[K-DRAMA] King 2 Hearts (2012)

warning: may contain spoilers

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A drama wherein South Korea’s Crown Prince fell in love with a North Korean female officer. Will war arise or reunification happen?

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Plot:

A fictional drama, the form of government used in South Korea is constitutional monarchy which was descended from the Joseon Dynasty. Lee Jae Kang, the King, one day, decides to let his little brother join a military training together with North Korea as a way for him to “grow up”. Lee Jae Ha, the younger brother, doesn’t care anything about politics nor about his role as a Crown Prince. He was against the training but had no choice because he was tricked by his own brother. Meanwhile in North Korea, Kim Hang Ah is a Special Forces Officer who is the sole woman who would be joining the joint military training. The training was set to form a good relationship between the two countries. During the members’ first meeting, they showed hatred towards one another. Coincidentally, Jae Ha was assigned to be roommates with Hang Ah. They developed feelings and fell in love with one another. After Jae Ha went back to South Korea, an arranged marriage was talked about and it has been agreed that Kim Hang Ah would be his fiancé. The marriage was not bound to happen soon as the leader of the Club M, John Mayer, recently came back to Korea to ruin their plans and the royal family so he can rule the country instead. What problems await the two lovers? Will the growing tension of the two countries hinder their love and their marriage?

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Opinions:

King 2 Hearts stars Lee Seung Gi and Ha Ji Won who are both famous celebrities in Korea. It makes one question as to why this drama got low ratings in spite of  their top status. I think that North-South relations is still a sensitive matter to Koreans that we foreigners will never understand. We also don’t know if those things showed in the drama were truly facts or made up. Moreover, it’s also a drama that was produced by South Koreans so we can never be assured if how they portrayed the North was indeed reality or not. Still, I applaud the producers for being so brave to create a drama that dealt with this sensitive issue. They also showed no bias in the drama. They didn’t show that South Koreans are better or what, but it was a fair game. IRIS was also a drama that dealt with North and South relations, but this drama takes it to the next level because they have a South Korean man and a North Korean woman who fell in love with each other. They aren’t ordinary citizens too, but they are both important in their own country. It made me ponder whether there’s a such a story similar to this in real life. It seems impossible for North and South to be united because of different ideas, beliefs, values, etc. Watching this drama made me all curious on how they will make “marriage” happen.

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Honestly, the first few episodes particularly episodes 1-4 didn’t want me to continue watching the drama. I find absurdity in many parts of the drama. One example would be running on the treadmill for the whole day. They couldn’t stop because the bomb timer will go off and it will explode. I don’t think a person running even for 2 consecutive hours will survive. Another example was also Jae Ha challenging himself to walk 60 km within a day. Yes, I think it’s possible, but didn’t he just finished running on the treadmill and he’s running with a bleeding leg?! I really wanted to roll my eyes while watching these particular scenes. It was also funny because they hired foreign bodyguards and extras to be part of the cast and allies of the villain. So, the bodyguard was talking to him in English and John Mayer responded in Korean. I think they hired so many foreigners to make it look international and look cool. But in all honesty, I really prefer Korean guys. lol I find the first few episodes confusing and there’s no point of direction. Many viewers eventually dropped the drama for the same reason. As you all know, once I’ve started watching a drama, I promised myself to never stop and just continue until the last episode. I think it’s another drama where I can say it takes time for you to like this drama. Despite the absurdities in the storyline, there’s so much more to look forward to with this drama, not to mention the actors and their character developments. One can see vast developments of the characters especially after Jae Ha became the King. Jae Ha became responsible and mature while Hang Ah’s femininity showed in spite of being trained as a North Korean officer.

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One thing that I liked about the drama was the villain. In many K-dramas, we usually have villains that are old, serious and just boooring. But here in this drama, the villain, John Mayer is funny, a lunatic and just exciting. I remembered the actor in IRIS, but his role there was not much memorable. His appearance in this drama completely surprised me because it was like 360 degrees different from his role in IRIS. His acting skills was definitely tested in this drama. During the start of the drama, I was somewhat confused who he really was. His scenes were vague and weird, but as episodes passed, he was just funny yet annoying. As a viewer, John Mayer succeeded in pissing me off but he’s so amusing that I didn’t want him to die. Even until the last episode, he’s still lunatic as ever. I will definitely remember John Mayer as one of my favourite villains.

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I find the chemistry between the two main leads was somewhat lacking. I realised that they have almost 10 year age gap wherein Ji Won is more older than Seung Gi. This wasn’t much noticeable though because of Seung Gi’s mature face. Lee Seung Gi and Ha Ji Won did so well in their respective roles, but they didn’t look good together in my opinion. I prefer Seung Gi with another actress and likewise with Ji Won. I really like the royal guard – Princess pairing better. Their chemistry surprisingly clicked. I didn’t anticipate it to happen, but their story was just cute and loveable. I even liked their story better than the King and the North Korean.  How I wished they have a happy ending too~

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Characters:

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Lee Seung Gi as Lee Jae Ha — This guy never fails to amaze me. Lee Seung Gi is very famous and is an all around entertainer. If you’re into K-variety, K-pop or K-dramas, then you won’t be able to miss him. I can’t believe that King 2 Hearts is only my second Lee Seung Gi drama. Loved his performance in Gu Family Book as well as in this drama. I think in all characters he’s portraying, he’s always playing the happy-go-lucky with 4D personality role. I am not complaining though because he’s very natural in portraying these kinds of roles. This role of Lee Jae Ha was really meant for Lee Seung Gi. We get to see a childish guy turned into a serious and mature guy towards the end of the drama. Also, Lee Seung Gi doesn’t need to act all handsome and gentleman for female viewers to like him. I think it’s his personality that shines the most and that’s what make him attractive.

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Ha Ji Won as Kim Hang Ah — Ha Ji Won is really a versatile actress; she can take different kinds of roles and do well every time. She portrays a North Korean officer who is good in martial arts and fighting skills. She also speaks in North Korean language. While many are annoyed by her accent, I felt that she studied and practiced hard to learn speaking that way. I don’t know if it’s accurate but I know that it’s hard to learn and adapt quickly. I also think she is very suitable for the role because of her tomboy personality. She had no problems dealing with fighting scenes and such. We also saw how the character Kim Hang Ah grew and matured through time. She isn’t just an officer, but she’s also an ordinary woman who wants to experience love.

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Jo Jung Suk as Eun Shi Kyung — Jo Jung Suk was unfamiliar to me but his acting in this drama really wowed me. I didn’t  notice him much during the first few episodes, but as episodes passed and as his scenes increased, I started to notice him. His facial expressions were poker face in many scenes because he was a royal guard, but during his interactions with the Princess, he seemed to be more at ease and gradually showed his shy facial expression. I think his role became important in the latter part of the drama. His relationship with his father and the truth about his father were very difficult to handle. The crying scene was very memorable and probably the highlight of his character. It was very realistic and touching. He really have great acting skills. Even if Seung Gi and the villain’s acting were superb, he didn’t let himself hide on their shadows. He tried his best to shine and I know he succeeded because many viewers applaud him for his good performance in this drama.

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Lee Yoon Ji as Lee Jae Shin — I know Lee Yoon Ji from Dream High. She was one of the teacher or instructor in there. During that time, I really didn’t notice her because all my focus went to the students. This time, she took a more bigger role as Princess Lee Jae Shin. I realised that she was pretty too because she had longer hair now and she looked more feminine. Her very big eyes somewhat annoyed me, nonetheless, her acting was also great. She’s also not a typical ”princess” with a princess-like attitude. She doesn’t dress like one and her personality is more outgoing and carefree. That’s what I loved about Yoon Ji’s portrayal of Princess Jae Shin. Her crying scenes were also very emotional and seemed so natural. Simply loved her in this drama!

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Ending: (spoilers)

The ending was predictable like many other dramas. Of course, North and South succeeded by joining hands together and the Royal Wedding that we have been anticipating finally pushed through. It would have been useless if none of these would happen. Lee Jae Ha and Kim Hang Ah deserved it for all the challenges given by John Mayer. One thing that shocked me was the royal guard’s death. It was simply an underserving death. Why do second male leads always die or why are they always left in misery during the end of the drama? I also realised some absurdity because Eun Shi Kyung immediately died after getting shot by the gun. But didn’t Hang Ah also got shot by a gun, not once, but twice?! She’s still alive and kicking though. I hate the fact that leads are immortal and immune to bullets most of the time and second leads have to sacrifice their lives. It doesn’t make sense at all. The Princess and the royal guard deserves a happy ending too.

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Soundtrack:

There are only 6 songs and the rest are instrumentals. “Missing You Like Crazy” is a track sung by SNSD’s Tae Yeon. It even won the best OST in Seoul international Awards. The chorus can be easily remembered and Tae Yeon’s voice was just attractive. “Love is Crying” by K. Will is another typical drama ballad with a wonderful tune. Actress Lee Yoon Ji who portrayed the Princess also contributed in the soundtrack by singing a song called “First Love”. It has a cute medley and there’s a “first love” feeling while listening to the song. I’m quite surprised because I didn’t know that she can sing so well. “The King” is the intro instrumental of the drama and I loved it even though it was just 1-minute long. It kind of represents the King 2 Hearts drama– action and royalty.

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Final Thoughts:

King 2 Hearts has superb cast and a not-so-nice plot. The first few episodes had ridiculous story line, but it gets better along the way. It’s a drama wherein you have to be patient because the good parts come during the latter part. The drama, however, did not receive enough love in Korea as well as internationally. Many factors contributed into this, but the biggest factor would be the North-South relations which is still a sensitive issue to Koreans. A quite interesting watch if one is interested in North-South relations, history and international relations. A plus factor of the drama would be the actors. Even if you’re not a fan of them, you’ll learn to like them in this drama.

Rating: 6/10

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