originally written in April 2014.
Title: 쾌도 홍길동 / Kwaedo Hong Gil Dong
Also known as: Sharp Blade Hong Gil Dong
Genre: Comedy, romance, action, drama
Broadcast network: KBS2
Broadcast period: 2008-Jan-02 to 2008-Mar-26
Air time: Wednesday & Thursday 21:55
Based on a fictional book about a Robin Hood in Korea, Hong Gildong, this drama is very loosely based off of that book and the time it was set in.
Hong Gil Dong was the illegitimate son of a high ranked minister. A local monk took him under his wing and taught him martial arts. Hong Gil Dong was inspired to fight for the injustice in this society that divided people into nobles and ordinary citizens whereby the former enjoyed all the privileges due solely to their birth.
The heroine, Heo Yi Nok, had just returned to Korea from China with her grandfather. They made their living by putting on shows and selling their special brand of medicine in the marketplace.
Lee Chang Hwi had been told since he was young that he was the rightful heir to the throne which had been usurped by his half brother. He had also returned from his exile in China and was plotting to overthrow the emperor.
The three got entangled in love, hate, loyalty and betrayal and only one side can win.
Kang Ji Hwan as Hong Gil Dong
Sung Yoo Ri as Heo Yi Nok / Ryu Yi Nok
Jang Geun Suk as Lee Chang Hwi
Choi Soo Han as young Chang Hwi
Kim Ri Na as Seo Eun Hye
I finally got the chance to see this old Hong sisters drama called Hong Gil Dong from 2008 starring Kang Ji Hwan, Sung Yuri and Jang Geun Seuk. I have watched almost all of the Hong sisters drama — Chunhyang (2005), My Girl (2006), Couple Fantasy (2006), You’re Beautiful (2009), My GF is a Gumiho (2010) and Greatest Love (2011). (i didn’t bother watching Big since I heard it’s a bad drama while I’m still saving Master’s Sun for later). I love their sense of humor though sometimes it’s over the top. Hong Gil Dong is different because it’s like a fusion of historical drama but using modern language.
First off the cast – Kang Ji Hwan is always a delight to watch, whether he is screaming like a girl or emoting or fighting like a boss (and he’s so handsome). I love his character Hong Gil Dong and his love for Yi Nok, I like that he started fighting for his right and his life instead of running away like he did before. I love how he is passionate and his love for the people. Honestly I thought he would have made a better king but overall, it wasn’t how the story is supposed to go. I haven’t really watched Sung Yuri’s dramas, i recognize her more for being the pretty one in FinKL. I like how she portrayed her character. She is so cute and sweet to Gil Dong – she and Gil Dong are a perfect match. I did feel that after she “became” Ryu Yi Nok, her character got stagnant, and was stuck to being on the sideline except for some crucial moments. and i like how she still became friends with the young prince despite the situation. as for Jang Geun Seuk, i only watched his show You’re Beautiful which i also loved, his succeeding dramas were blah and he just keeps getting stranger as he gets more popular. Hong Gil Dong is one of his earlier dramas and unfortunately i wasn’t impressed at the start.. he only had one expression — that stony glare/stare brooding whatever look on his face – which mostly confused me because i didn’t know what he was feeling (i dont know if it is just bad acting or it was just meant to mean he is also confused?) but eventually in the last couple of episodes he improved a little, showing more expressions on his face. unfortunately, like Yi Nok, his character didn’t get better — i dont really like how the writers portrayed the king in the last 2 episodes but it was necessary for the story.
side characters – Madam Noh is perfectly portrayed by the actress, i didn’t like her character but i could sympathize with her (and her big red plump lips were very distracting!), the young miss — i understand what Hong Gil Dong meant when he said “at first i talked to you because i pity you but now i feel sorry for you” or something like that. i did like her because she helped HGD when necessary but i also hated how desperate and pathetic she was when she threatens HGD (esp the last part where she tried to get him killed after he rejected her yet again). at the same time i felt bad for her when she realized what she had done. his father, the actor seems to always portray the same characters in historical dramas (that pesky “core of all power” with a hidden agenda and that annoying fake laugh!!!) HGD’s dad – i definitely dont like him – i understand his loyalty to his king but i hate how cruel he is to HGD and his last attempt to “protect” HGD by taking the blame for the crimes and getting killed was just bullshit. too bad HGD still liked him even as his dad was such an ass to him. finally the Hwal Bin Dang crew – loved all of them!!
overall, the story felt a bit long (24 episodes!) that i ended up fast forwarding some parts. the first part was half funny half serious but the second half became serious-serious and darker. there were some parts/themes/storylines that repeated itself (hence the bloated storyline) but i like that the story kept moving and there’s always something new happening.. even in the last couple of episodes so it kept me interested to find out how the story will end. the ending wasnt what i was expecting but it was still satisfying even though it’s a bit sad. i give this 6.5 stars!