Chuno/ The Slave Hunter (추노)
Synopsis: Lee Dae Gil was a man of high birth whose family was ruined when Won Ki Yoon, a slave, burnt down his house and escaped with his sister, Eon Nyeon, who was in love with Dae Gil. Driven by his desire for revenge, he survived his harsh years on the street and made his name as a slave hunter, dedicated in his pursuit to find Eon Nyeon. Song Tae Ha is a General of the Army who became a slave after being falsely accused of a crime he did not commit, and finds himself on the run from Dae Gil’s relentless pursuit. Both men become entangled in a love triangle with Eon Nyeon.
Country: South Korea
Genre: Historical, action, drama
Duration: 60 min
Casting: Jang Hyuk, Oh Ji Ho, Lee Da Hae, Lee Jong Hyuk, Gong Hyun Jin, Kim Ji Suk etc…
First of all I’d like to thanks Fangirl Verdict for her advise cause even if I didn’t like the drama as much as her it was a good adventure. I was kind of tired of dramaland at that time (that happens most of the time when I’ve just finished a really good drama and I’m unable to find a worthy successor) but Chuno helped me to partially recover my taste for it. Now that I’ve said that, let’s get into the heart of the matter, shall we?
The first episode blew my mind and god knows that a strong departure is important for the following. I loved the concept of slave hunters! We are facing up a world where slaves are treated like subhuman. They are hunted when they flee and marked like animals when they do so. We are immersed in a world full of testosterone and fights, where everyone tries his best to survive. The constant actions scenes were what kept me on the edge of my seat. Hard to not admire the beauty of the fights, the scenery in which it took place, and above all how it was filmed. The repetitive use of slow motion during fight scenes gave a real aestheticism to the drama. I’ll always remember the scene where Song Tae Ha faced for the first time Hwang Cheol Woong in Jeju Island. The well-prepared choreography, the slow motion, the splash of waters, the costumes flying at the whim of the two soldiers’ movements, the wild scenery and the constant change of shot’s scales made a scene filled with emotions for the audience (ep10). This historical drama was the best I’ve ever seen in term of cinematographic quality. But in term of plot… I though it was too long. Once the chase was over I fell little by little in a state of boredom. I had some trouble to remain fully focused and sometimes even lost the train of events. Some characters were useless (the drawer, little and big jumo for example) while other were given lots of screen time at the expense of more interesting ones. Overall, all the characters were well-written but some fail to retain my attention. For example Eop Bok and the slaves.
I loved his cute romance with Cho Bok and the idea of a slave revolution was in itself really good! But only on paper I would say. My lack of focus was probably due to the fact that it wasn’t as thrilling as Dae Gil or Song Tae Ha’s story. I think that’s why I was a bit bored and disappointed every time we were with them. The same went for all the court schemes that included the Left State Minister Lee Gyeong Shik, the king and co. I know those parts of the story were necessary to the drama but they were sometimes too present and that cooled down for a bit my enthusiasm. Fortunately my interest was revived near the end with the sudden acceleration in the events and twists.
Let’s get to the heart of the drama now: the characters. I’ll only broach some of them cause they are numerous and I can’t afford the luxury of doing all of them.
Dae Gil appeared like a jerk without a heart at first. But we get to know him, to get his true motives and what pushed him to become a hunter. The streets taught him a lesson. It was actually hard to believe that the man in his past was also him. He hardened with year and seemed beyond any laws. But he was in fact also a very sensitive man behind his looks. I appreciated those both aspects as much as I liked the fact that he didn’t cling into Eon Nyeon after their reunion. He was my obsession in this drama (not just because of his numerous topless scenes! XD) because to my eyes he was before everything else a man, a true one.
Eon Nyeon was necessary to the plot since she was one of its triggering factor but on the whole she wasn’t that present. I mean, she was there physically but didn’t shine as much as the other characters. Thus I didn’t really had the chance to appreciate her. She was the centre of the love triangle and I think it would have been nice to see her impose herself a bit more instead of constantly stepping aside. She was too weak. Yet there is one point I appreciated in her character >>>SPOILER- (even it’s sad for Dae Gil). Unlike most of heroine she remained faithful to the man she had newly engaged instead of jumping in the arms of her former love when this one had reappeared. That’s rare to see! -SPOILER<<<
Song Tae Ha didn’t dazzle me at first. In the first episodes we caught a glimpse of his past and it didn’t captivate me…at all. At that time I was too interested by Dae Gil’s story to be completely aware of any other characters. I was so unfocused that I ended up completely lost about him and his relationship with the king, Hwang Cheol Woong etc…Besides Oh Ji Ho’s performance didn’t help me to like him. I found that he was playing poorly (specially when he had to express pain). But fortunately, he quickly managed to change my mind thereafter. Song Tae Ha built up some charisma after escaping his slavery condition and became one of my favourite character during the chase. He had his ups and downs (like all character). For example he disappointed me when he denied the truth about Eon Nyon being a former slave. Him who claimed his desire to change the world in which they live, him who also lived like a slave for a time…couldn’t accept his union with a former slave? Hum…But I have to admit that as much disappointing his reaction was , it was also interesting (besides he finally accepted it so it wasn’t so much of a deal) because through his character we get to see the reality of this era.
Seol Hwa, Wang Son and General Choi are Dae Gil’s merry companions. I wasn’t really touched by the guys in this trio. I admire their friendship and loyalty toward each other but wasn’t really moved by their character, nor their performance which were a bit overdid sometimes. On the other hand, however! Seol Hwa was a really good character. She brought joy in the drama. I liked how she played with Wang Son and how she managed to melt the three hunter’s heart. I think she was one of the main reason why it didn’t bother me to see Eon Nyeon getting married to Song Tae Ha. I loved her so much with Dae Gil that I even hoped for a second, to see them getting together but well…their fate decided otherwise and it was finally not a bad thing. Cause before everything else, she had -to my eye- the role of little sister in the band. So getting her and Dae Gil together…hmm that would have been a bit weird after all. She was somehow a stronger female character than Eon Nyeon. Unfortunately she lost little by little her interest and screen time along the episodes. The few time we were seeing her, she was always half crying and mopping because of her one way love with Dae Gil.
Hwang Cheol Woong was the character with the most class when he fought. The fight scenes were always amazing when he was there. He is the instrument of the drama’s bad guy: Left State Minister Lee Gyeong Shik (who is also his father-in-law). He is a cold-heart killer but we get to catch some glimpse of the man itself. I would like to mention the actress that played his wife cause I was really amazed by her performance and character.
In conclusion I would say that this drama is worth the shot for its originality and surprising twist. It’s almost impossible to see where the plot is going to lead you and that was one of the main point I liked about this drama (with of course the bunch of eye-candy and the ost :3). I was just a bit disappointed to see the plot struggled, on so much episodes but it eventually got back on rails at some point. Maybe 24th episodes were a bit too much for me, that’s all.
The man of my heart in this drama
Jang Hyuk this little guy! so cuuuuute!
Note de Dushbadou: 7.5/10
Note finale: 7.5/10