The Full Sun (Beyond the Clouds) Initial Review / Preview : Standard… what else to say?

Hello. This is a Korean in America. Amist the mediocre Korean drama showings of early 2014, we have a new show. Is “The Full Sun” an exception or just more of the same mediocrity?
This is my Initial Review of the first 2 episodes.

Korean dramas have a limited range of subjects it covers. Some of the most common subjects are “The Rich are bad!” and “I want revenge!... but have not really thought about whether I should”. The combination of those two subjects is “The Full Sun” or “Beyond the Clouds” if you watch this show via #Viki.

The #Viki translated title does not make any sense but that #Viki for you!

To be frank, in contrast to its overall increase in popularity in international markets, the overall quality of Korean dramas has declined significantly compared to the 2000s. The 2000s was the golden age of Korean dramas when the influence of J-dramas and U.S. shows started to ignite a strong spark of creatively not characteristic of Korea. As a result, many unique, for Korean dramas, were made and the basic framework of what would be defined as Korean dramas were established.

Then it ended not with a bang but with a whimper.

Korean dramas were still being made. To be more accurate, with the rise of cable original programming, more shows were being made than ever. However, they just seemed to be rehashing old stories and formulas with a rotating set of new actors who have questionable credentials and with a new gimmick.

Now, many of the Korean dramas ranged from terrible to mediocre in term of quality. In regard to what they are, it is the same old and same old. This applies to the popular Korean dramas also who rely on stunts/gimmicks more than ever.

Same old and same old… what a good description of “The Full Sun”

The Plot
The count of monte cristo”… Korean dramas should really pay a lot of licensing fees to French author, Alexandre Duma. Koreans love their revenge stories and many Korean dramas use the basic plot of “The count of monte cristo”. This is the same for “Pride & Prejudice” by Jane Austen. But they have been gone for centuries and their works are public domain.

Heww… That’s money saved. (I am rubbing my hands together)
Or in Korean…”money has solidified!”

“The Full Sun” is a standard “The count of monte cristo” based Korean revenge story with all its convoluted plots, forced character motivations, and blue collar sense of “Self-righteousness”. In other words, it is a standard Korean revenge story.

Our male protagonist is a rather dimwitted son of a con-man who weirdly somehow thinks he is going to be a diplomat.

Why do I say it’s weird?

All of his books he is studying are legal books. I thought he was taking the bar exam for a while before the show awkwardly corrects this impression.

Our female protagonist is Han Ji-Hye’s stock ‘Candy’ character but now she is a daughter of a big Jewelry producer. And, if you have seen any of Han Ji-Hye’s Korean drama characters, you’ve seen them all.

She really looks like the candy character with her dimwitted innocent face and large eyes.

The fact that she is always type casted is a shame since I have always liked her as an actress. In “I Summon You, Gold!” she did something different which I liked. But that show devolved into a mess and you could read my review of that show here.

So, we have our protagonist couple. But we need the tragedy!  Insert a mustache twirling standard rich guy as our female protagonist’s father and you have an instant ‘tragedy’ with all the nutrition of an instant ramen bowl. Still we need something else…

We need to connect the protagonist couple together. This is where the double crossing con-man who is the father of the male protagonist and the idiot boyfriend of the female protagonist who thinks it is a good idea to threaten the mustache twirling bad guy without any precautions.

Now we have everything we need.

Being mediocre and being stupid
There have been many decent “The count of monte cristo” based Korean revenge stories. However, “The Full Sun” is not one of them. While it is not terrible, it does not bring anything new to the table. It opens with the whole “starting with the ending and flashing back” technique. This has been overused in Korean dramas to the point that it has become an irritating cliché.

The whole jewelry company back drop has already been used a bunch of times. Han Ji-Hye’s last drama, “I Summon You, Gold!”  , had a jewelry company back drop. Even the description of the male protagonist is standard with the blue-collar young man trying to get ahead by studying but is really an idiot.

Nothing is new!

At the same time, the plot is rather stupid to be exciting for a revenge drama. If you look closely, there are only two reasons that male protagonist went to jail for a crime he did not commit. First, he is an idiot who haplessly meddled in his con-man father’s caper. Second, his con-man father tried to double cross his crew. The actual plot point regarding the actual crime the male protagonist was convicted for had nothing to directly do with him.

So, who is to blame?

Rather murky for a good revenge story. So, the bad guy had to be a typical ‘mustache twirling bad guy father’ which does not help the quality of the story. In addition, there are a lot of well-worn plot contrivances in the show.

Example would be the female protagonist not knowing who was convicted of killing her boyfriend in order for the following “I fell in love again but he was the person who was wrongly convicted of killing my boyfriend who was actually killed by my father” plot line. Another example is that the male protagonist getting released from a Bangkok prison only after 5 years on a murder charge.  It would not happen.

Even “The count of monte cristo” spend more time in jail.
It does not help that reading books for 5 years made the male protagonist an expert on Jewelry

At the end
“The Full Sun” is a very standard “The count of monte cristo” based Korean revenge story.

The characters are nothing special.
It is so predictable on how the story will unravel.

There is nothing new that the show brings to the table. On the other hand, it is not terrible. The acting is just OK. The visual design and direction is also just OK.

It is just OK!

I will have to give this show a pass recommendation. At my age, life seems too short to waste on such as non-entity show like “The Full Sun”.

I would rather watch a terrible Korean drama instead.
At least, more to learn from it.

If you are young and really bored, you will not be offended by the show though…

Grade: C-

Streaming Link: Viki

1 comment:

  1. Hi a Korean in America,

    Except for proposal daikusen I'ver watched all the other series in your double drama review. And my opinion is pretty close to yours. I also watched the Departed and inferno affairs and liked both except for diCaprio. And i loved my Sassy girl but I don't want to imagine how hollywood adapted it. So do you think the adaptability of a story is dependent on it's cultural content? Because it's seemed to me that stories about dating like my Sassy girl is really dependent on context the Korean dating culture. While universal story about spies/cops will probably work in any kind of setting.