Sunday, December 02, 2007

Super Rookie - A Hyacinth Review

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Super Rookie
Starring: Moon Jung-hyuk (Eric Mun), Han Ga In, Oh Ji Ho

This was my first K-Drama. I had no idea what to expect. I was familiar with La Belle, and bought Super Rookie to see Oh Ji Ho in action again.

I downloaded a 20 minute preview from MBC’s website to get some idea about it. It took 3 ½ hours. After all that waiting, I was crushed to discover Oh Ji Ho as Lee Bong Sam, wasn’t a particularly nice fellow.

I wanted him to be a valiant hero rising from obscurity, winning the girl and the corporate war, in spite of all odds.

Boy, was I wrong! Instead, he was a tight, sarcastic, ambitious young man with an attitude of superiority that makes a viewer want to whack him on the head.

Lee Bong Sam is also a first class put-down artist, saying terrible things to and about people. He, in other words, acts exactly like the children of the super rich Corporate Gods of Korea, even though he got his job though a scholarship, and the L.K. Corporation owns him.

He’s a handsome, well dressed, well mannered employee, always getting his work done on time, but being without true originality in his approach.

He works with his ex girlfriend, Lee Mi Ok, and treats her like a doormat.

The pure hearted Kang Ho enters the scene, and the fun begins.

There is underhandedness in great abundance. The major bad-guy schemer-supreme, Mr. Song, is played magnificently by Kim Il Woo, one of the best character actors around.

As it is with good Korean Drama/Comedies the supporting cast is fantastic.

Kang Ho’s brother Min is as eccentric as possible, therefore hilarious in a pitiable way. The rest of his family is superb; totally solid, and extreme enough examples of a certain strata of Korean society, to open your eyes if you aren’t aware of it yet.

You’ll get a good jolt of corporate power being exercised over lesser beings, i.e. temp workers who get no benefits and plenty of abuse. There’s a big taste of a company pandering to the favored wealthy who work as a lark, versus the poor who struggle to maintain their status quo.

This drama does an excellent job of exposing the class struggles of Korea, and bitter unfairness where the laborers are concerned.

Lee Bong Sam has his secrets, which slowly unfold across the screen showing far more talent than Oh Ji Ho had been credited with. His frozen superiority is a perfect mask, and it never slips where it could backfire on him. He is excellent in his role. He is all he is supposed to be.

Han Ga In does not truly begin to display her abundant and wonderful talent in this vehicle. She’s very good in her role though, no doubt about it.

Moon Jung-hyuk (Eric Mun) of course, shines like a diamond in the sky.

This is a very funny show.

It's impossible to see two scheming, dignified corporate types, standing at urinals discussing business while taking care of business, wearing expressions of envy while glancing at Kang Ho, in the prime of his youth, prodigiously passing water, and not crack up.

By A. Murray aka Hyacinth

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