K-Drama Review: Chuno aka The Slave Hunters

K-Drama Review: Chuno aka The Slave Hunters. That wonderful drama will make you feel excited!

Most sageuk, or historical dramas, airing in Korea deal primarily with the lives of their royals from centuries past: their palace intrigues, family rivalries, discords, and power grabs. Chuno aka “The Slave Hunters” (2010) is refreshingly and excitingly different. The royals are only a backdrop here. More sort of a Spartacus story, Chuno gives a voice to the people that suffered under the kings, the common folk whose lives were cheap fodder to royalty, to be controlled, manipulated, and enslaved whenever possible, to suit their whims and political purposes, and to extend their treasuries through slave labors. Royals built their fortunes on these people, but the slaves were accorded no rights or privileges.

“Chuno” is an epic tale of the primary degree, whose ratings reached 31% to 36% nationwide in Korea, while the bulk of K-dramas average between 5% to 10%. it is a feast for the eyes and ears; the show was filmed in 16:9 widescreen sort of a theater movie, and therefore the cinematography is that the best I’ve ever seen in an exceedingly Korean drama since the assembly used a powerful Red One Camera which is excellent for panoramic shots. The music soundtrack is stunning, with a pleasant sort of vintage and modern flavors, very just like an Ennio Morricone film score (though honestly? even BETTER). Outstanding!

The main characters of “Chuno”

Also, a feast for the eyes is that the cast; all the male leads are in their thirties with well-established careers and reputations. No flower boys for the teenage set here! Chuno could be a show for mature audiences instead. we’ve got Jang Hyuk (“Thank You”, “Beautiful Mind”, “Midas”) because the lead, a powerful actor who can portray many alternative varieties of characters with a fascination few others can rival; Oh Ji Ho because the second male lead, who is so exceptionally beautiful to seem at and watch, with those deep intelligent eyes of his and his soulful demeanor, that he often steals scenes removed from everyone else, including Jang Hyuk! “How can any man look so handsome in rags?” I wondered. Every scene he was in i used to be mesmerized by him, and couldn’t look for a flash, and he quickly became my favorite character and actor within the show; also rounding out an unbelievably ravishing to appear at male cast is actor Han Jung Soo (“Arang and the Magistrate”, “Prosecutor Princess”) as Jang Hyuk’s most dependable friend within the story, a tall actor with a stunning physique additionally, whose character was primarily a quiet, philosophical soul but who, when he spoke, always made you concentrate deeply along with his perception and wisdom; then we’ve got the actor who brought the foremost humor to the story, Kim Ji Suk (“Personal Taste”, “Cheongdeom-dong Alice”), because the randy libertine of the group, but nevertheless who also sported a fine strong physique all his own; joined of the villains, another good-looking male specimen, actor Lee Jong Hyuk (“A Gentleman’s Dignity” and “Green Rose”), may be a scene-stealer too, especially in sword-fighting scenes; and rounding out the foremost important male lead characters is great actor Gong Hyung Jin (“Alone In Love”), whose character often gave voice to the various slaves depicted within the story. within the last episode, his character gives us an awesome display of courage that made me whoop aloud with joy!

I’ve seen of these male actors in other shows, but together here their chemistry was outstanding: explosive perfection. Does any woman out there have a controversy watching a fashionable display of testosterone in action? No? I didn’t think so.

To stock up of these fascinating male leads, we have a female lead actress who is that the epitome of beauty and beauty, Lee Da Hae (“My Girl”, “Miss Ripley”, “Bandit”, “Green Rose”), who had probably the foremost challenging role of all, playing a girl loving with two men at the identical time. There’s much romance for the feminine viewer too, as most of the characters are very passionate people. All the characters, including many within the large supporting cast, grow emotionally during the run of the story, and lots developing courage and ethics they did not have earlier in their lives.

That’s the main reason I’ve got watched such a big amount of K-dramas: they never present characters as static people that are identical at the top as they were within the beginning, like in such a lot of boring American shows and films. Everyone’s lives here are fluid and changing constantly, leaving you wondering how it’ll all end up. “Chuno” is perhaps the smallest amount of predictable Korean drama I’ve got ever been fortunate enough to enjoy. Much of that should do with the good writer of the show Cheon Seong Il (who wrote the Ye Jin Son and Nam Gil Kim film “Pirates”), and also the director, Jung Hwan Kwak, who absolutely visited the town on Sergio Leone’s directorial style for his horse opera film classic “Once Upon A Time In The West”. It makes this drama rather more sophisticated than the much more sloppily told historical Korean drama Hong Gil Dong which didn’t win my praises.

Jang Hyuk and Lee Da Hae as secret sweethearts early in their lives

The Story of “Chuno”

At the start of Chuno, which takes place within the mid-17th century Joseon era when slavery was still in effect, we are given the royal history backdrop which sets the inspiration for our story. Weak King Injo (veteran actor Kim Kap Soo, who played the daddy within the classic film “A Tale Of Two Sisters”) is on the throne and his kingdom has seen two Manchu invasions within the preceding years, which had forced his son, prince Sohyeon (played by gentle actor Kang Sung Min who was the great psychiatrist in “49 Days”), into exile for years, and when he finally returns to Joseon within a month he dies under mysterious circumstances … in his father’s own study! to the current day, it’s not known whether he was stabbed by his own father (he had tried to bring Christianity and Western science into Joseon — oh! we couldn’t possibly have that!), or whether he was poisoned. Injo has his dead son buried quickly, with no pomp and circumstance, which alone is suspicious. Sohyeon’s wife also dies under mysterious circumstances, possibly poisoned, and her three young sons are exiled to Jeju, and just one survives, Seokgyeon (eventually Prince Gyeongan), who becomes the main focus of hope for the long run for several of the most characters within the story.

The suspicious deaths of royals often end in bloody political struggles, and this can be what happens here, too. Half the population of Joseon was slaves at now, ill-treated and given no rights to property or free speech. If they even glanced at a royal or member of the aristocracy they may be executed. They couldn’t marry or own a business without aristocratic approval, there have been no schools for them in order that they couldn’t read, they solely eked out a living for his or her owners. Those slaves who ran away were chased by bounty hunters/slave hunters and infrequently executed upon being returned to their masters.

“Young Master” becomes Dae-gil Lee, a famous chuno, or slave hunter. Incredible performance by Jang Hyuk!

In our story, male lead Jang Hyuk plays “Young Master”, a nobleman’s son by birth who falls enamored with an exquisite slave girl named Eunnyeon (Lee Da Hae). Their love must be treasured in secret; he tries to form her life easier in various ways as she goes about her chores, often chilled by winter weather, and once they are alone he promises her a future world where slavery is abolished and therefore the world is at rest.

However, their love is ultimately discovered and Eunnyeon is planned to be sold; her loving slave brother Keun-nom (Jo Jae-wan) is outraged and burns down the nobleman’s home and property, stabbing the owner to death and attempting to stab Young Master in addition, against the anguished cries of Eunnyeon’s protests as she looks on helplessly. After being stabbed in the face, Young Master collapses and appears to perish within the flames because the roof caves in. Keun-nom and Eunnyeon escape together and since their slave tattoos were on their chests and not their faces they stoically use hot irons to burn them off, making them appear as if regular scars. Slowly they start to change their identities and pose themselves as a part of an exiled aristocratic class. they modify their names to Hye-won Kim for Eunnyeon, and Seong-hwan Kim for Keun-nom, and therefore the brother even arranges a wedding for her with a middle-aged nobleman, which might thereafter safeguard her future in comfort. Although Hye-won sadly agrees and dresses the part for her wedding, she flees during preparation for the wedding ceremony. She escapes to the mountains and heads for a Buddhist temple as a topographic point. Her brother appeals for her life to the nobleman and declares he will track her down and return her to him. Will he be successful?

Kim Ji Suk as Wang-son “Big Hand” – he was a delight to watch as a wandering ladies man, who had an entire routine worked out so that he rarely missed a chance to seduce a lady – I laughed so hard at his antics! He was just perfect casting for this role.

However, Young Master had not been killed. together with his family and property gone and his heart devastated by the loss of Eunnyeon, his forehead and cheek permanently scarred by her brother’s sword, he steels himself to the lifetime of a thief and bounty hunter and re-names himself Dae-gil Lee. He privately promises himself that he will capture the 2 slaves who ruined his family and attain justice from them, although inside he still treasures romantic memories he had experienced with Eunnyeon. He learns his martial arts fighting skills from his first mentor, the flamboyant tradesman Jjak-gui (Ahn Gil-kang). they need an awfully caustic relationship, especially after Dae-gil manages to slice off a chunk of 1 of his ears during a fight!

By a series of rather amusing circumstances Dae-gil aligns himself with two new friends still, a mysterious traveler who calls himself General Janggoon Choi (Han Jung-soo) and therefore the happy-go-lucky pickpocket Wang-son “Big Hand” (Kim Ji Suk) who fancies himself quite the lady killer. Together they conceive to become a chuno team (slave hunters). A frequent rival and antagonist they face is that the often-laughing but really deadly serious renegade Ji-ho Chun (Dong-il Sung from “It’s Okay, That’s Love”) who is usually secretly paid by the aristocracy to challenge Dae-gil and his slave hunter team. Between Dae-gil and Ji-ho Chun and Jjak-gui there’s a love-hate relationship, with some surprising twists along the way because the story unfolds. Their relationships keep the audience on their toes because we never know if they’re going to fight, or simply have a drink together and laugh while insulting each other!

Song Tae-ha, once a general, was falsely accused of a crime and made a slave. Oh Ji Ho gives a new meaning to the term 2nd Male Lead Syndrome!

One of Dae-gil’s most lucrative jobs is to seek out a missing slave who had worked in an exceeding horse stable until a slave revolt had erupted and he had fleed, the sole one to survive. This on-the-run slave is none apart from a formerly popular and talented general under King Injo’s military wing named Song Tae-ha (my favorite actor, Oh Ji Ho) who had been cruelly framed as a thief of state crops by jealous military competitor Hwang Chul-woong and his fearsome nobleman father-in-law Lee Gyeong Sik (veteran actor Kim Eung-soo, who often plays dastardly characters). they’d ruined Song Tae-ha’s life by choice and that they don’t seem to be close to letting him remain at large and maybe improve his lot in life. Dae-gil is told he is given a fortune if he can capture Tae-ha within a month, after all, such a lot of money that he would be ready to retire permanently and buy some property for himself and his other slave hunters, who became like brothers to him. The offer is simply too good to pass up.

Two villains in Chuno you will love to hate, played by actors Lee Jong-hyuk and Kim Eung-soo; the older man controls the younger with bribes and through marriage to his handicapped daughter

As the chuno team starts to trace down Song Tae-ha’s whereabouts (with Dae-gil also looking for traces of Eunnyeon along the way, always carrying a drawing of her to indicate people), another quirky character starts to follow them and is slowly accepted by them, a female escapee of a strict traveling dance troupe, named Seol-hwa (cute actress Ha-eun Kim), who quickly starts to fall gaga with Dae-gil. Like Wang-son, she often brings some necessary humor and sentimentality to the chuno team, in order that they are not always seen as hard-hearted and cruel slave hunter bastards by others; in other words, she brings out their human side. from time to time, Dae-gil will even secretly allow some particularly hurt captured slaves to travel free, and tells their owners they were killed on the road instead.

That Red One Camera Takes Gorgeous Panoramic Shots! Here the Chuno Team and Seol-hwa make a dash for it across the plains

The most romantic (to me) parts of this epic tale were when the chivalrous former general, now-slave Tae-ha Song, and also the indomitable slave Eunnyeon, now Hye-won Kim link up and begin to assist one another out while on the run from the slave hunters. Both of them disguise to every other initiative that they’re slaves on the run, giving other excuses, but eventually both their ruses to every other are revealed, when Tae-ha’s headscarf is brought to a halt his head revealing his slave tattoo on his forehead, and when Hye-won becomes ill and injured and Tae-ha should remove her blouse to treat her and sees her chest scar, which he quickly perceives to be a trial to disguise that she was a slave. They quickly realize what proportion they share in common. Their very long time together on the run is full of suspense and turbulence but results in a wonderfully romantic companionship for the viewer to enjoy, as old lies and subterfuges die, and new trust and affection begins growing between them.

Thrown together first by necessity and then finally by love, Tae-ha and Hye-won’s relationship grows slowly and beautifully. After his slavery scar is revealed to her, Hye-won makes a new forehead band for him to cover it up.

Tae-ha is that the perfect gentleman and understands that she still hasn’t forgotten a former love whom she believes died tragically, so he never overtly approaches her in any sensual manner: it’s more evidence that they need began to fall dotty by their surreptitious glances toward each other, and tender ministrations during times of injury. Hye-won couldn’t have asked for a more astute traveling companion: a former military general knows many tactics to camouflage their path to outsiders, and Tae-ha can fool Dae-gil time and again on where they’re headed.

Dae-gil’s determination becomes all the more fierce when he begins to suspect that his former slave Ennyeon and therefore the former general he’s being paid a fortune to trace down and capture is, in fact, actually traveling together on their journey to avoid his capture. His thirst for revenge seems doubled, then he hears rumors that his Ennyeon might actually be married to the person he seeks to capture as an elusive slave. His friends caution him to tread carefully where she is worried if they ever manage to search out her. Old feelings cannot be allowed to hamper their professional pursuits.

Tae-ha manages to satisfy up with former allies who know he was framed for a criminal offense he didn’t commit, and he also takes clandestine charge of the only surviving child of the deceased prince Sohyeon, named Seokgyeon (eventually Prince Gyeongan) who is simply four years old at now. Tae-ha’s succor, the portly but strong soldier named Han-seem Kwak (an OUTSTANDING actor named Cho Jin-woong, whose performance made me cry numerous times during the drama) delivers the kid to him after the governess caring for the kid was brutally killed. He had loved this woman and had promised they might be together someday, but now it absolutely was never to be.

Hidden temporarily in an exceedingly safe place, donning better clothes and a safer outlook for a short time, Tae-ha finally gets up his courage to propose to Hye-won. She believes she has finally come to terms with the loss of her “Young Master” to death, and with great affection for the person who has protected her and cherished her for therefore long, she agrees to the proposal.

With little Seokgyeon present, whom they’re getting down to think about as their own child, they marry — but incredibly, Dae-gil shows au courant the date of their marriage, and seeing the insufficient boy between them as they stare upon one another amorously, he assumes the kid is their own and that they are indeed happily married. Grief-stricken, Dae-gil runs off and weeps profusely within the nearby town, shocking bystanders and forlorn little Seol-hwa, who has trailed him along the way and loved him for an extended time, and who grieves when he grieves. How is that this the identical boisterous and assured Dae-gil, the slave hunter? He seems shattered! When he recovers, Dae-gil knows he will still need to capture a minimum of Tae-ha, whom he has been paid a fortune to capture. Dae-gil knows that if he doesn’t bring Tae-ha back to his “master” that he himself is killed. what is going to happen? Will Dae-gil ever achieve capturing Tae-ha, and what about Hye-won and also the little prince? There are several factions bent on grab the limited prince to destroy him, therefore the story may be a lot bigger than simply some private romance between two slaves on the run. And what is going to happen if Hye-won discovers her “Young Master” never died that day and has been alive all this point while she believed him dead? How wouldn’t it affect the connection along with her new husband?

Tae-ha Song and his princely charge, Seokgyeon, whom he hopes will bring about a better tomorrow for the Joseon Kingdom. The prince was played by little doll Kim Jin-woo, who was so adorable I wanted to capture him through the TV screen and give him a hug!

Meanwhile, we’ve been following the lives of the many slaves who have learned secretly a way to shoot a brand new warfare technology on the market: guns. they aim various aristocrats for execution thanks to their horrendous treatment of their slaves. The ringleader may be a slave by the name of Eop-bok (Gong Hyung-jin), who isn’t so secretly soft on with a fairly and affectionate slave named Cho-bok (a lovely performance by Ji-ah Min), and that they plan their rebellions for a cause larger than themselves: freedom. With no rights to talk of, everything they organize is completed on the Q.T., then again they fall victim to a pretend insurrectionist leader (only called “That Person”) who is absolutely working for the aristocracy (played evilly well by actor Park Ki-woong who played the assassin in Bridal Mask), and their lives are on the road, moreover as everyone else who trustingly followed them. When Eop-bok hears that Cho-bok has been forcibly married on the Q.T. against her will by his master he throws all caution to the wind and barges in before the wedding will be consummated and shoots the “husband” dead and also his “master”. Now the slave couple is on the run, but their group is expecting them to point out up and storm the palace walls during a supposedly huge slave insurrection that was planned to be forthcoming. Will they instead plan to escape by themselves to urge aloof from the insanity of the insurrection, or will they serve their reason behind the freedom to the tip, despite the risks of death?

Slave Eop-bok (Gong Hyung-jin) gives voice to thousands of cruelly treated slaves with his gun shooting skills

There are more enthralling scenes and characters to get during this landmark series, that has now become my new ideal Favorite Korean Drama. I do not want to provide away an excessive amount of more, but the last half of this historical drama isn’t to be missed for any real K-drama fan. It’s absolutely THRILLING! The sword fights (it’s a wonder nobody was injured filming them!) are the most effective I’ve ever seen in my life, and therefore the love and trust between the family touched my heart deeply. The chemistry during this ensemble cast is off the charts wonderful for entertainment.

Don’t miss Chuno, otherwise, you are missing a real masterpiece. If you’re a sageuk fan give the common folk an opportunity through watching this one, rather than just the selfish, stuffy royals! Enjoy!

The trailer of “Chuno”

Don’t forget to catch up with the latest Korean entertainment news with us every day!