Posted: 12 Sep 2012 02:53 AM PDT
Geeky superheroes rule even on Korean TV.
IT is the year 2020, and South Korea has gone bankrupt. The republic is now a broken country where crime rules and justice is obsolete. The divide has never been greater between the rich and the poor, who are segregated into slums. But from the shadows of the Depression, an unexpected hero emerges.
Whoa! With that premise, you know you are not getting a run-of-the-mill Korean drama.
Hero, the 10-episode action series showing on Astro's Celestial Movies, definitely delivers all the extraordinary thrills and intrigue it promises. From the opening minute, the kick is paramount.
We are taken to Mooyoung, a fictional city where corruption is rampant. It's Christmas Eve and a group of young orphans is preparing for the festivities in an old church in one of the slum areas.
Suddenly, a group of armed robbers led by a mysterious assassin (played by Japanese actor Ryohei Otani) storms into the church, and demand a "gift" from the pastor. When the pastor refuses them, the gang leader shoots him point blank in the head while his men open fire on the children.
Yup, that is the life in this future Korea. In Mooyoung, the cruel life is made harder by its corrupt Mayor, Kim Hoon (Sohn Byung-ho), who rules the city with an iron fist. He is aided by his oldest son, head prosecutor Kim Myung-chul (Choi Chul-ho), who is equally corrupt.
The only chink in their "throne" is the younger son of the family, a seemingly unambitious geek, Kim Huk-chui (Yang Dong-gun), whom they had banished to China after one debacle too many. But China deports him back to South Korea, and once home again, he continues his aimless, hedonistic life after seeing how his power-hungry family has not changed.
That is, until he meets a smart and passionate young police detective Yoon Ih-ohn (Han Chae-ah). While trying to date her, Huk-chui stumbles into a police sting and gets caught in the crossfire.
Huk-chui is hit by a bullet while trying to protect Ih-ohn and he falls into a coma. It looks like the end of the road for Huk-chui but his father convinces the doctors to use an experimental serum to revive him.
When Huk-chui wakes up, he discovers that he has somehow gained superhuman powers. As he realises that with great powers come great responsibilities, Huk-chui – with a little help from his best friend, tech genius Dong Min (Kwong Min) – decides to put his new super abilities to good use by fighting evil and helping the city's weak.
Each episode sees Huk-chui tackling different crimes while driving him closer to the inevitable face-off with his family, the source of all the malevolence in Mooyoung.
And he soon discovers that he may not be alone and there may be an army of super humans out there .... So, who says Korean dramas are all about long lost siblings and love triangles?
Part-Robocop and part-Six Million Dollar Man, Hero is inspiring and thought-provoking.
The series does not only play with contemporary tech ideas to depict a possible not-too-distant future, but also puts a spin on current apocalyptic concerns to paint a dystopian world that could scarily become reality.
And with its poor rich boy-turn-vigilante hero theme, you can't help be reminded of the Batman movies.
It does not help either that like The Dark Knight Rises, it too hints at the 99% versus 1% crisis, or that Mooyoung looks very much like Gotham, so much so that you sometimes expect to see the Batman insignia beaming off the buildings in the show.
Huk-chui, however, is no Bruce Wayne, and starts out more like a bumbling member of the Mystery Men. This does not make him less endearing as he goes after the hoodlums of Mooyoung. And for once, in Ih-ohn, he has a heroine who is more amazing than him, and she even rescues him from a scrap or two.
It is no surprise that Hero is the brainchild of the team behind the equally gripping Vampire Prosecutor (which tells of a prosecutor who, after he is infected with some vampire blood, uses his extraordinary senses to solve crime) and Special Affairs Team TEN (about a violent crime investigation unit).
Like the two earlier series, Hero manages to be both gritty and fresh. If you are getting sick of the usual K-drama fare, this is the perfect antidote.
Hero, which concludes this Friday, airs on weekdays at 8pm with repeats at 10.45pm on Celestial Movies (Astro Ch 322) and Celestial Movies HD (Astro Ch 309). The marathon (Episodes 6-10) airs this Sunday.
Posted: 12 Sep 2012 03:00 AM PDT
Red FM has decided to move on to a new beat.
THESE days there is no escaping from Korean wonder hit Gangnam Style by Psy. Be it on English radio stations, Facebook, YouTube and even at night clubs, there is just no running away from Gangnam Style.
At Red FM – taking into account feedback from listeners and people in the office – the Red FM announcers and programmers decided to create a song and accompanying music video to express that enough is enough and that this video has seen way too many parodies.
People at Red FM were fans of Gangnam Style when it was initially released. A few announcers, including The Red Breakfast Show and The Red Fix, created mini videos of themselves dancing to Gangnam Style.
Linora from The Red Hub says: "Gangnam Style was fun when it first came out. It was terribly addictive, I had loads of fun with it even at the gym but it's just an overload now. I think it is time to move on to something else.
"Jeremy from The Red Zone says: "With every story there are two sides, in a world where everybody loves Gangnam Style, Red FM is the voice for those who are sick and tired of hearing the many parodies.
"We are not saying we are not fans of the parodies, some of them involve a lot of effort and creativity. We are just saying, as with life, too much of a good thing is a bad thing."
Prem, the all-new Red Breakfast Show producer, says: "We enjoy Psy, Gangnam Style and the video, we think the song and video are both very cool. First, it was fascinating to watch people coming out with their own versions of this video but now one could say it is getting boring with the extreme amounts of parodies and overplay. The original just needs to be left alone."
Prem is part of the team credited with creating So Sick Of Gangnam. The song was first played on air last Friday. The reaction to this song was immediate. A whole lot of listeners called in and messaged in to express their appreciation for this song. One listener even took it a step further to say this was long awaited for.
Ne-Yo's So Sick was picked as it is aptly named. Talented local singer James Baum was invited to be part of this as Prem had previously heard him sing So Sick and knew he would be a great voice for this song.
Red FM has shared this song on soundcloud.com/iloveredfm. Listeners can look forward to the video this Friday. It will feature Red FM announcers and Baum.
For more information, log on to red.fm. Join the Red FM Malaysia Facebook fan page on facebook.com/redfm.my and follow them on Twitter @iloveredfm.
Red FM is owned and operated by The Star.
Red FM's Station Frequencies: Taiping, Kedah, Perlis and Pulau Langkawi: 98.1FM; George Town and Seberang Prai: 107.6FM; Ipoh, Perak: 106.4FM; Klang Valley, Negri Sembilan and Tapah: 104.9FM; Kuantan, Pahang: 91.6FM; Batu Pahat and Malacca: 98.9FM; Johor Baru and Singapore: 92.8FM.
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