Wednesday, January 6, 2010

IRIS: A New Species of Asian Drama



I started watching IRIS yesterday, a relatively new Korean drama about secret agents, assassinations, and backstabbing in politics. I think this is really my cup of tea because I don't have to watch the same old cookie cutter storyline for 40 episodes only to watch the one fated kiss happen ... 50 times in all sorts of angles and zoom.

The male lead, Kim Hyun Joon (played by Lee Byung-Hun), can actually act. He's not the typical prissy rich pretty boy who likes to give the nice girl a living hell, he's 100% man and quirky and realistic. Why can't dramas stick closer to how real boys are instead of giving millions of girls headaches and false ideals? It's a pity because it's been said that Byung-Hun won't be starring in the next season IRIS 2 : ( Even his English is impressive, but it confounds me that some of the Europeans even have strange Asian-like accents. And don't even get me started on some characters' awful attempt to speak Chinese.

The whole show is only 20 episodes, so it's short, sweet, and there's not a second wasted. The main lady, Choi Seung Hee (played by Kim Tae Hee) is not a damsel in distress, but rather a pretty, butt-kicking agent who knows how to flirt and talk back. I usually give up hoping for character development, but there is some serious acting going on here and I love it. Jung Joon-Ho plays Jin Sa Woo (I personally think he looks like Matthew Perry's Korean twin) and is pretty darn good at playing the shy, modest best friend hide-tanner. One character that confounds me to no end is the effeminate super-killer with the well-groomed eyebrows and baritone voice (T.O.P.?) ... Asian dramas can't settle for being normal now, can they?

I like that this show also appeals to boys. Perfect for snuggling up with your honey bunny and hearing him not complain for once, but rather enraptured in the boom explosion blood splurt. My inner tomboy is enjoying the visual vacation.

Everyone's so well dressed in sleek blacks and the romantic parts aren't too mushy and drawn-out, but rather tasteful, surprising, and smile-inducing. Oh man, this is going to rival Fated to Love You in my book. I'm only on Episode 4 and I'm certain that I'll be grabbing onto the edge of my seat til the very end.

If you're interested and need English subtitles, Mysoju is the place to be. I also discovered www.dramabeans.com, a site that spills the beans on gossip and news pertaining asian dramas and gives picture-filled episode recaps. Grab some ramen and get in on the action!

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