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Review of South Korean Movies and TV Shows

Pipeline Movie Review

Pipeline Movie PosterFor Asian movie night this week we saw Pipeline (파이프라인), a Korean movie released in May 2021 and available to view on Viki.


To make himself rich and pay back loan sharks Hwang Gun Woo hires a team of misfit “experts” to siphon oil from the national grid into his own storage facilities. Things go sour when he threatens the teams’ lives for not meeting his deadline and spying on them.


Seo In Guk as Kan Se Doi (aka Drill-Bit). He is the leader of the team, also known as Captain. I haven’t seen this actor in other products, but he is popular starting his career as a pop singer. He is known to have some health issues along the way including bulimia, he was told to lose weight, and Osteochondritis dissecans, a bone and cartilage condition, which made him exempt from military service.

Leo Soo Hyuk as Hwang Gun Woo, the bad guy. As well as an actor he is also a model. I haven’t seen him in any other productions.

Jung Jae Kwang as Sang Goo. He played a support role, police officer, in this movie but I mention him since we saw him in It’s OK Not To Be OK, he played patient Joo Jung Tae.


I thought this was a surprisingly good movie, better than I had envisaged. I did think beforehand why they would make a pipeline seem exciting, they should have named it something else, either way it was worth the watch.

I thought the actors and storywriters did an excellent job of the cast interactions, some of its drama, and some of it very humorous. I’m sure the story was a bit farfetched and headed into an odder direction with the bad guy’s goals being that of a mad scientist towards the final 30 minutes of the movie. It was a shame they knocked off one of the team, but I guess that’s what made the bad guy so evil.

It had some special effects. The oil running through the pipes wasn’t well done. The pipeline exploding in the hills of Korea was well done.

Many of those reviewing the movie clearly watched the movie because of Seo In Guk, one said “I wouldn’t be bored with him reading the entire phone directory”.


I would give this a 7/10. Much better than anticipated, worth a watch.


2021-09-13T21:31:59+00:0016 August 2021|Review South Korea|

A Man in a Veil Review

A Man in a VeilThis is the first South Korean soap opera I watch, A Man in a Veil, which broadcast between 2020 and 2021.


After an accident during childhood, Tae Poong had a learning disability and was looked after by his Mother. His life is caught in between two sisters, one who is kind-hearted and the other who is…very evil with visions of grandeur. The show consisted of 105 x 35-minute episodes.


The show has a huge cast but generally revolves around 4 characters played by the following actors:

Kang Eun Tak (강은탁) plays Lee Tae Poong / Yoo Min Hyeok
He won an award for his performance of Tae Poong which I would say was very justified. Kang Eun Tak is a doyen of South Korean soaps having been in 7 different ones with a total of 936 episodes.

Lee Shi Kang (이시강) plays Cha Seo Joon
He has previously been in another soap called Happy Sisters. Earlier in 2020, he appeared in the Taiwanese LGBTQ drama Because of You, this is where I heard of him first and followed the trail to find A Man in a Veil. He reprises his role of Yuan Jun Cheng in Because of You season 2 soon, airdate not fixed.

Uhm Hyun Kyung (엄현경) plays Han Yoo Jung
She has appeared in many TV dramas as well as 4 other soaps. She will be appearing in the upcoming soap Second Husband which starts airing in August 2021.

Lee Chae-young (이채영) plays Han Yoo Ra
She is a very popular in-demand actress too also being appearing in 5 other soaps. I see she is an upcoming movie called Tomb of the River but don’t know any details apart from that.


Some spoilers ahead

I absolutely loved this show and couldn’t wait until the next episode. 105 episodes seemed a bit daunting at first but it wasn’t a trial to get through them due to the exciting script.

The pace of the first 20 episodes was exciting, a lot happened. Some side stories never developed throughout the series but contained important messages, especially about disabled people. I had never seen Kang Eun Tak in any other shows but his performance as Lee Tae Pong in these 20 episodes was extremely convincing. As I saw the actor in other shows the role of playing someone with a learning disability wasn’t a role he normally gets.

I was slightly disappointed that they knocked off a couple of characters in the first 20 episodes, from 21 the script was a much slower pace. However, as the series developed the pace sped up again. There were some “edge of the seat” moments in the final episodes with a few twists and turns. There were a couple of surprises in the final episode and I thought “she’s got what”!!


Brilliant show. I rated it 5/5, a top score is unusual for me but they deserved it.

The show can be watched on Viki but you will need a subscription. KBS TV in Korea sometimes puts in soaps on YouTube so you never know it might appear there one day.


2021-09-13T21:33:01+00:007 July 2021|Review South Korea|

Mission Possible Review

Mission PossibleMission Possible (미션 파서블) is a Korean film that was released on 17 February 2021. It is a spy orientated comedy-drama film.


Yoo Da Hee is a trainee with the Chinese Ministry of State Security, she is given a mission that could cost her life. Her job is to close the net on an arms smuggling ring. She needs to reach out and pair up with a Korean counterpart but there was a mix-up and is partnered with an inexperienced private detective, Woo Soon Han, who has cases for missing dogs.


There is a strong cast in this movie:

  • Kim Young Kwang (김영광) plays Woo Soon Han.
    I haven’t seen this actor in anything else even though, from the looks of his resume, he is very much in demand.
    His character is the strongest in the film which includes slapstick to serious.
  • Lee Sun Bin (이선빈) plays Yoo Da Hee.
    I have seen her in “The Uncanny Counters” even though she only appeared in two episodes.
    I think this character seemed as though it was more in the background, I’m not sure whether that was the purpose to provide focus on the male lead.


In the first few minutes I wondered what I was watching, it seemed serious and a bit difficult to follow. Then, a bit further on the comedy started to show and it got better. The best parts of the film were when the storyline moved at a high pace. Some of the gags were spaced out as such it took a while to get the gist of the joke, like a dry sense of humour. There were moments in the film when the storyline appeared to go too slow and I was getting a little bored, in other words, they should have kept a faster pace during the whole movie. There are a few surprises along the way and a complete about-face in one of the character’s storyline.

The movie felt like an introduction to a second one or maybe a TV series spin-off. We did enjoy it very much, it was like a cross between a comedy version of the US TV series Mission Impossible and Get Smart.

So, I would give the movie about a 7.5. It can be watched for rent on Viki.


2021-09-21T02:32:56+00:0017 May 2021|Review South Korea|

Train TV Show Review

Train is a very impressive TV show from South Korea about an interdimensional detective trying to solve a 12-year-old murder case.


TrainThis is a basic summary of the show:

“Haunted by the thought that his drunkard father killed another man before also dying on the same day and not paying for his crime, Seo Do Won lives his life trying to secretly repay Han Seo Kyung for his father’s sin while hiding the truth. He is now a detective who overworks to escape his guilt, and she is a prosecutor who is still looking for her father’s killer.”

It is so much more than that and I don’t want to give away the plot too much, but there is a mysterious train that travels to an extraordinary place.


I only recognized one supporting actor in this show, the main actors I hadn’t heard of. They all did an amazing job, most of them played two different characters.  The main actors were:

  • Yoon Shi Yoon (윤시윤) who played the central character Seo Do Won.
  • Kyung Soo Jin (경수진) played Han Seo Kyung.

The actors I had heard of was Kim Dong Young. In Train he played Kim Jin Woo, a detective, but also saw him in Let’s Eat season 3.


The drama was more gritty than many we have seen from South Korea tv. The cinematography was very good too as it had to reflect a darker image. The Train special effects were ok but they probably could have thought that out a bit more. The general storyline was well planned, it was very fast-paced and kept everyone on the edge of the seat. The part of the story where the train took one person to a mysterious place was good but the missing part of the script was what happened to the other passengers. Some parts of the story weren’t well planned where you were kind of left guessing what just happened. Usually, in Korean dramas there is a lot of romance, that wasn’t central to the script in Train.

Could there be a season 2? Probably not, seems the story had more or less been wrapped up but I guess there would be potential for something else. So, I would rate this 4.5/5, the missing point is for the little oddities in the continuity that they could have cleaned up pretty easily.


2021-09-21T02:36:09+00:006 December 2020|Review South Korea|

My Paparotti Film Review

My Paparotti is a 2013 South Korean film based on the true story of an Opera singer who was involved in gangs. I’ve been wanting to watch this film for a long time and this past weekend finally found the time to enjoy it.


During his youth, Kim Ho-Joong was involved in gangs but thanks to his grandmother, who looked after him, developed a deep interest and talent in Opera music. The film is about his struggle to choose between gang life or receive an education to take him to the heights of fame in the Opera world assisted by his eccentric teacher.


There were two main actors in the cast who played their roles brilliantly.

  • Lee Je Hoon (이제훈) played Jang Ho. He was born in 1984 and already has an impressive movie career. I hadn’t seen any of his work before but he clearly put a lot of effort into this important role.
  • Han Seok Kyu (한석규) played the teacher Sang Jin, they couldn’t have chosen a better actor for this role who is known to have a very unique style.


As usual, the film had an average rating on Internet Movie Database, however, on Asian sites it was rated much higher. I am in agreement with the Asian sites.

There was a great mix of humour, drama and action that kept me engaged throughout the film. The acting was really good, excellent chemistry between the main cast, they did an excellent job with the roles they had. It was very believable that Lee Je Hoon was singing but obviously wasn’t. It was definetly the actors that made this film so believeable.

I am not sure how close the film was to the true story of Kim Ho-Joong but it did interest me to find out more about the singer, listen to his songs, and wonder what he is working on now. Recent “gossip press” about him was disappointing and diverted my attention away from it, I just want to remember the positives.

Absolutely a 5/5 for the movie, a must watch.


The Real Kim Ho-Joong

This is a video of the real Kim Ho-Joong, sharing his talent on stage. There are many videos on YouTube worth discovering and enjoying.

2021-09-21T02:38:27+00:0014 October 2020|Review South Korea|

The Bros Review

The BrosThe Bros is a South Korean film released in 2017 which I wanted to see as it starred Lee Dong Hwi who played Mr Moon from Pegasus Market, which I enjoyed very much.


Two brothers, leading their own lives, come back together after they hear the passing of their Father and are determined to find a priceless heirloom. On their way to the Father’s home they have an argument in their car which leads to knocking over a mysterious female named Aurora.


I would say the story is rather “quirky” and the sense of humour seemed a bit odd in places some of which I didn’t understand. There were two major twists in the story which I wasn’t expecting at all and it turned the film into a completely different direction, not just being a comedy but touching the grounds of a fantasy. It wasn’t comedy from start to finish, there were touching scenes at the end.

The acting by all the cast was good, I’m not sure if they were trying their best to save a fairly bad drama or just being professional as they could be. They all did a good job but wasn’t enough to save the script.

I see on other sites it did receive a positive review with a score in the region of 7.1, so not too bad. Not in the top list of Asian movies we have seen.

Where to See It

The movie is on Netflix but we saw it via another Asian online service.

Score Out of 5:

2021-09-21T02:44:46+00:0015 May 2020|Review South Korea|

Pegasus Market Review

Pegasus MarketPegasus Market is a South Korean TV show made by tvN which aired between 20 Sep thru 6 Dec 2019. Excluding the advertising breaks the length of each episode was about 1 hour 5 minutes.

The Story

A shabby supermarket where employees normally go to if they have misbehaved and as seen as their next step to being fired. The manager, Moon Suk Goo, continues to make the store a success but a new Director arrives, demoted from headquarters, intend on destroying it along with the whole corporation.  Luckily, the Director continues to experience failures where each opportunity to destroy the place ends up in being a huge success. To try and make matters worse the Director hires many misfits who turn out to be really appreciative of the job and throw themselves into their career to ensure success for the company.

The Cast

What an amazing cast, I had never heard of these actors before but each of them was so perfect for the role especially the Director and Manager.

Kim Byung Chul played Jung Bok Dong, the Director. He is a character actor with a long successful career and amazingly talented. His character went from serious to hilarious to dancing the next, I can’t imagine anyone else who could handle this role. I must find out what other shows he is in.

Lee Dong Hwi plays Moon Suk Goo, the long-suffering Manager. Also, a very good performance calling for a variety of skills. Towards the second half of the season there is a twist in the story for Mr Moon calling for a very emotional performance and this was one of the most memorable of any South Korean drama’s I have seen.

All the cast were brilliant.


Anything can happen in Pegasus Market, and it did, each episode continued to entertain from start to finish. I was so looking forward to seeing this show and it felt it was made especially for my taste.

It had a good consistent story line throughout the series keeping the viewers hooked on what might happen next. Each character was lovable in the own way, there wasn’t anyone I really disliked, even those playing the evil people. From the drama one minute, to humour the next, and then to a scene where you would need several boxes of tissues to get through it.

I would absolutely recommend this show, it’s in my top South Korean drama’s list along with Rooftop Prince and Circle.

2021-09-21T02:44:29+00:0012 May 2020|Review South Korea|

My Neighbor Charles

My Neighbor CharlesOne of my favourite TV programs from South Korea is “My Neighbor Charles”.

Currently, there is a lot of negativity towards immigrants that I have seen and heard particularly from the United States, this is due to the fear mongering from the current administration there. It is extremely refreshing to have such positive and constructive views of immigrants in this weekly reality TV show.

Every week the program explores the life of immigrants who have moved to South Korea.  A camera crew following the guests round for 2 weeks to learn about their new day-to-day life. They then go into a sit-down studio to discuss their life with four regular hosts.

Most of the guests have really inspiring stories of how successful they have been since landing in South Korea and how they have fit in with society. From the show, locals seem very welcoming to new visitors and keen to learn about new cultures.  The most rewarding part of immigration is that culture arrives in your neighbourhood and can learn many things from the people who have settled there. If only this happened everywhere.

Most of the episodes are placed on YouTube by the broadcaster the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS).

2021-09-21T02:51:40+00:0011 January 2019|Review South Korea|

Circle Two Worlds Connected Review

Circle: Two Worlds Connected” was a sci-fi/mystery television show from South Korea created by broadcaster TvN which aired in 2017. We have just finished viewing all 12 episodes and I really recommend people watch it.

This sci-fi mystery was very unique and innovative, it was set in two time periods; 2017 and 2037. In 2017: It starts off with young twin brothers and their father witnessing an alien arrival, the family take in the woman although would rarely say a word. The twins grow up, while at college a number of suicides occur with fellow students which appear to be linked to one of the twins and possible sightings of the missing “alien”. In 2037: South Korea is divided into General Earth, a heavily polluted place where crimes are common and Smart Earth, a clean and beautiful city/island where no crimes occur until one day there is a murder.

Each episode is 60 minutes in duration with the first 30 minutes set in 2017 and the last 30 minutes in 2037.


The storyline is quite complex in the first episodes and can be tough to keep up with the plot, however, one does become totally transfixed so it’s worth being patient with. There are many unexpected twists and turns that will continue to surprise the audience. The special effects and sets in the 2037 scenes are extremely well done and thought through, especially how technology might evolve by that time period. The acting is very good, the actors put a lot of effort into the production. In many other Korean shows you would see a lot of romance but there was very little of that at all. The music score was quite dramatic, probably too much so at points. There were quite a few unanswered questions which would lead into an interesting season 2, I’ve heard rumours about the studio wanting to make more episodes which I would really encourage them to do.

I really would like to have seen this drama shown in the west, I think it would be popular in the US, Canada and the UK, however, subtitles is not something those countries have the patience for.


Circle Two Worlds Connected is available in DVD format via YesAsia.

2023-01-27T05:22:27+00:009 January 2019|Review South Korea|