Uncle Samsik Review: Song Kang Ho Makes K-drama Debut as a Corrupt Fixer Who Forms an Unlikely Alliance with Hardline Politician Byun Yo Han in Tense Post-war South Korea - Bollywood Hungama - Latest Global News

Uncle Samsik Review: Song Kang Ho Makes K-drama Debut as a Corrupt Fixer Who Forms an Unlikely Alliance with Hardline Politician Byun Yo Han in Tense Post-war South Korea – Bollywood Hungama

Korean history buffs! Remember the divide in the turbulent 1950s and ’60s, when a nation was split in two, reflecting the conflicting ideas within? This politically unstable era full of power struggles and self-serving ambitions becomes a captivating backdrop for the latest K-drama. Uncle Samsik. Imagine a historical drama where strategy reigns supreme. Imagine political figures engaged in a high-stakes poker game in which everyone plays their strongest cards: mind games, calculated ego blows, and ruthless exploitation of vulnerabilities. Uncle Samsik promises to transport viewers to this time and offers an exciting mix of fictional and non-fictional stories inspired by the political machinations of bygone times. This highly anticipated drama marks the K-drama debut of renowned actor Song Kang Ho, who shares the spotlight with Byun Yo Han in a powerful dual lead performance.

Uncle Samsik Review: Song Kang Ho makes his K-drama debut as a corrupt fixer who forms an unlikely alliance with hardline politician Byun Yo Han in tense post-war South Korea

Starring Song Kang Ho, he marks his drama debut in 34 years. Uncle Samsik tells the story of a master manipulator and fixer named Park Doo Chil aka Uncle Samsik. Doo Chil was nicknamed Samsik after his philosophy of never missing a meal. According to legend, even during the war he ensured that everyone ate three meals a day. “When the stomach is full, the heart is open” is one of his philosophies that he faithfully follows. He has a handle on the ever-vibrant pulse of Korean politics. He wants to reform the country and make it a safe haven for its citizens.

The first five episodes of Uncle Samsik premiered on May 15, 2024. In these episodes we met a number of fascinating characters with small and large influences on the ongoing political unrest. The first episode begins with the protagonist Kim San (played by Byun Yo Han) being taken away by the military police to investigate a political matter and Samsik’s involvement in it. To explain to the audience how it all began, we are taken back to 1959 when Uncle Samsik met Kim San for the first time. Uncle Samsik is an ambitious man with his own plans. He is like the nighttime bully who plays both sides to get the most benefit for himself.

The drama takes place against the backdrop of a turbulent political era in Korea. Authoritarian President Rhee Seung Min casts a long shadow, although the narrative focuses on the emerging opposition party vying for power in upcoming elections. The path to political victory is often messy, and those who are rich and influential know the importance of keeping their hands clean. Enter Uncle Samsik, a figure who thrives in the murky waters of political maneuvering. His methods are anything but ethical and his morals are demonstrably compromised. Will Uncle Samsik’s tactics pave the way for the opposition, or will his dirty shoes ultimately tarnish their election campaign? That is the fascinating question the drama raises.

Uncle Samsik review: Song Kang Ho makes his K-drama debut as a corrupt fixer who forms an unlikely alliance with hardline politician Byun Yo Han in tense postwar South Korea

Join the ensemble cast led by Song Kang Ho, each member’s story continually evolves and grows as the plot thickens. Song that most international audiences know parasite, shows a new side of his acting skills. Song portrays Uncle Samsik, a smart person who comes from the country. Because of his background, Uncle Samsik operates with a “survival of the fittest” mentality and uses subtle manipulation to achieve his goals. His influence gradually creeps in, making him a formidable and potentially dangerous character as the plot progresses.

Byun Yo Han as Kim San is quite a convincing character. When it comes to his political vision, he is a heart-first, mind-second type of guy. He has goals and dreams like any other young man his age. But his dreams soon face a reality check when he realizes that the path to achieving his dreams is not as utopian as he first imagined. Previously, he was a government employee, living on a limited salary and resources. The introduction of Uncle Samsik paved the way for Kim San and his family to eat wholesome meals and achieve their dreams.

It’s a joy to see Jin Ki Joo on screen as Choo Yeo Jin, Choo In Tae’s daughter and Kim San’s girlfriend. Women then had the freedom to work side by side with men, although opportunities to scale heights were limited at the time. She is a gentle-hearted woman but has a strong will. When it came to doing the right thing, she followed her own idea instead of being dictated to by Kim San.

Lee Kyu Hyung as Kang Seong Min is a character we have seen time and time again on screen. A man with a weak will and even weaker determination. He lives in a glass palace where he believes he is safe, but lives in constant fear that someone is out there trying to finish him off. He grew up quite misunderstood and his anger didn’t find a proper outlet. He resorts to Uncle Samsik’s help, but even that is not without suspicion.

Characters like An Ki Cheol, Jung Han Min, and Ahn Yo Seop represent men driven by ambition. Ahn Yo Seop, probably the oldest, represents the “old guard” with more traditional views, while the others are perhaps a bit more open-minded. What unites them, however, is their tireless pursuit of power. The drama cleverly uses metaphor to depict the political landscape. Just as you have to bend a spoon to get to the honey, the path to power requires careful maneuvering. It’s a precarious journey full of challenges and potential pitfalls, but the thrill of ultimate control gives them the drive they need.

Uncle Samsik Review: Song Kang Ho makes his K-drama debut as a corrupt fixer who forms an unlikely alliance with hardline politician Byun Yo Han in tense post-war South Korea

As far as the cinematography and visual aspect of the drama is concerned, the drama offers a quite accurate depiction of the Korean landscape that was on the verge of modernization and developing its international relations. The architecture, costumes, language and other props transport the viewer to a time that most of us have only seen on the big screen.

The running time of each episode is approximately 45 minutes. Within that quarter hour, the story progresses at a steady pace, making for good viewing. Some may argue that the drama could move faster, but I would say for a drama set in ancient times, this pace is appropriate. The creators use flashback methods to reveal the intention and purpose of each character. This works well to give the story the depth it needs and make it much more emotional.

At its peak, Uncle Samsik masterfully explores the intersection between opportunism and political ideology. In contrasting scenes, we see San and Doo Sik, almost identical characters with different ideologies. San’s eyes remain stuck in idealism, while Doo Sik’s eyes show a frightening emptiness. However, the series struggles to maintain this artistic brilliance throughout and occasionally falls back on familiar storylines. Despite strong performances and a well-crafted narrative, Uncle Samsik might face challenges in connecting with the audience. The drama is rich in Korean historical references, including references to previous presidents and specific events. These may resonate more with viewers familiar with Korean history.

For those who want to delve into Korean history: Uncle Samsik offers a compelling exploration of a complex time. With five episodes currently available on Disney+ Hotstar and new episodes releasing every two weeks, the series promises an exciting journey until June 19, 2024.

What do you think about the Kang Ho-Star song? Uncle Samik? Tell us in the comments below!

Check out the trailer:

Also Read: From Song Kang Ho starrer Uncle Samsik to Atypical Family starring Jang Ki Yong: 9 K-dramas to add to your watchlist in May 2024


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