Korean Drama "the Return of Iljimae" - Finale
A Place of My Dream
To this day, the reason “the Return of Iljimae” remains my favorite Korean Historic Drama is because the entire series is very well produced from the beginning to the end. It leaves me with no dissatisfaction whatsoever. I love it when the theme song starts, and adore every minute of it till the last scene folds. The heart of the drama is “Iljimae”, beautifully portrayed by a young actor Jung Il Woo. He is clearly the center of the attention, yet all the supporting actors and actresses also get their fair chance to shine, thanks to the brilliant director and writer.
In the final episode, Iljimae helps Korean people, who were sold as slaves return to their homeland. When they ask of his name, he answers, “I have no name”. Comparing to the beginning and middle part of the drama, here we see a much matured Iljimae. He has grown into a dynamic hero, who does not care about leaving his name. His main focus is on helping the poor and the needy. It also echoes the theme that heroes are among us. One might not realize their existence or spot them in the crowd, but when trouble arises, and people are in dare needs, they are everywhere, taking different form, gender and age, fighting to make the world a better place.
Iljimae’s dream is simple. In the future, people can live happily in peace and harmony and there won’t be a need to call upon a hero to save the day. His intention is pure and noble, without any self-interest and ambition.
When his girlfriend asks him, “This country has done nothing for you. It abandoned you, hurt you, and tormented you. Why do you have to help out and put your own life in harm’s way?” He replies, “When I was younger, I saw people lose everything in war, and dragged off as prisoners. They were treated like animals. At that time I could do nothing about it. Now, this concerns my fellow countryman. If war breaks out again, disaster always befalls the weakest, the poorest people first, people like my mother, who are already living arduous lives. I can’t sit aside when I can do something about it.” Such is the statement of a true hero, gracious and admirable.
Many people like Lee Junki’s “Iljimae” (SBS version), because it’s fun, light, and more than anything else, it’s Lee Junki, a famous Korean actor, who has many fans in Asia and other parts of the world. I, on the other hand, enjoy “the Return of Iljimae” (MBC version) hundreds times more. The story is memorable, believable and moving. The Star of the series, Jung Il Woo is relatively “quiet” compare to Lee Junki. He is always sincere, humble and eager to learn. The depth and truthfulness he displays on screen is tremendous. As a young actor, he does not focus on fame or wealth. He wants to become a true actor, and he’s working hard toward fulfilling that dream.
the Return of Iljimae
My top 4 picks of Korean Historic Drama Mini-Series are:
#1. The Return of Iljimae
(I give it a perfect score 10)
Iljimae on YouTube
Faith - Lee Min Ho
#2. Faith (The Great Doctor)
Faith (2012) is Lee Min Ho's new drama. The story depicts the love between a warrior from the Goryeo Period and a female doctor from the present day, their love transcending time and space. I love this story and all actors are great in this drama. Though it's not as perfect as "The Return of Iljimae", I still give the drama a deserving score of 9.5.
Faith MV - Bad Person
About Choi Young
Lee Min Ho plays Choi Young, who is a bodyguard to the king in the mid-1300s of the Goryeo Dynasty. He’s 29 years old and has no regrets in life, no ambition for women or money, and whose hobby is sleeping. Because he lives a life of no regret and gave up on love to be an unflinching warrior, he’s not afraid of death. Choi Young believes that people who don’t fear death needn't spin their wheels scheming, so he takes that to the extreme — he’s a warrior who doesn't strategize, so much as attack everything head-on. If he happens to succeed, great; if he fails and dies, so be it.
Hong Gil Dong
#3. Hong Gil Dong
(the writing for the main character grows weak towards the end of the drama, but for the brilliant performance of actor Jang Geun Seok – Prince Lee Chang Hui, I give it a score of 8.5)
Clips from Hong Gil Dong
#4. The Legend/Tae Wang Sa Shin Gi
(Starring Bae Yong Joon. If you get rid of the first and last two episodes, the rest of the series are great, and the score is a respectful 7)
The Legend on YouTube
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