Thoughts on: Resurrection

(LJ 1/8/2008)

Well, I promised to do a more indepth post about the Kdrama Resurrection, so here goes…. And this time I even managed to make some screencaps to go along.

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Spoilerphobes ahoy! What follows will be mildly spoilery.

Here’s is a brief synopsis taken from DramaWiki with few additions of my own.  🙂

Yoo Gang Hyuk was 7 years old when the car he was traveling in with his father was forced of the road. He got out but his father perished. One of the bad guys grew a concience and dropped the hurt and bleeding boy with Suh Jae Soo, a small time gambler with a daughter of the same age. Gang Hyuk had forgotten everything about his past; his name, family and his identical twin, Shin Hyuk and was given the name Suh Ha Eun by Jae Soo thus becoming part of the Suh household. Ha Eun and his his adoptive sister, Eun Ha have a bond from the very beginning and grow to love each other, in more than just platonic way. Neither will admit it though for the longest of while. He grows up a good, caring guy and becomes a cop, in large part because of his father’s badge he had with him during the car crash. So 20 years later, while investigating an alledged suicide, he eventually learns of his family and twin brother. Against the warnings of his peers, Ha Eun becomes more and more involved in this suspicious case. Being tenacious and getting closer and closer to the truth, he’s first framed and then targeted for a hit by someone involved in the case. And when Ha Eun and Shin Hyuk finally meet for the first time after 20 years, the murderers kill Shin Hyuk, mistaking him for Ha Eun. As a result, Ha Eun vows to unearth the truth and make the people responsible pay. He takes on his brother’s identity (not an easy desicion) and that is where the drama kicks off for real.

Resurrection is a story of revenge and one man’s journey into the darkness. The events that started with a suicide case and all the revelations thus have already made Ha Eun vulnerable. So when Shin Hyuk is killed instead of him and he has to watch his brother die, something inside Ha Eun dies too. He litterally goes to pieces and what emerges from the grief is not longer Ha Eun. The need to become Shin Huyk, at least in such a way he can, further advances the change. He also has to ignore those he loves and cares for, to pretend not to know them. Even Eun Ha, the one he loves most. And because she now works in the same company Shin Huyk is a vice president of they see each other all the time. What graudually emerges is The Avenger with a low lit ‘den’ and a wall of villans. In Mawang we met The Avenger when he was already fully formed, a person almost without a soul but here we are shown how the events, the pain, the hatred, the need for revenge and justice in some form change a man in such a way the he himself does not know who he really is. It’s raher fascinating to watch Ha Eun in his ‘avenger’s den’  turning into someone cold, calculating and with dead eyes – the resemblance to ‘Seung Ha’ from Mawang is striking. Gave me the creeps.

Ha Eun, the cop was a thoroughly good person. He could be impulsive and had a bit of a temper but basically he was considerate and caring, always ready to help even petty criminals if he saw some hope in the individual. He was also happy and content at his lot, always smiling and joking. Everyone around him respected and loved him. Too good to be true? Well, I guess as a character Ha Eun is a sort of a cliche but UTW manages to makes him believable and true. So you end up loving him with everyone else. 🙂  As a plot device it makes sense. Even a good person can be changed for the worst by events outside of his/her control and the choices made.

Revenge is a double edged sword and every time you strike it also cuts you. You pay as you go along. And because Ha Eun starts out good it’s even more costly to him. He tries his best to avoid collateral damage so every time his actions hurt an innocent something in him breaks even more. Two of the pawns he deiceds to use as means for the revenge turn out to be nice persons he learns to like. He then tires to get them removed from the play but without success. They are already too involved so have to travel the same road with him, to revelations of their own. There is a point when the pain and guilt get almost too much to bear and he tries to stop but something in him just won’t let go and he has to keep going, to the bitter end.

Resurrection really has only one main character, Ha Eun. He’s the center, the hub where off everything else radiates. With an actor less skilled and charismatic than Uhm Tae Woong the whole thing would probably have become something else than good drama. But UTW is just the right choice to play complex, many sided characters. He has the ability to make us believe in the character he plays and willing to follow where ever the story goes. There are many memorable UTW scenes but one I remember the most is towards the end, when Ha Eun can’t tell the truth about himself to his mother even though he really, really wants to. So he leaves and goes up  to the roof that’s become his point of relief and it looks like his heart is about to burst. He can barely breathe, clutching his chest, face contorted with pain and grief. Holy smoke, I almost stopped breathing myself!

As for the the rest of the cast, it’s good as well with couple of really great performances. I liked some of them more than others. Lee Gang Ju, a crime reporter and a daughter of a family friend whom the original Shin Huyk had decided to marry; the awesome private detective Ha Eun hires and the secretary – a lovely guy, loyal to Shin Huyk/Ha Eun even when he suspects that Shin Huyk is not really Shin Huyk. And one of the baddies, Choi Chan Dong is such a delicious villain wonderfully played by Kim Kyu Chul (the ex cop, office manager in Mawang). Just to name few.

I think that anyone who’s seen Mawang can’t help but to compare it and Resurrection. There are so many similarities and shared themes. In Mawang the point of view is devided between the three main characters but in Resurrection we see the events predominatly through Ha Eun’s eyes. Thus the take on things is also different. We also know from the very beginning who the villans of the story are and that their crimes were not accidental so Ha Eun’s revenge feels more justifed than that of Seung Ha’s. Resurrection and Mwang really are ‘siblings’. But as good as Resurrection is it’s not as wonderful as Mawang. Amost but not quite there. It’s too long for one. They needed 24 episodes to tell the story when with a tighter script 20 would have been enough. It can be done, as Mawang shows. This is mainly due to too many characters and some side stores that were not really necessary. The main story could have benefitted with a little bit of pruning as well. So it slows down a little somewhere in the middle but does pick up pace again and finishes off with enough punch to leave you thinking. Resurrection also has quite a few of the usual Kdrama features that can be annoying. Still, you can just overlook them and enjoy the rest.

The ending will probably leave some unsatisfied but to me it made total sense. It’s one of those ‘open ended’ ones that many viewers don’t like. I for one have learned to enjoy those too, when they make sense. When Ha Eun gets his revenge he does not celebrate. He accomplished what he set out to do but in the process he ended up loosing himself. In order to keep on living he has to go and leave his home and those he cares most behind. The journey to darkness broke him but did not destroy him. To unite the pieces and to become whole again he has to take another journey but this time it’s towards the light. So there is hope. The end really can be a beginning.

And then, some pretty pics:

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Ha Eun – the good cop (UTW really pwns the ‘rumpled cop’ -look)

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With his best friend, a fellow cop

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With his adoptive sister and love of his life

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As ‘Shin Hyuk’, with the secondary girl

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Mr Awesome Private Eye

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With the good secretary

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Angsting on the roof

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