Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Review:// Scholar Who Walks the Night
Kim Sung Yeol (Lee Jun Ki) is a vampire who has been searching 120 years for the secret method for defeating the tyrannical vampire Gwi who controls the palace. Jo Yang Sun (Lee Yoo Bi) is a bookseller who was raised as a boy and continues to disguise herself to earn a living for her family. Fate brings them together in a bloody quest to save the country.
The Good: The storyline and characters were interesting, and even though it didn't reach its full potential, the drama was enjoyable to watch. It offered political intrigue, romance, mystery, horror, and the very beautiful Lee Soo Hyuk as Gwi.
The Bad: The leads did quite a bit of over-acting. It may have been the director pushing them to open their eyes wider and deepen their expressions; a bit distracting, but forgivable. However, with the exception of Gwi, the vampires made such exaggerated grimaces and rolling of their eyes that it looked comical. Director Lee Sung Joon of The Moon Embracing the Sun fame, does not have experience with supernatural or horror productions and it shows.
Jin Se Yun was originally offered the role of Jo Yang Sun, and I think she would have done a better job. Yang Sun is an earnest woman with a child-like sense of wonder. Lee Yoo Bi portrayed her as not just child-like, but as if she were a child. Despite that, there was some chemistry between the leads, however, I kept wondering how in the world a grown man could fall in love with someone who seemed 10 years old.
The ending was lukewarm, evoking no real emotion after all that build up. The last scene seemed to be thrown in as an afterthought that had no explanation. I was expecting more from writer Jang Hyun Joo who previously worked on Coffee Prince and Paradise Ranch.
Though there were a lot of negatives, the drama was visually beautiful, the cast of side characters was lovable, and the story was interesting enough to carry me through to the end.
Scholar Who Walks the Night is based on the manhwa Bameul Geotneun Sunbi written by Jo Joo Hee, and wonderfully drawn by Han Seung Hee. Unfortunately it is not licensed in English and there are no scanlations available. I would love to be able to read it and compare the storyline with the drama.