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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Bel Ami (2013)


Also known as: Pretty Man
Country: South-Korea
Format: drama in 16 episodes
Genre: romance, comedy
Cast: Jang Geun Suk, UI, Lee Jang Woo, Han Chae Young, Kim Bo Yun, Dok Go Young Jae, Kim Young Jae, So Yoo Jin, Kim Ye Won, Cha Hyun Jung, Park Ji Yoon, Kim Bo Ra, Jung Sun Kyung, Kim Min Joo, Lee Min Young, Yeo Hoon Min, Yang Mi Kyung,
Synopsis: Dok Go Ma Te is born with very beautiful face and he has made into his trademark in to get what he wants. After his mother dies he gets closer to the mystery behind his father's identity. In order to be accept by his father he must unlock the password that her mother made up. Dok Go Ma Te starts his mission with his old neighborhood girl Bo Tong, who has been in love with him for all those years.
Rating: 4/5
I was so happy when they changed the title into "Bel Ami" because it sounds much better than "Pretty Man". I am not even going to write down all the fears I had before watching it, because there were a lot of them. It is based on manhwa by Chun Gye Young.

 Self-claimed "Prince of Asia" Jang Geun Suk plays the main character Dok Go Ma Te, who has
extraordinary looks. After being raised by single mother and living rather poor life style, he uses his looks to earn a lot of money. Though at first sight he looks like a con-artist who is interested only in money and cannot do anything himself, then actually he is really sweet and nice if you get to know him. He seduces women for his mission without having deeper feelings for them, but after a time he really starts to care about them and that caring made me like him a lot. With Bo Tong he is totally different person.
They have known each other for already 10 years and Bo Tong has been crazy about him, but he usually takes advantage of her by making her do all the hard work for him. It takes a lot of time for him to understand his feelings, but I assure you that he is really bad at hiding his emotions, especially when it comes to jealousy because of David. I think that the scenes where he is jealous or tries to look extremely cool but fails are the cutest. I was afraid to be disappointed in Jang Geun Suk's acting, but he has certainly pulled himself back together and finally, over 4 years, he cut his long hair - long hair is only acceptable when it is pulled back into a pigtail. He looks so much better with shorter hair.

The sweet lead-actress UI plays Bo Tong - women whose head is stuck in the clouds thinking of Ma Te. I like to say that she kind of a resembles sasaeng-fan, because her actions are sometimes reaaaallly creepy. At first I again started to think "how can she even want Ma Te to love her, when she is not doing any effort to make herself appealing?!", but the more I watched the less annoying she got. She at least stood up for herself.
For Bo Tong's advantage is that she was basically a friend to Ma Te, even though they did not talk a lot before it, Bo Tong was someone who Ma Te most of the time trusted, expect when it came to the most important things. Bo Tong was someone who also reminded Ma Te not to bring shame on him and not to get lost in action. Some people have said that it is UI's best role so far and I think her acting is acceptable in it. Despite her having funky fashion sense, which sometimes turned into crime against fashion, she managed to look really cute at some times - like when she had straight hair.

What k-drama would have no love-triangle? Choi David, who is like a male-version of Bo Tong, fells in love with her from the first sight, because with one look she is able to change him into different person. David has a really cute, yet a bit dumb, personality and for sure he is one of a kind - I bet we could find more men like Ma Te than men like David. He has very complicated background and even now I am not sure whether I liked it or not. Though his personality is similar to Bo Tong, they actually do not suit for each other - it is a well known saying that only the opposites attract. Lee Jang Woo seems great actor, sad that his appearance was ruined with that matted hair.

I was so annoyed by Hong Yoo Ra. She was the worst when it came to having a plan. Ma Te told her everything he knew, but she often informed Ma Te only after he had gotten a hint from somewhere, not to mention that later ignoring him and leaving him out because "she was busy". She literally played herself into Na Hong Ra's hands whenever she got something against her. It is simple rule that if you have some secret that may destroy the enemy, then NEVER let them know that you know about it. She always played out her jokers and then was left empty-handed again. Besides, in the end she just did not make any sense.

The iron-woman Na Hong Ra was ready to do everything in order to protect her position, though I
think she made really big mistakes on the way - especially not having her own heir when needed. Of course she has not been like this all the time, but desperate times need desperate measures. I think her story would have been better, if they had explained exactly what were the things that turned her into emotionless ice-queen. The weirdest thing about her is how she brakes in the end, but it just shows that no one can possibly stand with so much hatred in her.

The mission that Hong Yoo Ra gave Ma Te was to seduce 10 women and learn something from them to finally stand on high position so that he could face Na Hong Ra. The first woman was Jaek He (or Jackie) who was willing to marry with Ma Te, especially because they were dating even before he knew Yoo Ra. Jaek He also was my favorite woman of all of them, because she was really sincere. The second lady was Electric Fairy, so called clairvoyant, whose powers until the end were not confirmed to be neither true nor false. I did feel sorry for her in the end, but most of the time, she was rather eccentric. Kim In Joong is the woman who knows everything and has a lot of contacts. She is the only woman who gets really dangerous to Ma Te and she made me think funny things.
Ma Te is so willing to flirt and seduce women, but he is sure just a little boy when it comes to bedroom talks - were really so many woman from his previous relationships willing to have no action in bed? I think that she is the only one, whom Ma Te did not care about. The fourth woman is Myo Mi, the biggest talent in Korea, but rumors say that she is lesbian, which makes it difficult for Ma Te, but Myo Mi has even more secrets to hide. Fifth one is spoiled Kwi Ji who addresses Ma Te as "doll who she wants to buy" and she literally tries to buy him. But every brat must grow up and the fastest way is the hard way.
After 5th woman things got out of hands, because there were only some episodes left so no time to tell anything specific about them. There were two Kim's, one powerful detective, who seemed to hate chaebols and sent them all to jail and Yeo Kim who was very good hacker. I did not understood what exactly did they teach him, but they sure were useful later. I will leave the last three women for you to decide, but I say that they come really logically. Funny thing is that even though the plan was made by Yoo Ra, she actually had planned only the first women for him, because everyone else just happened to come into his life.

"Bel Ami" has a lot of sappy stories, back-stabbing and very confusing relations. I even did not understand who was who to who and how many sons did that man have! The more it got to the end, the more it looked hasty and rushed. It seems that scriptwriters again forgot how many episodes they have. I think it might have been a bit better with less drama, because I got really tried of these reverses.


SPOILER-review
: I am not sure what to think of it all. I think it is too much drama that David turned out to be the real son and Ma Te was actually long lost son of Na Hong Ra. He went to search his father, but found his mother..  I was literally waiting that actually Bo Tong was somebody else too! Not to mention that both Ma Te and David had so difficult lives behind them. Logically, Na Hong Ra should have been sentenced to jail, because she did organize the death of some people and she was corrupted, but looks like everyone just forgot it in the end and let her nurse her husband.

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