[K-DRAMA] Faith (2012)

warning: may contain spoilers

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Set during the Goryeo Dynasty wherein a cosmetic surgeon time travels to the past.

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Plot:

King of Goryeo, Gongmin returns to Goryeo after marrying the Yuan Princess Noguk. On their way back, they were attacked and the Queen’s life was in danger. Advisers suggested that they look for “Hwata”; the Chinese surgeon sent from heaven. The King orders General Choi Young to enter the passageway and look for Heaven’s doctor. Choi Young time travels to the present day time and found cosmetic surgeon/doctor named Yoo Eun Soo. He successfully brought her back and Eun Soo saved the Queen’s life. Many were awed by her “power” to heal the Queen. She was then called the “High Doctor” and there was a rumour that she was a descendant of Hwata. Choi Young promised to bring her back, but the King forces her to stay seeing that she can be useful. Seeing the chance to escape, the portal suddenly closes. Eun Soo had no choice but to stay and wait for the portal to open again. Political problems arise as Prince of the Court, Ki Chul, wants to eradicate the King. He also became fascinated by the High Doctor because of her “power” to see the future. He also wants to go to “heaven” with her. However, Ki Chul is a possessive and evil man. Will the King be able to fight against Ki Chul? Will the portal open again and will Eun Soo be able to go back to her own life again? And will Choi Young be able to protect the two of them?

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Opinions:

It’s my first time to watch a Korean drama based from the Goryeo Dynasty. It was very different from Joseon Dynasty where people wear beautiful hanbok and it was more peaceful. Goryeo looked a lot like Chinese to me especially the clothes and the architecture. It was evident that they were influenced by the Yuan Dynasty in China. I’m awed by the stage design and the props and everything about the background setting. It was obvious that they spent lots of money on it. I’m not really familiar with Korean history but I didn’t quite liked the retelling of the story. I really think the storyline should be written more precise and shorter. The language used was also questionable. I’m not good in Korean, but I can distinguish if they speak in formal or informal; Seoul or Busan accent, etc. However when I hear them talk, it seemed like the High Doctor and Choi Young were speaking the same language. Is it just me or did you noticed this too? I’ve watched another drama called Queen In Hyun’s Man, but you can definitely notice that the male lead was from the past and the female lead was from the present simply by their way of speaking.

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Time traveling stories are interesting, but a basic thing that one has to take note of is the method used to time travel. It definitely has to make sense. Here in Faith, they used the very old fashioned way of time traveling which is a passageway or portal and it close and open sesames at a certain time. It’s very easy to understand this process. I find it too ordinary though. I still enjoyed other time traveling stories than this drama. Take the example of Nine Times Travel and Queen In Hyun’s Man. Their time travels also made sense but they just showed it in a more creative way.

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Time to rant! First of all, I don’t like those inner powers and magic stuff that these characters possess. One reason why I didn’t like watching Chinese historical dramas was because they look weird with that flying and magic powers. I didn’t like how this drama incorporated “power” into the characters. It just made everything unrealistic and fake. During the first few episodes, Eun Soo actually stabbed Choi Young. It seemed that he was going to die, but which male lead will actually die on the first few episodes? Of course, he made it alive. However when they told the story about the Jeok Wol Dae leader, it became contradicting. The leader died because he was stabbed by the then King. It’s a similar situation, but why the outcome was different? Can somebody explain this to me? lol I also didn’t like how the palace seemed to be a public place. Those villains can enter in and out easily. The palace soldiers and Woodalchi boys don’t seem fit enough to guard the palace. The Woodalchi boys only showed their strength during the latter part of the drama. The retelling of the Jeok Wol Dae story was also funny. It suddenly became an animated drama? I was wondering if they lacked the time to film those scenes? Or did they forgot about it? Or they were just lazy? It’s a first to see something animated and cartoon in a Korean historical drama. I just found it unprofessional.

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Furthermore, the storyline itself was lacking. I felt that the characters were running around in circles. The story became repetitive as the High Doctor goes to the Prince of Court even if she knows he’s evil. Choi Young then get her back and protected her. I really find the drama boring. The jokes aren’t even half funny. I had to take a break at episode 11 and watch another show to prevent me from falling asleep over and over again. lol I think the best parts came when the Uncle of the King finally joined the game at around episode 15. I think those were the most interesting parts, because he really did played a lot with the Prince of the Court and the High Doctor and even Choi Young. His tricks are clever yet amusing.

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The choice of the actors were so-so. Philip Lee who portrayed Doctor Jang is a handsome man. It’s a pity that he was forced to drop out of the drama because of an accident. I mean this guy had so much potential and his character was very important, I heard. However throughout the drama, I don’t think his character was utilised very well. All the focus went to Lee Min Ho. He deserves credit too. Moving on to the next is the King. Like seriously? I don’t think of him as a candidate to be the King. It’s always amusing to see scenes with the King and all the soldiers together in a full view. You can notice that he is shorter than all of them. It’s just..just not a good sight to see visually. lol Nonetheless, one of the good things that I liked about the drama was the King and Queen’s love story. I felt that they had a better love story to tell than Choi Young and High Doctor. It’s just that the actors chosen for the King and Queen weren’t the best choice.

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Characters:

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Lee Min Ho as General Choi Young This is not my favourite role of Lee Min Ho. I prefer and loved his role more in City Hunter. I’ve seen many of his dramas (City Hunter, Boys Over Flowers, The Heirs) and am I the only one who thinks that he acts almost the same in every drama that he portrayed. Or it’s just that the roles are very much similar to one another? Lee Min Ho is really popular to the point that regardless of how he acts, or how he sings, his concerts sell out and his dramas are successful more often than not. Whether you’re his fan or not, it’s more likely that you’ll watch his dramas because people always talk about his dramas and you’d be curious that you can’t afford to miss it.

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Kim Hee Sun as Yoo Eun Seo — This is my first time watching a Kim Hee Sun drama and I don’t know her prior to this drama. Her role, Yoo Eun Seo, can get annoying at times. I mean, when she first arrived to Goryeo Dynasty, she was literally freaking out. She complains a lot and just couldn’t be calm. I can’t help but compare her to other “time travellers” like Dr. Jin and the guy in Queen In Hyun’s Man. Both guys were calm and tried to adapt to things passively, but the High Doctor didn’t. I guess we can see a difference to how men and women react when they time travel. lol It’s also Eun Seo’s personality that made her that way. In my honest opinion, I don’t think Kim Hee Sun was the best choice for the role.

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During the start, the chemistry between the two leads was kinda awkward. Viewers hated Kim Hee Sun for Lee Min Ho because she was older than him. People were suggesting that a younger actress should portray the role. I didn’t like her that much too, but as episodes passed they somehow clicked for me. It doesn’t look awkward anymore despite the 10 year age gap. I think it’s because of the characters that they portray. General Choi Young was very mature and serious in handling things while Eun Seo doesn’t take things that seriously. The character’s personality was younger than what she should be. Not the best couple out there, but as episodes passed, the age gap wasn’t much noticeable anymore.

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Ending:

I was not contented with the ending. It’s another open ended story because we don’t know what the future lies ahead of them. A smile was quite vague. Will the High Doctor go back to ‘heaven’ or stay? Also, she had to time travel several times just to get to the exact time, but since she couldn’t arrive at the exact time, she ended up time traveling to five years later. It can be confusing and one couldn’t understand right away. Didn’t Choi Young and the High Doctor time traveled only once during the first episode? They just made it more confusing. The High Doctor should’ve traveled once only. In my opinion, the High Doctor plans to stay and be with Choi Young. I mean, she completely abandoned her life in ‘heaven’ when she went back there. I also felt that everything was rushed during the last episode. If the villains were killed so easily, why did Choi Young just killed them now. lol We also don’t know what happened to the Prince of Court and to the King and Queen. Ending a time traveling story is the most challenging and hardest part. I’m just not satisfied with the ending.

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Soundtrack:

Just like other Korean soundtracks, it’s another job well done. I loved the theme song called “Carry On” by Ali. It has a magical and time travel feel to it. It’s a beautiful song. “Bad Guy” by Jang Hye Jin sounds very modern with the rapping by MC Sniper. It makes a lot of difference with and without the rap. Personally, I loved it with the rap. The whole soundtrack was very pleasing to listen to and the instrumentals actually compliment the scenes in the drama.

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Final Thoughts:

Faith was named as one of the biggest K-drama flop of the year 2012. In all honesty, I have to agree. 24 episodes was too much for a plot like this and I felt that the story was just going around in circles. They could’ve made it 16 episodes but they dragged it way too long. I still applaud the writers for making the effort to actually write something that long. lol The drama also didn’t make profit which resulted to non-payment of the actors’ talent fees. This controversy prohibited the drama to even succeed internationally. I guess the only good thing about it was Lee Min Ho’s popularity that made the drama more “commercialised”. The plot had so much potential with so many potential actors and a big big budget. I just think they lacked execution. I don’t think I’ll recommend this to anyone but Lee Min Ho fans. I hoped fans will enjoy his handsome face. lol

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Rating: 3/10

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