I am now watching Ghosts or Phantom depending on how you want to translate it. I prefer Phantom, which I think better describes the series, and for the purpose of this article, I will use that name. However you call it, it’s a damn good series, with it’s many twists and turns. I am now on episode 8 so I haven’t seen the entire series yet. So far I like what I see – especially since So Ji Sub is the star actor.
If you’ve seen my earlier posts, you’ll know by now that I am a fan of So Ji Sub and his acting. Having just seen The Master’s Sun recently, I still have So Ji Sub’s character, Joo Joong Won, stuck in my head. I have to say because of the clean cut look he has in both The Master’s Sun and Phantom, I still saw the arrogant rich jerk Joo Joong Won as soon as I started to watch Phantom, but that was gone in the first five minutes. Especially when he hacked into that student’s cell phone and reamed the kid out for slamming the seminar by text. That scene had a little attitude a-la Joo Joong Won. After I was done watching the first episode the arrogant Joo Joong Won was gone and in it’s place was the cocky cyber cop Kim Woo Hyun and a curiosity as to who was in that hospital bed and no one could possibly have survived that explosion.
I have to say my attention span for detective type whodunits are confined to movies. I can’t sustain a weekly series where the detective ALWAYS gets the bad guy. After about 10 episodes, I’m bored to tears because no matter how complicated the plot is, the star will always figure it out. Remember “24”? Great series, but the star always got the crook, always. But they’ve worked the “bad guy” into this one, and he’s the one searching for the other bad guys while also searching for a way to clear his and his past buddy’s name.
That’s why I prefer a whodunnit movie, I have an hour and a half to see if I can stay ahead of the story line and figure it out before it’s laid out for me in the end. What makes Phantom so interesting is – oops – if you didn’t yet watch this, don’t read this part, or maybe I can write in code…. so here goes…..What makes Phantom so interesting – is the exchange. For those of you who’ve seen it, you know what I mean. The threat was always there and when almost caught, Kim Woo Hyun’s twin – 😉 – handled it beautifully. It didn’t completely kill the suspicion from that brash, giant ballsy, rough around the edges detective Kwon Hyuk Joo (played by Kwak Do Hyun).
Kwon Hyuk Joo is quite a character in this show and Kwak Do Hyun plays the role beautifully. It helps that I’ve never seen him in any other acting role before. But if I’d wrote that character myself and closed my eyes to see who would play it…..Kwak Do Hyun’s face would show up in my imagination. The only thing missing for his character is a bad habit – drinking, smoking, chewing tobacco – to go with that attitude. He is prickly, quick to jump on it with a word or through his actions, rarely nice unless he wants something, and suspicious as any cop I’ve ever seen. I actually like his role, and look forward to what new condescending nickname he’s going to create for his subordinates whenever they don’t agree with his line of thinking. I know, you must be wondering how I am focusing so much time on a non-pretty boy, handsome rogue type. The man’s acting is awesome, I’m not completely shallow. It’s not 100% about looks for me (maybe 90%? ….ok, would you believe 95%?), but his acting is so good in my book, you can’t mention this show without calling out Kwak Do Hyun’s skills. And Kwak Do Hyun is still attractive to somebody, he’s just not – Phine!
So Ji Sub’s acting is different in this series too, not as strong as the other’s I’ve watched and maybe it’s because of the type of role he’s playing. A buddy pretending (and struggling) to be a serious, stiff, suit ‘n tie-wearing character hell bent on finding out who’s trying to screw them both over. So Ji Sub’s facial expressions in this series is all serious, and the frown lines between his brow that I find so cute, makes him appear as if he’s always saying “what?”, except when he’s staring at the computer. I don’t think I’ve seen his character Kim Woo Hyun crack a smile yet in 8 episodes. So Ji Sub’s acting in this series reminds me a little of a cross between the Columbo series and the movie Face Off, the Nicholas Cage character. And, if I’m going to be me and true to form, he looks ab-fab ‘n sexy in those suits! (I digress every time I talk about this man!). Because it’s a crime series and not a romance/comedy series, I focus more on the story, plots and twists. But every now and then So Ji Sub turns his head in a certain way, and I remember just how gorgeous this man is, but that only lasts for a second. Remember, I’m reading the conversations, paying attention to the crime story line, trying to catch the hint of expressions that communicate just as loudly as words, so I’ve got a lot going on. The romance shows do not require that much work, so I have more time to drool.
The female character, Yoo Gang Mi played by Lee Yeon Hee is a little dull in my book, but that’s not to say she’s not a good actor. The writers haven’t put a lot of weight to her character. She’s just a support role, the detective that could have been a love twist with the original Kim Woo Hyun but is now just – a sidekick. Like Robin to a Batman. I hope they do more with Yoo Gang Mi, and soon. She’s just too nice. I wish they had made her gorgeous (well, she’s already gorgeous), sexy, always with a gun, and tough as nails. I’ve never seen a detective go to a potential crime scene or lead and never seem to have a gun. What’s up with that? Well I still have 12 more episodes to go….maybe she’ll hit her head in episode 9 and become all those things I listed. One can only hope.
The computer crimes division twist makes the show feel modern and I like that. I must admit american detective shows always focus on a dead body somewhere, and I get a little tired of that. Not saying that Phantom has no violence, but its not all violence all the time. And, because I am new to some of the cultural habits, it’s a little harder for me to figure some of the plot twists before the ending, so that keeps me on my toes. Phantom did start out with a very violent scene early in the first episode, and then continues to build on that one situation, while having other little side issues that may or may not all culminate into a solution in the end. I’ll have to stay tuned to see how that turns out.
If you haven’t as yet watched Phantom (AKA Ghost), click on one of the links above and watch it with me…..and tell me what you think below.