Friday, September 12, 2014

Initial Thoughts On Blade Man Episode 1 & 2 - Unexpected and Entertaining

Oh, "Blade Man" (previously known by the title "Iron Man") how you entertain me.  So much to say, (some of it actually complimentary which is unexpected) so much to mock and question "what the fudge?"  I am not sure if I will actually be recapping this drama (Rain's big comeback starts next week, so there is stiff competition for my recapping attention), but I at least wanted to put some of the many thoughts I had while watching this drama, to paper (or whatever the online equivalent of paper is).  Who knows, this show might engage my creative juices, even though I am still predicting an epic crash and burn situation.  But just imagine the literary bonfire it could create.  It might even provide a better mocking recap than Gap Dong, and Gap Dong was pretty epically mocked. 
I will admit that I started watching Blade Man simply to see how bad it was.  How can I pass up the opportunity to watch a drama where the man literally has blades growing from his body.  Simply consider all of the questions this abnormal feature brings forward.  Where do the blades come from?  Is this a hereditary problem (judging from his father and the actions of his butler I would not be surprised) or just a special one time thing?  How does he not know that he is having fits of rage that result in the springing forth of swords?  And most importantly, Why is he so angry? 

 Let's start off with a recap of our characters.
Joo Hong-Bin (Lee Dong Wook - Hotel King) is our leading man and VERY VERY VERY angry.  "Why is he angry" you might ask?  Hmmmm I am not sure if we get a really good reason for his anger issues.  He does have a cold, controlling, jerk of a father (but so do 90% of all kdrama leading men).  His girlfriend was poor and left him because of his father, but really I was expecting at least a murder/accidental death of so said girlfriend, to be the reason for his anger. Nope, she was alive and having his child in America (since the child is now alone in Korea, I can only assume that she is now dead) so that can't really be the reason.  From what I can tell so far, the only reason for his extreme anger is a jerk father and a feeling of entitlement.  You might be asking again "Kmuse, what makes him different from every other jerk Chaebol in a kdrama?"  The extremeness of his anger is what makes him different.  He not only is angry, but literally beats, destroys, decimates, anything or anyone in his way when he loses his temper.  It was at such a level of abuse that I winced when he was chucking computers and other office items at his two employees when they did not meet his standards.  It went way past the line of funny to very uncomfortable. 
Let's take a break from the unfortunate subject of his abuse and focus instead on all the quirks the writers decided to give him.  I have this image of a bunch of writers trying to figure out what super powers to bestow upon our hero?  Then when they got to the end of the day and were still debating, they just said screw it... lets put them in a bowl and whatever we pull out is what we will go with.  Seriously, I am pretty sure that is how it went.  Either that or they were really really drunk.  
Let's tick them off.  Most obvious of course are the bounteous swords that come out of his body when he gets angry (or more importantly, when he tries to control his anger and not physically beat anything).  Second is the ability to create rainstorms and cause electrical power outages.  Why?   How does this at all relate to the swords and how does he not notice that this happens every time he loses his temper.  Finally we come to the oddest ability of all, Hong Bin has a super sniffer.  Yup, he can smell everything even if it is far away and this of course causes him massive anger.  Anger at the maids for using the wrong detergent, anger at his staff for using too much cologne, anger at the housekeeper for having spoiled marmalade in the fridge. How can a poor man focus when he has to get angry about so many things. 
Luckily there is one person who does not send his super sniffer into a tizzy.   Our poor plucky heroine (of course she must be poor and plucky, for what good kdrama superhero story would write it otherwise.) has the magical scent (maybe her shampoo) that does not make our angry hero, well, angry.  Son Se Dong (Shin Se Kyung - Fashion King) is the catnip to Hong Bin's cat and it cracks me up when he goes into a kind of serene trance anytime she  is nearby (check out the below picture and understand that Hong Bin is standing there sniffing her essence.  Se Dong of course thinks he is some kind of sniffing pervert.  
Se Dong is not just any random good smelling female.  She is also part of a team which designed a game that was bought/stolen by Hong Bin's company.  One of the co-creators of the game sold it out from under the rest of his group and ran off to America with the money.  Se Dong being the leader of the remaining geek brigade goes to Hong Bin's workplace to demand that he hire them to finish up the game.  Lots of cute arguing happens between the two, but the issue about the game remains unresolved.  Unfortunately for Se Dong, the Geek Brigade got drunk and decided to take justice into their own hands.  Spray painting a clever design and the words thief on Hong Bin's imported stone wall, they were all arrested and it is up to Se Dong to come up with the money to pay restitution.  This forces Se Dong to get a job caring for a little boy (Chang) which leads us to the next character in our lineup.
Chang, cute little six year old ball of adorableness.  He is the son of Hong Bin and ex-girlfriend who fled to America.  Abandoned under unknown circumstances and brought to Korea by a shady neighbor Ahjumma.  He was then abandoned again in the airport by Shady Ahjumma and picked up by Se Dong who had been tracking down her game stealing coworker.  Chang took a shining to Se Dong and when he would not stop crying the police agreed to let her take him home (and later agreed to pay Se Dong if she became his caregiver while they searched for Chang's guardians).  Only in Korea will they let some random stranger off the street take home a perfectly good little kid with no background checks.  I am totally having a face palm moment at this plot twist.  I foresee this being the driving force between Se Dong and Hong Bin's relationship.  Not only will Se Dong have to cure Hong Bin's "anger issues" but will also  forge a bond between father and son, support the Geek Brigade, battle Hong Bin's evil father, and manage to not stab herself on her future boyfriend's swordy back during any back hugs that may occur.  That is going to be one busy heroine. 
I saved my favorite character for last!  The super talented, ever sexy, khottie of all khotties, Secretary Ko!  Or as I will call him in the future (if I actually end up recapping this of course) Secretary Studly.  He is AWESOME!  Not only does Secretary Studly handle Hong Bin and his anger related rampages with a delicate touch, he is efficient (ordering new equipment to replace everything his boss breaks), has the reflexes of a ninja (seriously he is either a ninja or an alien with superpowers of his own.....I am not putting anything past these writers), and somehow hides his boss's sword sprouting secret from everyone........including his boss.  How Secretary Studly manages to keep that secret a secret is beyond me.  I about died laughing when he hefted Hong Bin over his shoulders, running away from a father induced fight, to avoid sword sprouting consequences.  Secretary Ko truly puts all other secretaries to shame. 
Overall Thoughts:
In all its crazy, I actually was highly entertained.  I compare it to a more Manga/Japanese style of drama due to its topic and over the top style.  It was a total shock since, after seeing the trailers and posters, I was expecting a train wreck of epic proportions. But the extreme overacting worked in the context of the story and for once Lee Dong Wook's crazy angry eyes fit the characters storyline.  The extreme expressions actually made me buy  his character more then if they had tried to play this off in a more realistic manor.  

The same can be said of Shin Se Kyung's performance.  Is it overacted to the nth degree?  Yes, but considering I hate Shin Se Kyung's usual acting style, this was a wonderful surprise.  I have hated her past work so much she was even in my top 5 least favorite actress list, one to be avoided if at all possible.  So you can imagine how much better she would have to be for me to praise her.  Is Se Kyung suddenly a great actress?  No, but she is tolerable and works within the premise of the story. 
I loved how innovative the director was in using the fast switches between camera angles and odd framing of characters in the shots.  Their bodies are all falling off the edge of the shots.  It made the show seem fresh and caught my attention.  It was nice to see something different then the boring back and forth between two characters.
That said, I am still kind of expecting things to go down in a ball of flames.  I just don't think that this type of pace can be kept throughout the whole drama and if it sinks into the melo-zone, then all the things I like about it now are going to disappear. So I am hesitant to commit to weekly recaps.  What do you think? Should I go for it and chance a possible disaster, or go with a more safe drama like Rain's upcoming romantic melo?  I am torn.

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