Quarantine viewing No. 4: Hyena.

There’s always that one moment when someone recommends something out of the blue, you decide to check it out with no expectations whatsoever, and you end up with a pleasant surprise. Hyena belongs to that category.

Out of the many recommendations from various friends, two people mentioned this K-drama to me: one is a colleague who said that she and her daughter liked it; and another from a friend from the K-entertainment (and at some point, Alden) fandom who bravely described it as, “better than the popular ones”. This second one piqued my interest. I know her taste. She won’t recommend something that’s not, at the very least, interesting to watch.

Another factor: Joo Jihoon is in this drama. I’m still on Joo Jihoon Fangirl Mode after Kingdom 2 and the Along With The Gods movies (I’ll devote a separate blog for the movies I saw during ECQ) so Hyena really should be next on my list.

The premise might not sound too attractive for the general viewing public. The story is about lawyers, so the automatic reaction is, “legal drama = too serious = BORING.” At least, that was my initial apprehension. First of all, it’s not a serious drama in the sense that it’s actually a comedy to some extent. Half of the scenes are light and oftentimes cute. May kilig factor rin, but not in the usual Rom-Com fashion. It’s Rom-Com for adults. No pabebe kissing here, folks. :naughty: Which should be expected because, hello, Joo Jihoon AND Kim Hye Soo. If you’re familiar with their work, you should never expect to see dead fish kissing in Hyena.

But since it’s a legal drama, it requires a lot of focus and concentration from the viewers, especially those of us who heavily depend on subtitles. I lost count of the number of times I had to hit ‘Rewind’ because I mistakenly checked my phone for incoming messages and missed a crucial line or two. And in this drama, every freakin’ line or two MUST be understood because you will miss the plot twist, you’ll end up asking yourself WTH just happened. Each episode is filled with that, and you must remember everything they said, who appeared in what episode and how did they fit in the story because it will all come back again at some point in the series. They won’t even help you with the usual repeated scenes in flashbacks which are, surprisingly and a pleasant one at that, quite few here.

I know it doesn’t sound attractive right now (of the ayokong mag-isip variety), but I sometimes think we need these types of dramas that stimulate our brains. Especially when we’re on quarantine.

Anyway, I’m amazed when I did my research and found that the writer is a rookie (although Hancinema listed two projects and her first one was another legal drama in 2015). :shock: I can’t believe that a rookie can come up with something as polished as this. She probably has a legal background, given that her two dramas are both about lawyers?

I also read that Hyena was first offered to Song Hye Kyo, who declined it. I’m glad that she did. :razz: Don’t get me wrong, I’m an SHK fan. But I simply don’t think she’s fit for the role. She could be feisty (see: Full House and Descendants of the Sun) but still a bit… sweet? On the other hand, Kim Hye Soo is just PERFECT for this. She’s a great actress, she’s sexy – at age 50, no less! – and she has electrifying sexual chemistry with Joo Jihoon. Well, both of them, individually, have electrifying sex appeal, regardless. It just blended so well on this drama.

As for Joo Jihoon, what can I say. That man has now entered my list of competent Korean actors who are not just pretty faces. The guy can really act. :clap: Such a dashing debonair, too. When women swoon over him, you just understand why. That innate Royal Aura still works even if it isn’t a sageuk drama.

Viewers of Kingdom would be delighted to know that the actor who played the bumbling Beom Pal is in this drama, too.

So. Dare I follow what my friend said and say that Hyena is better than the popular ones? I say, HELL YEAH.


Hello, Thieves.

credits: Choyongpilofficial at YouTube

Cho Yong Pil has been in the news lately for being the artist that beat Psy at Korea’s Billboard charts (and all other charts in Korea, basically). Naturally, I got curious and checked out his song, Hello.

This was my face when I first few strums of the song started playing: :shock:

To be honest, I don’t know anything about Cho Yong Pil prior to this. I had to do a quick consultation with Mr. Google, who told me that Cho Yong Pil is a legend in Korean pop music since the 70’s and saying that his music has transcended various genres is an understatement. In fact, his Wikipedia page can’t seem to decide exactly what genre applies to him because his music is classified as “K-rock, K-pop, trot, new wave”. Never in my wildest dreams did I even imagine seeing the words ‘rock’, ‘new wave’, ‘pop’ and ‘trot’ in one sentence that describes a single artist.

When I searched for the Hello MV on YouTube, I was expecting a ballad, at the very least, because I have no idea about Cho Yong Pil’s music (I saw the MV before I consulted Mr. Google, who referred me to Manong Wiki). I never expected to hear a very current-sounding song with a very current-looking MV from a singer who is 60+ years old and has been in the music business for over 40 years.

I’ve been hearing/reading comments about artists whom they say are too old to compete with the current batch of idols because of their age (eg.: Rain, Lee Hyori, Shinhwa). Cho Yong Pil is the living proof that age is not a deterrent for an artist to evolve and be always ‘current’ in the music industry. They just have to learn how to reinvent themselves. A formula that worked in the past will not always work the same way in the future. Adaptation is the key to survive in this ever-changing business.


Random thoughts while watching the Korean movie, The Thieves (yes, I’m late in watching this movie):


1. I’ve always viewed Jeon Ji Hyun more as ‘sexy’ rather than pretty/beautiful. For me, her goddess status is more about how she carries herself rather than her actual looks. However, while watching this movie, I realized that she’s just ordinary when standing next to the really smokin’ hot Kim Hye Soo.

2. I have seen three Jeon Ji Hyun movies prior to The Thieves: My Sassy Girl, Windstruck and Il Mare. Notice that they were all old movies. That’s because I never got interested in watching her other movies after Windstruck because I found her acting skills ‘juvenile’. I have to admit that I was surprised at her acting in The Thieves. Even if this movie isn’t really an acting piece, I think she has improved a lot over time. I’ve been seeing some good feedback about her acting in the movie The Berlin File. I’ll have to see that movie to make an informed judgment.

It’s great to see the famed Korean Goddesses proving that they are much more than just pretty faces. Well, except for one, but I wouldn’t count on her catching up because it turns out, she’s adopting the ‘haters gonna hate’ attitude towards criticisms on her acting… :hopeless: Anyway, that’s :offtopic: and that’s just about the amount of blog space I’m giving that woman. Back to The Thieves

3. My personal definition of ‘depression’: seeing the 57-year-old Kim Hae Sook (some of you might know her as Song Hye Kyo’s real mother in Autumn In My Heart) looking so much younger, with toned arms to boot.


Again, another proof that age is not a deterrent for a person to evolve and look ‘current’.

4. Save for the pretty face, Lee Jung Jae and Jo In Sung really do have a lot of similarities. Therefore, it is no surprise that Kim Min Hee ended up dating Jo In Sung. For those who are not aware, Kim Min Hee used to date Lee Jung Jae.

5. Kim Soo Hyun may not have a lot of onscreen time here (the movie was filmed before he became a big star via Moon-Sun and it was said that after he became popular, they had to add a few more scenes to make his role a bit bigger) but the boy really does have electrifying screen presence. Surprise, he can be sexy! He actually had great chemistry with Jeon Ji Hyun. I only hope that the rumors that he has developed an attitude problem due to his enormous popularity are just rumors because it’ll be such a pity for him. He’s both good-looking and talented; it’s going to be such a waste if turns out to be an ass.


Addendum to the Jeon Ji Hyun part of this entry: Can anyone please tell me what this write up is all about?

Nate News about Song Hye Kyo, Jeon Ji Hyun and Kim Tae Hee