[K-DRAMA] Inspiring Generation (2014)

warning: may contain spoilers

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Plot:

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Inspiring Generation took place in the 1930s where people are still fighting for independence. Shin Jung Tae is a young man who makes a living for his sick sister and himself. He is willing to do any work just so he can pay for his sister’s surgery fees. He got into Dobi Gang, a famous gang in Shin Eun Joo who deals with smuggling goods from China. He was designated to smuggle goods to and fro China. Meanwhile, Jung Tae also coincidentally saved a young girl named Gaya Deguchi from random strangers on the road. They met again a few times after that and they began to have feelings for each other but a certain incident led them to end their friendship. One day when Jung Tae was accompanying Gaya to her home, they both saw Gaya’s father who was stabbed with a knife by Jung Tae’s father. Jung Tae’s father immediately left the scene to catch the real culprit. Jung Tae insisted that even if he hated his father, he would never kill a person. Gaya wouldn’t listen and vowed to make a revenge on Jung Tae and his father by killing both of them. Years later, they met again this time in Shanghai. Will Jung Tae be able to protect his father and bring the real culprit to Gaya? And will Gaya be able to keep her promise?

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Opinions:

Inspiring Generation had so much potential with the story, but with the change of writers and the setting moved to Shanghai weren’t any help at all. The story was quite good but I think the writer can do better. There were times when I got bored with the drama that I had to pause it for a while and do other things. There were way too many fighting scenes. Coming from a viewer who loves action dramas, it means that it was waaaaay too much. Fighting scenes in every episode was not necessary to the point that it looked so fake and it’s like full of gangsters. It was also draggy and many scenes were not much important. I think 16 episodes would do rather than 24 episodes. The plot in Shin Eun Joo and the Dobi Gang was already good enough. They just had to solidify the characters, but instead they kept on introducing new characters and the old characters were either buried or left. It was such a large scale drama and it seemed that they planned a lot of things but ended up only accomplishing a few things. The entrance and exit of characters just made it so confusing. I wondered why they had to move to Shanghai. I think the writer got too ambitious with wanting to capture 3 countries (Japan, Korea and China) in the story. Moreover, all these characters from different countries spoke the same language which is Korean. I mean, they could at least make some effort because I’ve seen other historical dramas that spoke different languages. Complaints aside, I loved the beautiful setting in Korea and China. I think it was the same shooting place for Bridal Mask and Basketball for the one in Korea. I loved how they spent a lot of time and effort in clothing and accessories. These made the characters appealing and come to life.

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In many dramas that I’ve watched, I’ve never seen a male lead who is so passive and weak. Jung Tae may be strong with his fighting skills, and aside from his long life, that’s just the only asset he has. Maybe he spent so much time with the leaders of Dobi Gang so he doesn’t have much leadership and needs others’ advice or guidance. When he moved to Shanghai, he literally didn’t know what to do. He needs to resort to fighting instead. It made me think that he wasn’t cool enough as a main lead. Both the leading ladies were weak too. They just didn’t stand out that much when they were supposed to. I don’t know if it’s the writer or the actors’ fault. Also, the main villain was weak too. Seul Doo Sung had brains but he isn’t that witty too. Without Wang Baek San, he’s literally nothing but a fat old man. lol And I wondered why these organisations are the ones taking control of the government? Why does the Chirinbang have a big say and influence on them? Why doesn’t the government have any say to this? Is the government=organization? This part confused me, but I guess it’s really a gangster drama after all.

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For some weird reason, I loved the little romance in the story. It was what I was looking forward the most. Jung Tae and Ok Ryun’s love story is the cutest thing in the drama. I know it’s the typical girl chases cool guy but I find Jin Se Yeon perfect for the role. Jung Tae wasn’t sincere with her in the beginning as he was more focused with his fighting and he still left a space for Gaya in his heart. But as the episodes passed and when it was nearing the end, Jung Tae cared for Ok Ryun so much. It could’ve been nice if the romance was developed.

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Kim Soo Ok (portrayed by Kim Jae Wook) was such a total waste. I didn’t understand why Jae Wook had to drop out from the drama. I knew Kim Jae Wook from Who Are You? and he was such a cutie there and he knew how to speak Japanese. Why not give him a Japanese role instead? Forming a love triangle would be so much interesting. It’s a total talent wasted.

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The main reason why I came to watch this drama is because of Kwak Dong Yeon who portrayed the young version of Shin Jung Tae. A trainee/actor in FNC Entertainment who has caught my attention in special drama called Adolescence Medley. He showed great acting skills in that drama and I was craving for more of him. I promised myself that I would watch Inspiring Generation just to see him. I was sad after learning that he only appeared in 4-5 episodes. He was amazing as a young actor and he did better than the adult version. And so do the other child actresses. I wished they extended the childhood scenes a bit because they did so much better! I hope FNC will not stop him from being successful and continue to pick good dramas for him. I can’t wait for the day that he will be known as a great young actor too.I thought I would be disappointed that Dong Yeon would be gone so soon but there were many eye candies that I didn’t expect to appear in this drama.

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1. Jo Dong Hyuk as Shinichi — This guy from Bad Guys was perfect for the role as Gaya’s bodyguard. He looks best in suits and I never imagined that he would look good in a Japanese attire as well. I was rather disappointed when he kinda faded out when the setting was moved to Shanghai. Isn’t he supposed to be with Gaya all the time? Why did Yamamoto ended up becoming her bodyguard instead? Nonetheless, I was happy to see Dong Hyuk in this drama. I just wished he took a more major role.

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2. Yoon Hyun Min as Toyama Aoki — A really cool and funny sidekick in Heartless City has made another appearance in this drama. I did not expect he would join this drama too and it was quite a big role. I was actually waiting for another drama where I could see him again. Although not his best role, I think he was great in portraying the role of Aoki. He certainly annoyed Jung Tae with his cunning skills. I can’t wait to see more from Yoon Hyun Min in his future dramas!

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3. Song Jae Rim as Mo Il Hwa — His first appearance in this drama cracked me up because he was wearing this long Chinese gown. It certainly did not suit his manly style. I also find it weird why he had to put on a reddish lipstick when he looks absolutely fine without it. It kind of distracted me at one point. Nevertheless, I still loved his role in here. His character, in my opinion, wasn’t utilised to the fullest, but he definitely helped Jung Tae in saving Bangsamtong.

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4. Kim Sung Oh as Jung Jae Hwa — He’s not supposed to be in this list but he deserves a special mention and I was so happy to see him! He was so funny in When A Man Loves and I didn’t expect that he would be a show stealer for almost half of the drama. I think he’s the character that I would probably remember the most in this drama.

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Inspiring Generation had a big big cast and I’ve seen many of the supporting characters in other dramas. Props to the big cast because they did a great job in portraying their respective roles. Let’s move on to the main characters..

Characters:

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Kim Hyun Joong as Shin Jung Tae — The only drama that I’ve seen Hyun Joong was in Boys Over Flowers and that was still in 2009! In this drama, he showed an image which was different from the reserved and nice guy in BOF. I was quite surprised myself because I didn’t expect him to be good in action and fighting scenes. I think what I remembered most from him was not those “talking scenes” but more on the fighting scenes. His appeal and popularity was first lead worthy and i think his overall acting was okay too. Despite his own drama he’s facing in real life, I wish him the best in whatever plans he have in the future.

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Im Soo Hyang as Lady Gaya Deguchi — Although she appeared in Paradise Farm, I couldn’t remember her role there so I would consider this my first Im Soo Hyang drama. Her role in here wasn’t much memorable and questionable. I don’t know if she’s supposed to be the female lead or the second female lead. I assume it’s the second female lead, since the spotlight moved to Korea-China relations instead of Korea-Japan relations during the latter part. It’s like she faded out as well. She mostly had a no reaction face or just showing few facial expressions so it’s hard to judge her acting skills. But this dark and mysterious character suits her face.

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Jin Se Yeon as Kim Ok Ryeon — I’ve seen her in Bridal Mask as well and her acting was quite similar to her acting here. In a span of 1-2 years, she wasn’t able to improve much. I think she’s just lucky that she got her name out there because of her leading men and the successful dramas she’s in. She’s young and pretty, but there’s still a long way for her to go. I wouldn’t classify her as one of the worst Korean actresses though. I wished she could improve her acting skills and be a better actress that most of the people hope her to become.

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Ending:

The ending wasn’t much of a twist since it would be likely that Jung Tae would save Bangsamtong. I’m just curious on how Jung Tae would do that. Jung Tae made Seol Doo Sung suffer so much but in the end he still did not ask for forgiveness. He didn’t realised the mistakes he have done. It was also unfortunate that Ok Ryung had to die. She also died in her other drama 😦 I was kind of expecting it as well, but I wished the writer gave Jung Tae a happy love life. He saved Bangsamtong after all. Didn’t he deserve his happy ending too? Ok Ryung didn’t deserve to die too because she waited all the time. I pitied her instead. At least Jung Tae and Chung Ah reunited in the end. It didn’t end with a bang but at least questions weren’t left hanging open.

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Soundtrack:

I was slightly disappointed because there’s no official soundtrack released. The songs were nice and fit for the scenes in the drama. The Road by Rhosy is such a cool rock song that perfectly fits the fighting scenes. Honestly, I loved this song the most out of all the soundtrack released this 2014 so far. Good Day To Die by J2M is a good rock song too. For ballads, I liked When Today Passed by Kim Hyun Joong the most. I only found 7 songs from the drama and they are worth checking out!

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Final Thoughts:

Inspiring Gangsters..erm.. I mean Inspiring Generation had a lot of potential to be a hit drama with the given plot and the long list of cast members. I feel sad when everything was laid out perfectly but the writers failed to impress me. There were many interesting parts but there were way too many fighting scenes and it was way too long which turned me off. I admit that there were a lot of good things than the bad; and the beautiful setting and characters made up for the upsetting storyline. This drama is worth a try though to anyone who’s looking for an action drama set in the 1930s. Kim Hyun Joong fans will be delighted to watch this too for the different and mature image that he showed through this drama. And don’t forget to look out for the eye candies that will inspire you to watch this drama 🙂

Rating: 7/10 

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