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Tug Of War ... is Vera and Victoria stealing the show from Gelai?

La Greta Invites you InCollapse )

So I have not posted in a LONG TIME... friggin two years? Well, because I have been busy with life...and I haven't been into a Filipino drama since the first parts of Lobo (Wolf) and parts of the Kim Sam Soon remake.

After that... I kinda got over it and focused more on other Asian dramas.

But then I discovered a new guilty pleasure...

OMNOMNOMNOM! Decadent guilty pleasure!Collapse )

watch video:

Connection or Action? Powerful Opponents Episode 8 Review
Connection or Action?


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One of the main draws of this drama is the triangle. And what I completely like about this triangle is we do not have one guy who is just really put in there as the martyrdom of love. Like Yul from “Goong” or Jung Woo from “My Girl”. The type when I watch and go, “Dude. Can you at least give these lovesick puppies a pity hug? A makeout session? A butt tap? Anything? To get rid of my guilty feeling?”

Here both men, I can totally see making out with her. laugh.gif I mean, having a significant relationship with her.

We have two men.

There is Soo Ho, the handsome president’s son with a mysterious past and an immature rebellious streak. Suave, aggressive, and knows his cards for the pursuit of Young Jin. He knows what he wants and he knows he is capable of getting it. His rather adorable side is he wears his heart on his sleeve. Very much like Daniel Cleaver, the seducer and the one who lives in passion.
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Then there is Gwan Pil, the sexy emo agent. Socially awkward but with a heart. Dry, straightforward and mostly cool-headed. Every thing about him is meticulously calculated. He speaks in a deep, one-note tone as he butts heads with our heroine. But inside him is a man with a lot of his own scars (haha symbolism alert) and comes out often as a confidante at times when you least expect it. Very Mark Darcy.

So far, much of the establishment with the heroine eight episodes in is with Gwan Pil --- the connection is with him but the action is going towards Soo Ho. Which puts me forth to the “Bridget Jones” effect.

Soo Ho and Young Jin their interactions are about his pursuit for her and how he is first smitten with her, from the moment he kept her journal to now, aggressively following her around. He is coming dangerously close to really falling for her. He even takes dancing lessons with her dad, much to her dismay.

I think the winning formula in Soo Ho and Young Jin’s story is the effect she has on him. Little moments when he would readily run to her or when his father had a sense of pride because Soo Ho is finally doing something with passion and that is the dancing lessons.

But for me the most poignant part was the scene when he slammed his cell phone with a huge smile on his face, then he walked in to look at the mirror practicing his stance like a soldier --- THAT scene was touching. That was when I realized that their story can go forward.

Then there is Gwan Pil and Young Jin, remains to be man who is readily waiting right behind her (and I sit her and squeee like an old fangirl) despite of his lack of emotion and sense of romance, he connects with her.

After she broke down in front of her family because of her frustrations towards her father, he was instantly there waiting outside. She opens up to him, just as he opens up to her an episode ago. In the most turbulent and pivotal moments, the two characters meet and connect, in spite of their façade towards each other, they are clearly connected.

Yet, it is very telling that Gwan Pil is fully aware of his lack of social grace when it comes to women. He tells his daughter how women do not like talking to him because he of his cold demeanor. The daughter should know though that he does talk to Young Jin… but is Gwan Pil really ready to open himself up to her? He DOES NOT wear his heart on his sleeve, something Soo Ho readily does.

But setting aside the romance, I think this was CHAE RIM’s episode. To a tee. Hands down. Young Jin’s breakdown showed both a sense of haughty arrogance and just genuine, emotional frailty. This is what an actress is supposed to be capable of showing the scope and complexities of a person, one does not just break down and cry--- tears is not enough to show it. One shows real emotions, which she made me feel at that moment.

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I felt like a third party who walked in on something I should not have heard. It was that commanding. And I sit here thinking, “This is a romantic comedy?” Sometimes I hope Chae Rim gets a more complex story, but that’s a whole different topic altogether.

The heart of the drama really comes with the notion of family, I love Young Jin and her father, even in times when they are tumultuous and times when they are loving towards each other. It really looks like a real family; I especially loved the part when they did a toast with their lettuce wraps. It just reminds us that all of us have the most awkward moments with our families and we still come to love them.

But as much heart as this storyline gives, everything still leads us to the triangle. The scene when all three of them reminisce about the egg and flour incident shows how greatly linked they all can be. That one moment had an effect on all three of them. A sense of relief after bouts of drama with Young Jin. A time to break into a laugh for Gwan Pil. And the joys of infatuation with Soo Ho.

Finally, the scene I have been waiting for happens. For Young Jin to get out of her usual security get-up and gets into a sexy, slinky number. I started howling at the scene because I knew this would have to happen. And as expected it really catapults the triangle.

Hilarious was my reaction when I watched Gwan Pil stare at her for moments and moments. Then he blows air in sudden edginess at the sight of a radiant Young Jin. He tries to look away and walked out as fast as he can.

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Quite the opposite of Soo Ho who knowingly shows her he is attracted and he is ready to make his move. He stares at her with something that seems lingering and dangerous.

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I believe Young Jin IS aware of this by this time. I believe also she is attracted to the guy, hence her freezing with her gun! Unable to come back to her senses at the sight of the handsome man with a devilish grin. And we know what happens after… there is far too many screencaps and photos at this point.
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Only, of course, in true triangle fashion, Gwan Pil stands there and witnesses every single thing.

Episode 8 was full force with the plot direction and character development, which makes it a strong and also enjoyable episode. Now the question is--- will action outweigh connection? This is what I will have to wait for.

Just a few minor comments: Soo Ho’s sister is shady to me. SHADY, I tell ya. Why is she having Gwan Pil’s daughter investigated?

With all these mysteries and the triangle, we’re having a fun drama in our hands. 

How Many More Meters Before I Lose You? Powerful Opponents Episode 7 Review
 How Many More Meters Before I Lose You?
Powerful Opponents Episode 7 Review

Soo Ho is starting to show his feelings for Young Jin. Surprising her on the steps. Inviting her for midnight noodles. Getting into frantic fights with burly men. Totally smitten by her, he transforms into a high school boy pacing around to hear her voice on the phone. Young Jin seems to think it is still one of his childish outbursts, completely oblivious of the fact that the president’s son is pursuing her. Then, there stands Gwan Pil, immersed into his own problems with the mysterious daughter angle. Young Jin is stuck; her dutiful side seems to feel obligated to help two of the men. The scarred President’s son and the complex colleague. Unknowingly so, these two men are bringing in sides of her she seems to hide.

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Episode 7 for me was a mixed bag, I wanted to see development in Soo Ho’s character and yet again I feel like it still falls short. I really want to feel for his character, I really do but at this point it’s a bit perplexing. This is coming from someone who is looking at this at a writer’s point of view. And this late in the game that’s a bit troublesome for me.

I do not know what the writer is heading for at the moment with Soo Ho, I wait for the right development and the openness of the character… and here I am still stuck on what to feel about the guy. I often ponder why he is suddenly smitten with Young Jin, when the development for their moments were lacking. I mean it beyond what the façade takes me. Beyond than just his aggressive flirting. We do have a few fun scenes and have a helping of Lee Jin Wook’s sexy stares and handsome face… but the relationship angle is completely lacking.

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From a writer’s point of view, I just do not know what to grasp out of it. If I am supposed to root for this guy, can they at least flesh him out a bit more? We’re already in Episode 7 and I’m STILL asking for a flesh out? In such dramas like “Robbers” the two men who act as clear rivals for the woman are both solid characters, they both established the instant connection to the lead. I can honestly say that at some point, I can easily see a supporting actor like Kim Jung Tae win over a girl than a big star like Jang Hyuk.

In any kind of romance there should be a measured brew, no matter how little--- that suddenly creeps in to us, not just these sudden jolts of aggressive scenes.

Soo Ho seems like a mesh of things. First and foremost, in order for him to have a rather believable connection with Young Jin, I as a viewer need a glimpse of this guy’s spirit. All I get is extremes. They do not even write him in with any kind of emotional subtlety, I only saw streaks of that when he tasted the menthol candy from that old lady (Brilliant scene). Then, it is like we are back to square one again. And I feel for Lee Jin Wook because the actor, who is nuanced, by the way--- is really doing the most of what is given to him.

He’s supposedly manic but he seems totally in control of what he could be doing. He does not seem to have the problems of say Joseph Gordon-Levitt in “The Lookout” who really had a hard time living in the world caused by a brain injury and psychological trauma. Which is common in any trauma patient. Often reckless but unable to really function in society. While Soo Ho is pretty harmless, functions, and is just mildly exasperating. He has bouts of infatuation with Young Jin, but he often expresses this attraction as a “one-up” to Gwang Pil. Asking him if he too has feelings for Young Jin.

The only thing that keeps me holding on to Soo Ho (oh what a dramatic way of putting that) is he happens to still have a few mysteries up his sleeve that could be a writer’s miracle in such a mesh of a character… and Lee Jin Wook.

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His boyish eyes seem to keep a promise that his character has a piercing depth to him. He handles his scenes with Chae Rim with luring charisma and a certain sense of danger, within just one look at her. He has this very boyish magnetism about him, a certain allure that he puts into a rather unlikable character.

He puts charm into Soo Ho’s sudden impulses, the way he is slowly lurking into us as an audience is nothing short of brilliant. I may reiterate my main problem with the character is the way he is written, nothing about the portrayal. I do feel that there is hope for the character. There is a lot of promise with scenes between Soo Ho and Young Jin; I feel she IS attracted to him. The same way as an audience, I think the character “gets” his allure.

From one mess of a man to another complicated man, Young Jin’s men seem to be mostly a big wad of problems for her. Her family is made up of a bunch of men who seem to have lost focus, one way or the other; and as if it is enough of a problem being a backbone to this kind of kin, she has her incomprehensible colleague, Yoo Gwan Pil.

Minor distraction: Young Jin sucks at Minesweeper.

Gwan Pil has some nanny problems, and his VERY strong-willed daughter is not going to just sit at home and mope, like any curious child she wanders around to find her dad.
Being a single dad is one of the more fascinating layers that we see through our resident Emo bodyguard. We learn his weakness is his daughter, though, I still believe we may call Child Services for leaving the child all alone in his house! But then again, this is the same drama that showed an elaborate ninja agent practice (see episode 2) and the same show that puts psychological trauma and the Ryan Atwood (see the abysmal OC) rebellion-syndrome in one category. So, I will cut this part some slack.

Not that I really needed to, because there was Young Jin’s mad house of a family to the rescue.
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I am actually looking forward for more interactions between Young Jin and the little girl. Gwan Pil keeps telling his daughter not to be a woman like Young Jin, but I believe they have a whole lot of similarities. From the strength of character and being daddy’s girls (Young Jin once was), it will be a very interesting dynamic to build upon.
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In one of the great moments in this episode, the little girl relieved to see her father runs to him and breaks down. Gwan Pil’s voice breaks and coughs up a painful sorry as tears streamed down his face. Lee Jong Hyuk shows us a believable affecting Gwan Pil, the actor really makes the character’s dimension awfully close to home. As usual his eyes do the talking for all the clenched emotions of his character.

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We pan to Young Jin watching this moment, for a while she gets lost in it, you just knew it was something familiar that came over her. It was very significant too, because her father was just right behind her as she sadly looks on.

We learn later on that the little girl has not cried since she was a toddler, she grew up learning that every time she cries, people may leave her. When Gwan Pil joined the army, she thought he left because she kept crying, in order to have her father back by her side, she vowed to stop crying.

Young Jin controls her tears when she learns this story. This is one of the elements that I love about this drama; it’s not necessarily just the romance but how the relationships are given to us. The focus on family--- mostly, father-daughter relationships injects a good amount of heart and charm for the shoot-em-up drama. It adds a whole dimension of empathy for me towards the characters and the story.

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Now as much as I empathize with Young Jin and Gwan Pil, I have moments when I really just want to smash my head to the computer screen every time they interact. They have moments of sensitivity ---soft, warm, and filled with connection. You know, in their own brash ways, moments when he would wait for her just to ask if she is okay, “protecting” her to her dismay, riding with him in the bus, sticky wall paper butts, Young Jin demanding water from him… as I said, they have their own way of errr---“warmth”.

But usually they hide this warmth underneath pitting insults at each other or their own impetuous ways. They have a moment of total connection in the bus; they look at each other eye to eye as if speaking to each other. But a few minutes later, the whole scene when she asked him how many meters do they have to stay apart as colleagues… the wall is cemented again. Gwan Pil was trying to grasp for the right words to answer that question. I love how Chae Rim delivered this scene. She looks at him with a mix of intensity and tenderness. As if trying to break down that damn wall our Emo bodyguard has. She waits and waits… alas, no answer. She switches back to her usual hard-edged persona and leaves.

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Really, I just want to reach in and smack this man up his erm---sexykendoteacher head. How many times does Young Jin have to reach out? Every time she tries to break his wall, he freezes or says something completely callous---or you know, stupid. Or she is blissfully unaware of it i.e. how he purposely missing a shot in the final test, how he was chasing her in Episode 6, etc.
I still do believe though, that the characters of Young Jin and Gwan Pil, whether they are romantically involved later on or not remains as the strong fibers of the story. They are the true rivals in the world they live in, comparable in their ways of the gun and their ways on how they choose to live their life.

Both holding on tightly to the walls that shield them, slowly breaking down every time. Like a game of Kendo, you do have to see it eye to eye with your opponent which is what they are doing. Now it would be a shame if that does not transpose into a love story, in my humble opinion, but I am willing to be taken for the ride.

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Especially now that Soo Ho is making his suave moves, joining holy crap---dancing lessons? So where is this triangle taking me? Which brings me to my next review… the Bridget Jones theory.

Episode 6 Review of POWERFUL OPPONENTS- I Trust My Rival
I Trust My Rival
Plus Sword Fights Can Be Sexy!

Episode 6 Review of POWERFUL OPPONENTS

Before I start, I will say the review is Gwang Pil-Young Jin heavy, because the episode IS GP-YJ heavy.

Episode 6 of “Powerful Opponents” for me is all about the rivalry of Young Jin and Gwang Pil. How they are in a way both enemies and each other’s only allies in this game. I do not know if a lot of you will agree with me, but this episode, I believe establishes their solid relationship for the first time. Out of all the episodes this is when we actually get to see their own weaknesses around each other, a point of emotion and reverence for one another despite their constant barrages of insults, well, they are after all… partners. And as much as they may like to deny it---- for the first time, seemingly like genuine friends. Match that with a sexy sword fight, it makes it enjoyable. This will be a great factor as Soo Ho will try to gain Young Jin’s affection. But mostly, this episode is Young Jin and Gwang Pil’s. Which, I keep saying to myself, “HOW COULD I HAVE SKIPPED THIS EPISODE?!” oh life, why must you distract me.

The weave of tonight’s story is all about the dog-eat-dog world of the agent business. The boss, who by the way--- annoys me to death with his glares, his skewed mouth and constant yelling kind of acting, wants Gwang Pil out of the force.

Mr. Dry but Sexy Leading Man has been brash, has gotten himself into trouble and “lied”. Gwang Pil is in a major mess and the powers that be are conspiring to kick the man out. And Young Jin is front and center.

Young Jin, you must understand for episodes in has always seen Gwang Pil as a force of bad luck and a hassle for her. In a real dog-eat-dog competition it is in her best interest to have Gwang Pil out of the force. They are the only real rivals, anyway. They were both at the top of their class and both well-regarded for their strong but very different styles.

The boss coming to her for help knew about this. He knew it was a benefit for her to get rid of Gwang Pil. Having her in to the conspiracy is one good strategy. Young Jin equally as loyal to the force is confused of this sudden situation. Infuse that with her clear detestation for Yoo Gwang Pil, Cha Young Jin could easily have something in her hands.

Gwang Pil lives for his job; his passion is to serve the president … for one reason or another. The man hardly reacts to anything. His jolts of sentiments are all suppressed because of his focus.

His world shatters knowing that he will lose his job--- his life! Of course in true brooding leading man fashion, the man suppresses even more. This guy is like a soda bottle that has been shaken so many times and within each impediment the pressure intensifies. I thought he may be an easier nut to crack open than Young Jin during the first episodes, but I was wrong. He chooses to swallow it all at this point. For years, he has swallowed guilt, carried his woes and looks at the mirror with clear revulsion on his face. He is the calm, cool, and collected one after all.

He comes home to his daughter, “Flower” with a smile. This kid at such a young age knows when her father is in a dilemma. I believe she is also a few steps ahead of her dad, an example: growing suspicious already of his constant stories about the silly and stupid girl named Young Jin. The girl already can sense that his partner may be some competition for her mom.

But he tries to brush it all off at home with a smile. But in the job, he is in his usual detached self, and his target for all this is as usual our hotheaded heroine Young Jin. Even her tactics of finally making Soo Ho work was a problem for him (even though, he seems pretty impressed for the most part). All of this to Young Jin’s frustration.

Chae Rim and Lee Jong Hyuk both act a lot with their penetrating eyes. It is clear to detect the fury and their pain when they had the conversation as rivals outside the base.

Best scene:

But my favorite scene in this whole episode is the intense but sweet Kendo/Kumdo scene.

Gwang Pil was all alone, unleashing his rage as he jabs about with his bamboo sword. His despair was evident with each thrust of his sword, he gave one last cry and with one last strike he destroys his weapon. It was like he is trying to let it all out all the ferocity, the guilt, and the self-hatred.

Then a sudden loud thud comes in, he quickly turns around and he sees Young Jin geared in full Kendo attire with spunk and fire, she invites him for a duel.

He stares at her, tired, slouching, and sweating buckets. His eyes flicker and it was filled with such sad nakedness. The first time I ever saw Gwang Pil show his rather weaker side. She looks at him boldly with an underlying gentleness… as if inviting someone to let it all out, I am here.

Chae Rim is the woman, I tell ya!

I love this scene because I know a few things about Kendo. Kendo is known as a “spirit” sport, it is a common belief that you spar with your partner to unleash your spirits together.

Gwang Pil, tired and heavy-hearted played this with Young-Jin. He unleashed his spirit to Young Jin and in his own little way… opened himself up to her. Trust is there.

This is a sport of reverence, even with your enemy. You open yourself to be vulnerable to your opponent, you yell out in vigor to them as a way of showing yourself. You focus on them as they focus on you. But unlike other sparring sports its aim is not to harm your opponent but rather for them to be a part of you.

It is like a blaring symbolism alert about their relationship!

The love song that accompanied (which is Track 4 in the great soundtrack) the little battle they had was like a dance, their swords in unison and all in frontal attacks. Then they had a moment of just staring intently at each other. Chemistry exploding alert. As usual, Gwang Pil was up for his defenses again and with one slide of his sword, he pushes her away. Young Jin knew it would happen, her eyes still filled with the same gentleness and vulnerability she blurts out her exasperation with him, and she looked at him one last time. With that one last look she gave him, even with her head gear it just jumped to me as such a touching side of her.

Gwang Pil rested in deep thought and his eyes glassy … half-naked… oh damn, sorry distraction.

The next few scenes were one the moments in this drama that for the first time was really romantic. The love story/stories have been a slow brew lately and have been a bit more of a guessing game.

But here we suddenly had points of sudden realization, chasing after someone, accompanied with saccharine background music, flashbacks, and just a surge of giddiness. I would not spoil it as much, but it’s the first time I felt real romantic notions in the way the characters were dealt with by the PD.

Really, I’m a sucker for men who realize they have to get into a desperate sprint to get the woman… especially if you are as dry and brooding as Gwang Pil.

Although, stupid boss kind of cut the fun in my moment. Really, UGH! UGH! That man and his blatant “I am acting as a villain!” kind of acting.

With all that said… it’s still nice seeing a tension-filled Gwang Pil be the damsel in distress and our heroine, Young Jin be the “knight in shining armor”.

And he accepts that. How can you resist a guy who would sneak into the ladies bathroom to give you a hanky for your wet face?

Creepy as it sounds, the writer gave it a rather cute and very natural spin. Gwang Pil finally apologizing and Young Jin giving him a sweet smile after all that, while he continues to keep STARING at her. Even when Young Jin was eating like a construction worker, he stared at her with a huge silly grin on his face. Gwang Pil and smiling is just so out there.

I don’t know about you, but it is pretty clear to me this love angle is established. Hell, even their colleague is shipping them! laugh.gif

But of course, this is a love triangle. Believe it or not I actually loved Soo Ho in this episode; it is like watching him live again. Like a child experiencing his first steps. Lee Jin Wook was SO lovable when he ate the menthol candies the old lady gave him. His eyes were lighting up over a simple menthol candy, it was quite a sentimental scene that I liked.

The scenes showing the focus on the triangle was evident too, the betting scene being one of my favorites. And of course, we end with Soo Ho pursuing Young Jin with a surprise visit. Much to her eye-popping disbelief. With the ending credits just showing the two of them, this could be an indication that their story will be told in the next episode. Their story is in a much slower pace than Gwang Pil and Young Jin’s love/hate relationship.

The constant questions and puzzles were not as brought up in the episode, but it seems like the presidential sister has a key role in all of this. Then, there is also the mystery of Gwang Pil’s daughter. My friend speculated she is not Gwang Pil’s but rather Soo Ho’s… because the kid has double eyelids. (copyright chula) laugh.gif Seriously speaking, if she is Soo Ho’s child what a hit on already disturbed man, knowing if his own flesh and blood was taken away from him… of all people by his one great foe!

My major complaint in this drama is the distraction of the rather cardboard "villains" Mr. Boss and Ms. PR is really not doing them any good... at all. At this moment at least.

But! I really, really enjoyed this episode because of the great establishment of Young Jin and Gwang Pil’s relationship. Chae Rim and Lee Jong Hyuk showed the conflict of emotions that were apparent in the “rivals” Gwang Pil and Young Jin. Like a game of Kendo, they may be opponents but they are willing to be open and vulnerable to each other. They revere one another even in their opposing sides. They value each other, no matter how much they would deny it but would they be open enough to share actual feelings of love for each other? Or would this just be a red herring for another love rival with Soo Ho? I personally am rooting for Gwang Pil just for that intense Kendo scene alone, but I am willing to be taken for the whole ride through. This is my favorite episode so far, because of its very subtle but poignant story of clear rivals who are more than meets the eye.


Then She Found Me- Episode 5 Powerful Opponents Review
Won Bin
Then She Found Me
Episode 5 Powerful Opponents Review

Tonight’s episode the drama establishes that Gwang Pil is capable of smiling… Yes, I am serious.

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Just when his eyes light up and his lines crease in happiness… it was like a whole different person walked into the room. All because of one little charmer geared with a backpack … the little girl who seems to give a burst of sunshine and endless chuckles into the story, but at the same time unveiling certain mysteries that builds us into this whole new plot-arc and a bit of a curveball.
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Gwang Pil’s smile says a lot about this episode … with enough comedy, tinges of romance, and drama … not to mention, character deconstructing and never ending questions to keep us wracking our brains out, “Powerful Opponents” yet again realizes that it is a romantic comedy first and foremost. Even without the shoot-em-up treatment this episode shows us its magic.

We start off feeling for Young Jin… the girl has enough problems in her life. Being a super agent working for the Blue House, having her higher ups always breathing down her neck, her silly family always getting themselves into trouble and debt, having to do an interrogation with the sleazy gangster… and then her silly family’s rather romantic notions and reactions to their hero, Gwang Pil.

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Chae Rim’s facial expressions and the family’s constant questions and cajoling were enough to keep me in stitches. Add all this with Gwang Pil’s still very deadpan and extremely formal ways makes the best out of the rather awkward situation.

Watching the stark difference at how Young Jin and Gwang Pil deals with every circumstance pushed to them is one of the key factors of the comedy in here. Right when Chief Mr. Hulk (Robbers shout-out!) was interrogating the perverted thug, he decides to pound the table … almost to smithereens.

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Young Jin sits there her eyes about to pop out and Gwang Pil hardly budges… he doesn’t even blink.

Yet, he sees through Young Jin’s frustration, emotional aggression, and controlled tears. I was quite surprised that so early in the episode they already gave us a taste of poignancy.

Chae Rim as usual, played the headstrong heroine with enough believability but at the same time, she brings us a girl who has lost face, her emotional frailty emerges again, but building her defenses as quick as possible before he can look even further. Her anger may seem piercing but there is something from the way her eyes seem to plead to the sudden break in her voice.

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Gwang Pil on the other hand, looked at her not in his usual cold exterior or dry manner, but something with concern… heartfelt almost. But like her, he builds a wall as soon as he can. Quickly, falling into angry tirades with her. Lee Jong Hyuk throughout, nailed it with yet again a nuanced performance. I like how hjkomo kind of compared the layers of his character to the way Jang Hyuk attacked his character in “Robbers”. Really, I was no fan of LJH before all this, but the way he just uses this seductive kind of subtlety just pulls me into his mysterious character. *I* would like to smash into Gwang Pil’s walls.

I’ll be popping my champagne once this two will have their share of wall smashing.

But here they are busy with their bickering, not realizing they left Soo Ho … forgetting the stakes of their job.

In this episode, Soo Ho is more conflicted, however, there are times when he still seems whiney rather than a deranged individual (which I think is what the writer is aiming for), but it was still better than the campy way they wrote him back in the earlier episodes.

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He seems to be completely fascinated with Young Jin even studying her old album and giving into moments of interaction with her. I think he seems a bit close to being mildly infatuated with her. The potential for the triangle is still being built upon, but so far their interactions are not as in-depth as Gwang Pil and Young Jin’s, so it is a bit hard to judge his place in this drama in terms of a love interest.

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Lee Jin Wook shines in the scenes when his angst treads on him, when he suddenly talked about his anguish to his sister, he was near-silent but it was effective. His sister silently breaking down with him made the scene more moving. Plus, just with their hidden cries, it’s like you just continuously ask yourself why all this damage. One of the questions that I seem to ask in this drama as I keep watching.

The tension between Gwang Pil and Soo Ho is like a searing knife as I watched them in the family dinner. It was like watching Gwang Pil shrivel up in front of them, and Soo Ho just filled with so much intense hatred for the man who sat across the table. Lee Jong Hyuk, I can feel him just feel so small as he ate that bowl of rice, it’s like I felt being watched and magnified like so… with ten times the hatred put upon me. I felt like choking on my own meal when I watched the tension cut in once more.

Yet, we are driven about this story about two good friends who became this bitter rivals because of this certain woman in their past.

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Soo Ho goes into moments of turmoil hearing a shrill violin tune. The face of the woman haunting him ‘til this day.

While, Gwang Pil has a daughter, who played the violin and of course, possesses a photograph of that same woman.

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This kid is just adorable and very beautiful … she comes in with wit, spunk, and charm as she meets Young Jin. She seems to take after Gwang Pil’s rather straightforward ways, even enough to call our Young Jin the ajumma!

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The most memorable scenes in this episode is between Chae Rim the chopsticks killer and the kid, so definitely watch out for that.

The daughter may be an adorable addition, but she opens up jolts of mystery yet again into this whole story. I mean is it really as face value as Gwang Pil stole Soo Ho’s girlfriend and had a baby with her? Is this why Soo Ho is disturbed? I personally do not think so.

One of the themes in the story is the father-daughter relationship parallels between Gwang Pil and his daughter, who seem at bliss with family life. And Young Jin and her father, who once were like that but something damaged their relationship. This is one of the prime things that I believe the story will delve upon, and I am glad they are going to becuase I believe these relationships will push the characters to certain arcs. Young Jin should see her old self in the daughter, it seems like she was once a daddy's girl. This could effect her relationship with Gwang Pil.

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And another theme is the romance. All in the name of rivals. Young Jin and Gwang Pil’s story seems to be the usual love/hate scenario, the rivals, but what is so endearing about them is you watch them reach certain levels of their relationship, cracking a real smile out of Gwang Pil as they played around with the sticky wallpaper glue shows that he really only gets out of his element because of two people… his daughter and now Young Jin.
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Now, Soo Ho acted more like a bystander this time who calculated his moves. The guy may be insane in the membrane but he can tell when there is obvious flirting. So he plans his next attack and it seems like another rivalry may be brewing.

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One of the good things about the triangle is, I absolutely have no farkin’ clue where it can be leading us. And that makes it exhilarating to watch.

So far, Soo Ho’s character’s motivation is blurring my lines of real empathy. There are moments when I totally feel for him but his cliché ridden vengeance kind of actions makes me feel frustrated yet again with the character. I really hope they are taking us somewhere substantial with this character’s motivations.

We end the episode with a lot of questions in mind as layers of mysteries are painted on once again. It almost feels like I’m back to square one. Which is actually a good thing. Deconstructing the characters here is not easy, but the more questions I ask, the more I get drawn in. It is a breath of fresh air to see that TPTB knows that their strength is not to make the best action-packed story, but to tell us A STORY with characters that I am coming to be really invested on. Just as long as they keep this, they are on the right path. Depth and fun does not come easy these days. 

POWERFUL OPPONENTS Episode 4-The Triangle in the midst of Bad PR Nightmares
The Triangle in the midst of Bad PR Nightmares

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There are good things and bad things about tonight’s episode. The good thing? Our main characters are starting to act more human, especially with our resident rebel Soo Ho’s side. No over-the-top contrived and trite plot directions (yay! No motorcycle!) only total interactions between our three leads. Not to mention that all three of them actually moved forward as protagonists in the screenplay. The three leads also shined in their own moments during the episode… so what’s so bad about it? We introduce her:

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The media person. The doctor of all PR nightmares with a flashy smile. And I’m already seeing her role from a mile away, the token female villain … without her guns--- she uses her bitchiness, constant eyebrow raising, rolling eyes, and fluttering eyelashes to get what she wants. And I think I’ve seen it in several dramas already in 2004. Well, I do hope I am wrong.

She seems like a mere distraction at this point, but the winning formula comes as the triangle finally forms.

We start in another action packed scene that did not go minutes too long and for the first time, seemingly very essential to the plot. We see a glimpse of all three characters and their turmoil.

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Young Jin even at the almost brink of death still acts mostly nonchalant about what just happened. I guess almost being strangled to death by a sumo-like man would not do it for her.

Young Jin’s emotions seem to be covered mostly in quick paces as we have seen in the past episodes. She makes her fists talk for her, she cries for a little while but spends most of her time wiping her tears before it could even fall, and she goes on verbal outbursts. I have not seen her really linger in her emotions; I think the two men had more time for that than her. It says a whole lot about her character and the way she faces these emotions.

Her family life also is a mystery; it seems to me that it is almost looking at a bare place, with ruins, remnants, and mementos that once reminds us that it was once a happy place and a blissful family… not this never-ending dilemma.

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Chae Rim brings in a great mix of an endearing quality to Young Jin and at the same time very shielded self too. Right when you feel you are getting to her i.e. the moment when she had a flashback, or holding to her new shoes just as examples. With all these scenes, I am pulled in the she suddenly blinks it all away. In one second, she builds a sudden wall. She manages to have the whirl of sentiment at one moment then it’s like she goes… uh-oh, don’t come nearer, and it all brings us back to the quick-paced Ms.Young Jin.

Gwang Pil, on the other hand shows he is not quite mechanical or dry as we may think. Lee Jong Hyuk brilliantly plays him with a touch of intensity. He seems to carry a heavy heart, with his sad eyes, and his moments of deep thought. He is often in his straight element as if always on duty, with a heavy hold on that duty he must do. And yet, he is someone who cannot even stand looking at himself in the mirror.
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In this scene, may I say the Presidential SISTER, did so great evoking her silent anger towards Gwang Pil. There are no small roles... just small actors. I believe that is so true.

But he does goes out of his usual dry, dutiful, and somber persona over two things. One, the mysterious caller who brings a smile to his face… and then, there is Young Jin.

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He steals glances from her, which he seems to tell himself is with reason. Oh she’s yawning. Oh she’s injured, she’s being stupid. Oh she’s foolish. But he keeps doing it anyway.

Oh such a cute scene when she plops herself on the table and looked at him eye-to-eye joking around with him if he may be attracted to her. He tries to push her head away but later on, he steals another glance. Gwang Pil and Young Jin will be doing a lot of wall smashing because both of them are just too walled in and afraid of emotions.

Then there is the blue house resident, Soo Ho, some of you may have noticed I haven’t been giving him much love due to his characterization but this time he seemed more human than a writer’s fantasy.

He is actually very vulnerable… physically and even to an extent, his heart; there is something more open about him. The concern given to him by his family, the doctors, and Gwang Pil makes me think there is something really wrong with him.

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His show of concern towards Young Jin showed that there is a heart there somewhere. His soft spot for her is charming, almost like someone reverting back to a shy high school boy… I always described him as a high school boy, but this time there is something fascinating about it.

Even his intense interactions with Gwang Pil are not in his usual violent and brash manner, he even opened up to Young Jin in his own odd way.

Lee Jin Wook shined in most of his scenes today, without the cheesy concept of a character, the guy gets to work on something and gives quite a fascinating side to Soo Ho’s character. My actual favorite scenes of his were when he refused the drink of water, and later on took it and when he listened to Gwang Pil in the convenience store… we saw quite a different side to his character there, when he puts down his campy bad boy façade, there seems to be quite a soft heart in there.
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Seeing him and Lee Jong Hyuk together makes me realize that this drama sure has a share of sexy men. Haha.

Though, the plot tonight mostly revolved around fixing the PR nightmare by doing volunteer work… of course with the bodyguards doing the volunteering while Soo Ho kind of sits around, there were a lot of bases covered in terms of character but above else, the triangle is already built on.

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I do have my qualms with the new character that is introduced… first off, I do not like her perky (plastic, no pun intended) portrayal, she is also not intimidating enough to be opposite of Chae Rim, but there are still more episodes to go. I notice these kinds of characters always come in Episode 4 for some odd reason, I just hope they do not go so cliché and stereotypical with this character. Enough with cardboard characters!

So, the episode ends with a quite sexy fight scene, with Gwang Pil showing major concern towards Young Jin. I just want to sing “Secreeet Ageeeent Mannnn!”
And so, the plot thickens.

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In this episode nothing much occurred in terms of a whole lot of plot direction, it’s all based on the “three’s company” that was suddenly established. I do like that this time they got rid of the silly circumstances and just told a story, this more subdued and character-based episode is a welcome change once in a while in a shoot ‘em up romance. So the love triangle finally forms, these two men who always seem to be rivals in the matters of the heart… will they “tame” the shrew with the heart? ‘Til next episode.

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Shallow note:

Chae Rim looks really pretty with her hair down, I hope they give Young Jin a chance to doll it up at least for one episode, would be fun,eh? Maybe in a ball or something.

And erm... shower scene, yay!

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POWERFUL OPPONENTS Episode 3: The 27 Year Old Kid
 Episode 3: The 27 Year Old Kid

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In my past reviews, I have said earlier on that I cannot comprehend Soo Ho, our resident bad boy in this drama. He is the handsome president’s son who has deeply ingrained anguish. He remains to be a puzzle we are slowly piecing. The character has a lot of potential to be a very deeply-engaging one. But so far, he is written to be mostly campy and borderline one-dimensional. Lee Jin Wook, a charming and capable of an actor isn’t given with much to work on or chew on . This characterization is the main problem area in Episode 3. This is not a strong episode. I won’t call it an all out bad character layout; he does have his redeeming moments, if only he is fleshed out a bit more than just a writer’s caricature. But the redeeming moments of Soo Ho is what I cling to bit by bit.

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Today’s episode starts with another action-packed scene that goes on for a few minutes too long again. I do not know if this will be a standard opening for the drama but I feel like they could edit a few parts of their stunts and badadadada action scenes, heh. Maybe it’s a testosterone drive thing? This is a shoot-em-up romance after all. BUT I believe toning it down a notch or two wouldn’t hurt the pacing of the drama.

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So, we watch Gwang Pil and Young Jin have this crazy car chase with daredevil Soo Ho who can breeze through stairs with his Evil Knievel stunts. Only later to find him eating in a noodle house. Hardcore.

Boxing. Check. Random motorcycle stunts. Check. Sexy, ruffled hair. Check. Naughty smile. Check. Quintessential bad boy, all around. But it’s just not getting to me, or striking some sort of chord, it is hard to relate to nor does it come across as fascinating. It does not even come off as entertaining fare at times. It’s also not despicable enough… it’s just mildly annoying like your kid brother.

Part of the reason is--- we do know he is 27 years-old. He isn’t that much younger than Gwang Pil and Young Jin but he acts like a high school boy who is breaking his mom’s curfew. So we spend most of the episode like Young Jin and Gwang Pil--- dealing with him.

He spends most of his sweet time in the episode trying to get rid of the two bodyguards assigned to him. Like a true test, he focuses his attention to getting rid of Young Jin. The “weaker” one of the two. He calls her in wee hours of the morning to give her a dose of what he’s good at … become the biggest problem you can have.

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He seems to show some sort of attraction to Young Jin, completely drawn to her little organizer and taunting her by inching close to her face.

Their love angle is still a bit of a slow brew, they do look good together and there is much potential for a bad boy meeting a strong-willed woman. Since bad boys if done right can be the ones we are drawn to like a moth to a flame. Hell, he can be our Mr.Wickham if only he grows up.

The whole pace of the episode is not as crisp and well-paced as the past two. The real character developments did not come in until more than 30 minutes into the episode. The humor wasn’t as charming as the previous ones. There were even some borderline silly moments that seem to be not intended…, the huge burly man chase is totally laughable right now.


With all my rants, this whole angle isn’t that bad. Soo Ho’s character may not be such a caricature after all; Lee Jin Wook gives us glimpses of his character’s complexity. He did show force and then later, understated vulnerability when Young Jin finally unleashed her frustrations and spilled her emotions.
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Chae Rim (THANK YOU!) really keeps you sane when you are watching, it’s like you realize that with all the silliness there is something potentially remarkable amid all this. She is like the constant reminder of that. Her great control in that scene gave me quite an affecting tug.

Actually the episode wasn’t void of emotion, poignancy and even bouts of humor; the little scenes in the episode kind of calmed in terms of expectations in the drama.

1.) The scene when Young Jin’s father holds on to her little shoe, with a sense of guilt and great love for his daughter. I actually really like his character, despite the fact that he often gets himself into trouble and seems to be satisfied by being a washed out dance instructor, the character is easy to love.

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2.) The constant battle of the wits… or is it just a huge amount of bottled up sexual tension between Darcy and Bridget…err… Gwang Pil and Young Jin. Contrasting in their techniques, wants, and abilities… their chemistry seems to be one of the main draws in the drama.

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Gwang Pil is so far removed from being your typical leading man, he seems to not possess any sort of sensitivity chip when it comes to Young Jin, and she sees him as one of her major dilemmas. He’s unexciting and mechanical. She’s feisty and filled with emotions---but they just work. He’s far from a romantic but when I catch him just sneaking a quick glance at Young Jin, I squee.

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Now, Lee Jong Hyuk is not someone I thought I’d ever really like as a leading man or someone I’d really swoon over. I still had flashbacks of Green Rose when I heard he was going to be in this.

But he is just showing his brilliance in this role, he’s got great nuances. In Episode 1, when he watched Young Jin sit there on the steps and cry, we see just a slight change in the way he looked at her… a minor flicker of the eyes but it just changed the whole mood of the scene already. Same goes for his stares at Young Jin in tonight's episode.

And OHMYGAWD, he looks great shirtless… and uhm, he showed real good drama in this scene, but I was too distracted that he was shirtless and just posing like that!

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Chae Rim (haha! how many times do I have to say I love her) who is showing immense emotional complexity and at the same time, an endearing kind of comedy really brings a good acting match for him.

3.) The final scene. though, I hated the fact that I thought I was being transported to “The Ring” with the whole cheesy, fuzzy TV effect (which I hope they wouldn’t do again… ever), it still had a very strong ending, keeping us on the edge.

The mystery of Soo Ho’s actions may have a deeper meaning to it, or at least I hope so.

When he suddenly heard the violins in his head… what is this all about? What is it that happened to him? What is wrong with him? I am inclined to believe the accident may have affected him mentally, maybe that is part of the reason he is acting like that.

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His character isn’t beyond redemption; when he shows actual moments that are spirited with emotion rather than a writer’s caricature, he gives me hope.

Overall, even with a few disappointments in the episode, it still redeemed itself. I just hope the writer and the PD remembers that they are handling a romantic-comedy first and foremost. That was their charm in Episode 1. The drama did not pretend to be something that it is not. Its charm is in its heroine and how she reacts to her surroundings and the character interactions. The story is slowly unfolding, I just hope that it really isn’t a 27 year old kid we are dealing with but someone who has anguish not tantrums… someone who will be a real character and not just an archetype.

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And this scene in the preview is too adorable:

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POWERFUL OPPONENTS Ep 2: Comedic Klutzes and Tragic Scars
 Episode 2 Review: Comedic Klutzes and Tragic Scars

Tonight’s episode is a more in-depth look at the characters and their inner struggles. Strong in its comedic aspects but never loses touch of its strong potential depth, Episode 2 delivers. Though, a little problematic with some of the characterizations, it still delivers a solid and engaging--- most of all, unexpectedly relatable story.

It starts off by getting your adrenaline quite pumped, action-filled mission, with loud bullets firing and ricocheting all over the place. Dead bodies fallen to the ground. Men after men taking shots to their chests. And I sat there going--- Wow! This is one real elaborate set-up. Overkill much? It was ridiculous and farfetched.

Where the hell are those SWAT ninjas coming from? How many baddies are they shooting? Why is the music being all “Die Hard” on me! Then, the moment Young Jin busts out a walkie-talkie on her own version of “gun-point”. What a shootout, and in that moment…

I lost it. I’ll let you figure out what happens afterwards.

I do understand that there would be some hesitation seeing Chae Rim as some bad arse agent with classic Ray Bans on, but I think this is one of the reasons why Young Jin’s character remains fascinating. There’s always a sense of comedy as she babbles on, walking around with her ponytail trying to catch up with burly agents towering over her.

She is hardly portrayed as someone who is faultless and ferocious in her tasks as much as Young Jin would like to think so… sorry, but not really. Her extreme hotheadedness, her awkward interactions, and her cheerful child-like smile every time she accomplishes something are things that bring us a very unique and captivating character. Chae Rim does not have to be Michelle Rodriguez to pull off such a role.

And this kind of temperamental shrew with a big heart is a great match to Gwang Pil’s very dry and straight-laced character. She’s all about yelping out. He’s all as-a-matter-of-fact speech. It’s like seeing Darcy and Bridget Jones with edgier DNA… and well, guns.

I have to admit the chemistry is sizzling; one of the scenes when they were pounding each other on the locker builds a lot of tension… good and bad, which makes it sexy as hell.

So here is Young Jin our heroine who has enough problems working with such a sexist and sardonic guy. Plus, she’s also trying to prove herself in the field she’s in. Her other ordeal is she also has to sort out her family life.

She deals with her dropout brother, her grandfather the gambler, and her father… whose life is all about dancing to Marc Anthony in his pink shirt, all while being the poster boy of a new breed of an ajumma killer.

Young Jin often shows her frustration with her family, if you notice most of her interactions with them are out of irritation. But deep inside her she has an Achilles’ heel for them. She does love them and it shows. Nothing says I love you like getting rid of the roaches in the dishes, or miraculously cleaning the despicable bathroom, or cooking their meals, or simply throwing her brother’s anime books. I do see a token breakdown scene coming on once she gets completely fed up, I wonder why the family seems oblivious of the damage that they are having?

We flesh out Young Jin’s character in this episode, a bit of a klutz, sassy, and at the same time shrewish, all these with a big heart she often hides. Most of her character points in this episode were all about comedy, which Chae Rim is very good at. Her kind of comedy is filled with subtlety. It’s with the way she delivers the lines, her meek reactions and most of all her timing that makes her scenes work. I’ll say it again she is pretty much owning this drama, making me believe all of this. Even though she’s a bit little she really is this clumsy and lovable agent named Cha Young Jin.

However, the biggest draw for Episode 2 is not in its rather comic ways but in the more “tragic” realm of things. It is really a mystery how Gwang Pil and the President are related. What was that manly hug all about? And what is Soo Ho’s angst all about? What is the history between Gwang Pil and Soo Ho? What is theaccident all about? Why does everyone but the president despise him?

Soo Ho is right now still a bit sketchy for me in terms of character, he’s the archetype bad boy, but it seems a bit off because I keep asking myself how old is this guy? Some of his antics, like the cliché switcha-roo of clothes in the hospital comes off as juvenile rather than a real intimidating or a destructive act. They also treat him like a kid most of the time.

His first meeting with Young Jin was filled with recklessness and blasé kind of arrogance, but it was almost like she is baby sitting him. Only thing that really saved this scene was when clueless Young Jin was berating the President!

There is a more redeeming aspect in this characterization, though. Soo Ho emerges later on as a deeper character when he finally sees Gwang Pil face to face after all these years. Both Lee Jin Wook and Lee Jong Hyuk were both excellent in this scene. Lee Jin Wook as I expected portrayed the more angst-ridden scenes with more emotion, and Lee Jong Hyuk’s dark eyes did not only speak for him, but screamed it all out for him.

I am still on the fence about Soo Ho, I may speculate that Gwang Pil has done something more. The scars are deeper than what we see all along. I find it odd that a twenty-something guy is acting like he’s in high school, his experiences with Gwang Pil may have caused something for him to act like so or even push him under these circumstances. I just wish the director doesn’t go too campy on this bad boy archetype, a little bit of subtlety may help with this guy’s characterization.

Despite my slight complaints on the character layout, the episode still delivered and entertained. Let me just say the little graphics and the opening credits in the middle really hypes me up and sets me in the mood for the story. The drama has the right ingredients of a good cast (ZOMG Mr. Hulk from Robbers!), a well-paced story, humor, and wit. But it’s not just your typical popcorn fare, what I like about this is I am discovering a story about three underdogs, three people who have to overcome their inner struggles that will develop into a very intriguing love triangle. So far, Chae Rim and Lee Jong Hyuk have exploding chemistry, but we have yet to see Soo Ho and Young Jin have some development. So far the right combination of tongue-and-cheek fun and at the same time possessing great meaning is what makes “Powerful Opponents” really stand out.

A Charming Shoot 'Em Up: Powerful Opponents Impresses!
A Charming Shoot 'Em Up?

I did not really know what to expect with this drama, I was initially drawn to it because Chae Rim who is known for choosing great projects is starring in it. I did have my doubts, though. Action-packed shoot ‘em up mixed with a love triangle? I have seen quite a few movies recently (You Got Me, Fool’s Gold even to an extent Mr. & Mrs. Smith) that failed in making this whole romancing the action hero charming, oftentimes it just comes off well either contrived or awkward. With all my doubts at hand, within one episode “Powerful Opponents” was neither contrived nor awkward… well, so far it is quite charming and incredibly endearing. Even with the punches of humor in the story, it is not fluffy. The drama already shows enough spirit and depth as it slowly unravels each character we may come to love and hate. All this carried by a very captivating heroine played by Chae Rim.

Of course, first episodes are always an introduction. What I like about K-dramas is they never just spill out the characters for us, we discover them as they also discover each other. Like little mysteries we still got to piece out.

We start off by meeting the President’s son played by the handsome, Lee Jin Wook. Here he is the oh-so-rebellious motorcycle riding, black market boxing and family-hating bad boy. I thought the initial scenes were borderline campy, which could have been done on purpose, I wasn’t a huge fan of the treatment. Almost a bit too obvious, I could be reading the writer’s handbook of the “basic character layout of a bad boy”.

HOWEVER---The whole treatment of such character is redeemed later on, when we see him on his bed---completely angst-ridden and in a way with a sense of self-hatred.

I’d rather they do this more “angsty” character than the extremely in-your-face bad boy. I see great potential in LJW in scenes that would require him to be more nuanced. Yet, how can I really judge right? The character is a complete mystery. All we know is he’s reckless and has (what seems like) deep-rooted issues with his presidential family. Though, the first twelve minutes was all about him, we hardly see him in the next scenes as we are later introduced with the main agents. The rivals.

In the first episode, the title “Powerful Opponents”/ “Rivals” seem to be directed to the relationship between these two young agents in the academy who seem at odds from the very beginning.

Young Jin played by Chae Rim looks quite delicate and feminine with her puppy dog eyes and cute face, but looks fool ya. She is really such a bad @ss!

The only female in the team she leaves a lot of the men hang to dry with her fervor, skills and strength. She’s also incredibly boisterous and arrogant about it. You know when people in a disadvantage usually have to work two to three times harder than the rest? She has this kind of pull to her, and she brings it in every aspect of her job and training. She is loud about it too.

Some men seem intimidated by such a woman; some just really do see her as that--- a woman. You cannot hit a woman, right? Especially someone as pretty as that, right? Not to this stern and silent classmate of hers, Gwang Pil played by Lee Jong Hyuk in what seems like his first leading man sort of role. Gwang Pil seems to sneer at Young Jin’s antics. His eyebrows always in an angry arch, his stoic face, and deadpan stare only says one thing--- he sees through her haughtiness and flair. He is more on the technical and more in the rather serious side.

Their first fight scene was accompanied with a tango; oh the battle of all passionate dances… I knew I was in for a different kind of action packed- romance.

The director never forgets that they are handling a romantic comedy first and foremost, even in the most action-packed training sequences it is treated in a light manner. The music is sweet and uppity during the training scenes. The editing of such scenes was seamless as we watch we are also building rapport with the characters. Simple scenes come out endearing and some weird way romantic, from who gets to walk first or the ways with the gun. The drama does not get all contrived on us and pretend like we’re in the latest blasting Michael Bay film.

In each scene we laugh at the rivalry antics of Gwang Pil and Young Jin, who seem to battle it out from sit ups to well---eating lunch.

But do not underestimate this as just a fluffy romance comedy with a few gunshots here and there, what made me root for this drama was within the time we actually see our aggressive heroine’s frailty. There is a fundamental depth in what seems like a simple concept of a would-be-love story.

Young Jin’s heart and drive seems to be for her family of scrubs and deadbeats who would rather gamble their lives away. Brought up in an all male household, Young Jin stands as the only woman and the only breadwinner. They do love her and understand her, but the appreciation is just lacking.

One of the most pivotal scenes in the episode was when Young Jin confronts her brother over his dealings, the usually cool and bad @ss of a heroine loses herself in her anger and sadness. Underneath her tough exterior, we find a woman whose heart is broken over and over ironically, because of the people who are closest to her heart.

Within minutes… no even seconds, Chae Rim crumbles in front of us, such intensity and frailty brought out at the same time. She is just so relatable in these little moments. I like this heroine already; I hope she is as complex as this. I hope it won’t be a fluke.

Gwang Pil’s story is as much as a mystery, in a lot of ways he is the same with Young Jin completely immersed in his job and training. Completely fervent. Without his family’s backing, but unlike her he seems to be satisfied with his situation.

The mix of their clashing personalities and similar goals is what makes their chemistry work. They are so different but also a lot alike. It's like they both hate each other but they respect each other.

Gwang Pil is hard to read, even at the times when Young Jin seems to soften up with him he seems still as deadpan as ever. But with all that said, their scenes are still oddly swoon-worthy, even when the leading man's character is just so wry!

We like saw him smile… once… or was that an arched lip? With that said, I am not quite sure if I am completely rooting for him. There is so much potential in this love triangle, I really hope we will be as confused as Young Jin with the two men. It seems that both leading men do have a cold and bad boy exterior, both of them are going to clash with the hotheaded heroine and for sure, we will be going topsy-turvy with this romance.

But the best thing about this whole episode still is with Chae Rim. Young Jin’s last sequence in the graduation as she sadly looks at the empty chairs, wondering where her family is … then, she controls her tears and stands firm there. She screams her lungs out. It was both a funny and a heart-breaking sequence. Just in the little break of her voice and weak smile, she already tells us her story. They picked an amazing actress to portray an already endearing heroine.

So my verdict? They already passed the first test… that is to make a shoot ‘em up romance charming. All thanks to a great heroine to pull it all off. I also love the editing of the sequences that make everything fast paced and almost every scene vital. I also love the opening credits and the little graphics that go with each episode. Their next test is the revelation and the layering of each character and to keep this momentum. So far, this drama has gotten me. I’m all in.