This week brought with it the end of KBS’ historical drama, Joseon Gunman, which means this weekend is the perfect time to marathon this rather epic drama.
Starring Lee Joon Ki, Nam Sang Mi, Yu Oh Seong, Jun Hye Bin, Otani Ryohei, Han Joo Wan and Choi Jae Hwan, Joseon Gunman combines the struggles of a country in upheaval as it seeks modernization and enlightenment, the drama of a young couple’s ill-fated love and a healthy dose of revenge, to bring us the birth of a nation’s hero. Park Yoon Kang (Lee Joon Ki), had the perfect life, his father was well-respected as the head of the King’s Guards, he had an adoring little sister and he was on the brink of proposing marriage to the love of his life, Jung Soo In (Nam Sang Mi) but all that changed in an instant, when his father was murdered at the hands of Choi Wan Shin (Yu Oh Seong). Suddenly hunted down as a traitor, Yoon Kang must abandon his sister to a life of slavery as he attempts to flee the country, vowing to someday return, to free his sister and exact his revenge.
What starts out as your rather typical revenge story quickly morphs into something so much more epic in scale which really took me by surprise. I really wasn’t expecting this drama to move far beyond the typical tragic love story, doomed to fail as the hero ruins his life by seeking to avenge his father’s death, but it did. Somewhere around the middle, the whole scale of this drama took on a much wider scope and before I knew what was happening, I was caught up in a story more about the struggles of a country yearning to be part of the modern world and a hero who decides to look beyond his own nose and take up the cause of the people.
While Park Yoon Kang may not be as tragically heroic as William Wallace or as chivalrous as Robin Hood, he does still manage to find a way to play a part in both a rebellion and a country’s reformation, all while slowly morphing into a champion of the people. With this story being what it is, there’s a lot of political drama going on which, to be honest, kind of bogs down the pacing at times but I suppose you can’t really have a story about a country’s cry for reformation without it so it’s to be expected. What’s unexpected is how well the story of the characters is developed and how much you find yourself caring for them by the end. I really have to give props to the script writers on this one. They took a small piece of history and embellished it with such rich characters, that you find yourself wishing they were real so you could look them up in the history books and learn more about them. Seriously, all of the influential characters in this story are very well written and I found myself completely engrossed in their story, so much so that by the end, I was suffering from some major feels.
Whether historical dramas are your thing or not, I would definitely recommend you check out Joseon Gunman. It was an entertaining and interesting story full of intriguing characters and a fast-moving plot, all set in an age where honor, pride, greed and ambition are all played out in the most epic and dramatic ways. Of course once you do watch it, be sure to come back and tell me what you thought of it by leaving me a comment below!