so that we can actually see the action continuously.
Overall, I’m not as excited by the show than by the previous ones I’ve seen but I’m looking forward to watching the rest of it.