Bromance– it`s all about the friendship!

The love of man to woman is a thing common and of course, and at first partakes more of instinct and passion than of choice.

But true friendship between man and man is infinite and immortal.

Plato

Title
Man X Man (2017) 
Also known as
Man-to-Man 
Genre
Action, Melodrama, Thriller
Written by
Kim Won-suk
Directed by
 Lee Chang-min
Country of Origin
South Korea
Episodes
16

oh! … brief

An undercover special agent, Agent K, (Kim Seol-woo) is on a mission to recover three wooden statues and a ring. Part of his mission is going undercover as a personal body guard to a seemingly conceited long-time celebrity, Yeo Woon-gwang. In this position, he infiltrates the locations where he can access the wooden statues and uncovers the truth behind the death of a former NIS agent. Unfortunately, he develops a strong friendship and bromance with the celebrity and his manager Cha Do-ha. This not only complicates the mission but, puts everyone’s lives at risk.

oh! … talks drama

I started watching this when it first was aired, but dropped it for a few months, only to return. Admittedly, the story behind the script is a good one, but I first found the show lacking in depth and the leading female character annoyed me with her bug-eyed features and cheesy performance.

Kim Won-suk wrote a sound script with plot twists and turns that keep the audience engaged. The narration is smart and even witty at times and he developed his characters with all their idiosyncrasies or flaws and paints them as everyday people with very human problems.

The story is believable even while being a little far-fetched for my liking in the action, thriller genres.

Lee Chang-min directed this production, and apart from the female lead character, Cha Do-ha, the main cast performed well under his direction. However, the director had many miscast members and directed their performances badly, which added to the overall distraction and dissatisfaction I felt. The locations for shooting this production were chosen well. The choice for the seedy hideout of Agent K was great – those hidden sections of the building are well thought-out and provide a good backdrop for the ‘mission base’.

The cinematography was good and typical for a kdrama production. The accompanying soundtrack was easy to listen to. And the cast, well the cast, had a few hits and a few misses.

Agent K, Kim Seol-woo was played by the amazing Park Hae-jin. This young man is very talented and was a perfect fit for this role. Maintaining a poker face for most of the production must have been hard for Park Hae-jin because he has such a beautiful and natural smile. His jaw must have ached from maintaining an austere persona. I really could believe, by Park Hae-jin’s performance that he was a secret agent (ghost agent). He inhabited his character, interpreted the character’s personality and delivered a great performance. There’s one scene where he completely breaks down and openly cries and it was filled with emotion, it was amazing! Park Hae-jin has such skill as an actor!

Yeo Woon-gwang, the conceited actor was played by Park Sung-woong. This is the first time I’ve watched Park Sung-woong, but he is in several other productions on my list of film and drama. I think he did a great job with his performance and I loved his interpretation of his character’s blunt and conceited personality. His face (physical features) just added to the overall viewer experience – he makes amazing facial expressions, and uses his eyes and smile with sincerity. He was great to watch.

The bromance between Yeo Woon-gwang and Kim Seol-woo was tangible. In fact, so much so, it was better than the supposed ‘lover antics’ between Kim Seol-woo and Cha Do-ha. There was an obvious mutual affection and respect between the two characters and the two actors did a fine job in depicting the relationship.

Kim Min-jung who played the female lead, Cha Do-ha, was just an abysmal cast choice, I wonder why it happened. Right off the bat, her hairstyle enhanced the bug-eyed features and the two were annoying enough. Her performance, however, was atrocious! I mean it. She was annoying and distracting because of excessive emoting. I understand she’s won awards and has been in the industry for many years, but seriously, this performance was awful! I didn’t appreciate the doe-bug-eyed stares and honestly, the entire production was brought down with her in the cast. Miscast, certainly! Bad performance, absolutely!

In contrast, Chae Jung-an’s performance as Song Mi-eun was understated. She carried herself well, gave a balanced performance and carried her character’s personality and idiosyncrasy well.

Mo Seung-jae, third generation chaebol was played by Yeon Jung-hoon, another miscast actor for this production. I just couldn’t ‘get’ behind the actor’s performance. It was another distraction and an annoying one. I never believed Yeon Jung-hoon’s characterization or interpretation, it was off-putting.

Playing Secretary Jang, Kim Hyun-jin delivered a strong performance. Playing Mo Byung-do, Jeon Kook-hwan gave a solid performance and was perhaps the most likeable of the ‘agents’ assigned to the mission to support Agent K.

oh! … sidekicks

Two supporting actors I want to mention, but, not because they gave great performances, quite the opposite in fact.

Cha Myeong-seok was played by Kim Byung-se and the performance of father of Cha Do-ha was as abysmal as the performance of Cha Do-ha. I wonder if this has something to do with the director, but, I suspect not. I believe both characters were taken on by an actor and actress that were badly miscast. Excessive overacting is so off-putting, and both performances were horrific.

A minor role played by David Lee McInnis as Petrov, a Russian officer. I can’t stand this guy’s acting! In fact, I can’t bring myself to consider his performance in this production or others I have seen, as acting. It’s so bad!

oh! … that’s a wrap

The only reason I continued watching this production was that of Park Hae-jin and Park Sung-woong. These two award winning actors carried this kdrama, and while the show started out well and had a solid story to work from, under the direction of Lee Chang-min it quickly fell off the rails.

I would not watch this production again and I don’t recommend it to fans of action, thriller, crime genres. Melodrama was elevated, but not extreme. The acting of a good number of the cast was horrendous. The only saving grace for the production was the solid script and the two lead males who carried the show with their performances, individually and together as a ‘bromance’.

Fans of either Park Hae-jin or Park Sung-woong will enjoy their performances in this production, but that alone may not be enough to tempt them to watch 16 episodes with Kim Min-jung.

oh! … soundtrack

oh! … gallery

oh! … trailers

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