Showing posts with label Jirisan (Kdrama) 4.1 || 4.3. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jirisan (Kdrama) 4.1 || 4.3. Show all posts

13 December 2021

K Drama Review: Jirisan (2021) 4.1 || 4.3

We loved Jun Ji Hyun in My Sassy Girl, which we watched a long time ago. So this show is really long overdue. I was looking forward to this one because of its star-studded cast. And while it was probably not as good as advertised, the show had its good points that made us stay with it until the end. 


Jirisan tell the story of mountain rangers assigned to Mount Jiri. Everything seems to be going on as usual until a new ranger, Kang Hyun Jo (Ju Ji Hoon), arrives. Hyun Jo has been getting visions of deaths on the mountain. Deaths which on the surface appear accidental but when investigated further, turn out to be linked and plotted by a dangerous murderer. The show takes us through how Hyun Jo uncovers the truth about these deaths together with his partner, Seo Yi Kang (Jun Ji Hyun). 

Jun Ji Hyun as Seo Yi Kang

Can I just say that Jun Ji Hyun does not seem to age? She still looks as youthful as ever. She doesn't look that much different from her Sassy Girl days. 

And Jun Ji Hyun is also proof that age is just a number. Despite her age, she still manages to deliver badass scenes. I love her when she's getting all angry and annoyed with the people around her. Her feistiness scares me. 

I love Yi Kang's wit. She's the perfect partner for psychic Hyun Jo because she has the skills to match his visions. 

And while I'm not a big fan of dramatic Jun Ji Hyun, I love how the show opted to focus on her strengths like acting all strong and bossing around her colleagues. 

Ju Ji Hoon as Kang Hyun Jo

This was our first Ju Ji Hoon drama. And I feel quite bad that I did not seem to have been given enough time to get to know him fully as an actor in this show. Hyun Jo had the misfortune of being in coma during the present day part of the drama where he would only pop in once in a while as a ghost in the mountain. So he had a shorter screentime compared to the other actors. 

Given his limited exposure, I initially thought of Hyun Jo as a weakling who slowed down Yi Kang. As more past scenes were shown, however, he eventually got to me with his sincerity and eagerness to save lives, even while he was on his deathbed. 

Since I didn't get to see much of Ju Ji Hoon, I can't really give an accurate review of his acting. But I guess, the fact that he didn't do anything to annoy me means that he was effective as Hyun Jo. I guess I just need to watch him longer to get to know him better. 

The Superb Supporting Cast

As I mentioned earlier, I was curious with how star-studded the cast was. They had people who were main lead material taking on supporting roles here - like commander Jo Dae Jin (Sung Dong Il of House on Wheels, House on Wheels 2Reply 1997, Reply 1994, Reply 1988, Hospital Playlist, Prison Playbook, Ms. Hammurabi, and Moon Lovers Scarlet Heart Ryeo); ranger Jung Goo Young (Oh Jung Se of Hot Stove League, Extreme Job, and Misaeng); and ranger Park Il Hae (the ever busy Jo Han Cheol of Vincenzo, Hometown Cha Cha Cha, and Juror 8). I love how diverse the roles these three great actors can play and it was nice to see them in new and interesting characters here. I especially loved seeing Oh Jung Se and how great he was in his breakdown scene when his girlfriend died. 

It was also nice to see young actresses who caught our attention in earlier dramas like ranger Lee Yang Sun (Joo Min Kyung of Something in the Rain and One Spring Night).

And ranger Lee Da Won (Go Min Si of Love Alarm and Love Alarm 2). I have much better appreciation of Min Si after seeing her here compared to the uptight role she played in Love Alarm. 

It was also nice to see another grandma role for Kim Young Ok (Hometown Cha Cha Cha, Squid Game, Love Alarm, Ms. Hammurabi, Reply 1988, and Coffee Prince) as Yi Kang's grandma. 


One of the biggest challenges we had to face while watching this show was the video quality when it's casted on TV. IQIYI's video on the phone is okay. It's also okay when you cast it with a different casting mechanism. But when you use its own casting button, the video appears dark and pixelated. Which is a big problem considering how most of the scenes are quite dark as they're on the mountain. 

The pilot episode was interesting with the signals Hyun Jo was getting. But I admit that the show failed to clearly explain what those signals were about. It might have been intended. But people who give up on dramas they don't get right away might have a problem moving on to the succeeding episodes. 

The main focus of the show was quite confusing in the beginning. I was not sure if it was focused on supernatural stuff or if it was a mystery thriller. Were we looking for ghosts? A killer? Killers? Was Hyun Jo alive or was he a ghost? Those were some things that were not laid down clearly for me. 

I guess one problem I had was that the show tended to go back and forth from the present to the past. And there were various years in the past that it went back to. And flashbacks were not necessarily done in a linear way. It tended to be confusing. One episode would focus on the killer angle while the next one would talk about a totally different mystery. There were episodes that did not show the present day at all and episodes that did not continue or even touch on what happened during the ending of the previous episode. You have to be on your toes when you watch this show if you don't want to miss anything important. 

Oppa and I were on an episode-to-episode basis with this one. At the end of every episode, we'd discuss if we're watching the next one. For some reason, we always agreed to give the show a chance. And we finally got our breakthrough during the wildfire episodes. The show was finally gripping enough for us to continue watching it. It also helped that the wildfire episode was followed by an equally thrilling episode, the flash flood ones. These episodes made me appreciate more the work that mountain rangers do. The effort they put in to prevent and stop fires and how swiftly conditions can change such that they have to act quickly all the time. 

I also liked what the show did with the killer angle. I liked how it kept us guessing from the start who the murderer was. Was it Commander Jo? Then I thought it was the cable car guy who must have been bitter that his project didn't push through many years ago. Then Goo Young was there when Da Won died so that made him a suspect too. I loved how the show made me think that I got things figured out then my suspect is cleared and a new one emerges. I didn't see that Kim Woong Soon (Jeon Seok Ho of Misaeng and Strong Woman Do Bong Soon) angle coming and even that turned out to be wrong again. I honestly thought he was the real culprit because his past was revealed way too near the ending. 

I liked how the real murderer's identity (Lee Ga Sub as Kim Sol) was slightly touched upon in the earlier episodes and how the show confused us a bit more after that before finally revealing that he was really the killer all along. Although I didn't realize that he was a ranger too (and I blame myself for not paying close attention), I liked how his motive was clearly established. How it was really plausible for someone like him who went through that in the past to take revenge on the people who hurt his family. It reminds me so much of all those mystery thriller books I've read in the past. 

Despite my earlier confusion, I loved the show's pacing - how it devoted sufficient time to explain the killer's background, his motives, and the stuff he did. The ending was satisfying enough because it tied loose ends and we got a happy ending. I admit though that the way Kim Sol died was quite convenient but we can perhaps attribute that to the mountain punishing him for the things he did. I also felt it was convenient that Hyun Jo survived. But miracles can happen so I can let that go too. The only loophole we found was probably why no forensic exam was done on the phone of Sol's accomplice when they first found it. The guy was a suspect yet they didn't bother to investigate his phone. And it would take a ghost's signal to get them to finally do it. 

Overall, the show probably didn't maximize the wealth of talent they had and the wide range of stories they could have told. While I felt that the story was good enough, I believe the show could better improve its storytelling to make it easier to comprehend and appreciate. 

Oppa says...4.1.

Noona says...4.3.