Drama Recaps
Runaway (Plan B): Episodes 1-2
by | October 3, 2010 | 141 Comments

Runaway: Plan B premiered this past week to huge intro ratings, setting KBS up for yet another hit this year. (You may know the title as Fugitive: Plan B but don’t worry if you’re confused, since not even the drama’s official site is keeping things consistent.)

What we get here is a stylish action drama that is — let’s face it — pretty fluffy entertainment but executed well and with a cheeky attitude. It knows exactly what it is, and plays that to the hilt. The casting is spot-on and the action sequences are designed to achieve maximum cool effect.

Did I like it? Very much in parts, and not much at all in other parts. It’s complicated. We’ll get to that.

SONG OF THE DAY

Mate – “Go” [ Download ]

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CHARACTERS & BACKGROUND

Our hero, JI-WOO (Rain) is a ball of contradictions, but somehow they all come together to make up Asia’s top private investigator. On the outside he’s got a glib, sly, pervy personality who can’t let a pair of shapely legs walk by without a good ogling, even if he’s proposing to a girlfriend at the moment (a cameo by Chuno‘s Lee Da-hae). Yet we see in bits and pieces that he’s got a super-sharp mind and keen observation skills — nothing slips past his notice.

In fact, it’s his reckless demeanor that probably fools people into not taking him seriously, when mentally he’s making a note of every little thing. He’s also a font of knowledge of facts and statistics, which no doubt help in his line of work.

Ji-woo runs his own firm, a sophisticated operation with a network of affiliate PIs in other countries. More on them in a minute. He’s a nimble fighter who can wriggle out of tough spots with admirable skill — it’s not that he’s got the best martial arts technique, but that he fights smart (or dirty). He takes advantage of every blind spot and lapse in his opponent’s defenses.

He’s described as having a brain but lacking a soul. And sure enough, when taking cases, money is his biggest motivator. His company motto? “If it can be done, we’ll do it.”

JIN-YI (Lee Na-young) is a mysterious woman with a pained past. When she was a child, her grandparents died in a car crash. When she was a teenager, her parents died. And then her adopted parents were killed, but their deaths ruled a suicide. She figures she’s probably next to go, and lives in a fancy mansion equipped with the highest-grade security system. Her riches come from her inheritance, which was invested wisely.

She’s a woman on a revenge mission, out to find who killed everyone she loves, and one day shows up as Ji-woo’s new client.

KAI (Daniel Henney) is, or maybe was, in a relationship with Jin-yi back when they lived in blissful happiness in Canada. He still wears a ring — part of a couple set — but she doesn’t. It’s not that she doesn’t love him (in fact, she tells him straight out that she does), but she fears for his life because everyone close to her has been killed. Kai is a successful businessman who’s based in Japan, and keeps urging her to move there where he can keep her safe.

 
THE DETECTIVE NETWORK

Ji-woo’s profession is technically illegal in Korea (apparently due to concern for personal privacy and related matters), which is part of the reason why his business is kept underground. There’s also the matter of him being wanted for murder. More on that in a sec.

Ji-woo often works with other investigators in other countries, such as Nakamura in Japan (Chuno’s Sung Dong-il, above left), James in Thailand (Chuno’s Jo Hee-bong, middle), Jang in China (Chuno’s Gong Hyung-jin — noticing a pattern?), and Han Jung-soo in Korea (also of Chuno, at right).

Despite this working relationship, nobody really trusts him, and there’s a running gag that everyone is suspicious that Ji-woo is recording their conversations. He usually is. That’s because he likes using it as leverage to negotiate the situation in his favor — like I said, he takes any and every advantage he can find.

Ji-woo’s U.S. contact used to be his good friend Kevin (Chuno’s Oh Ji-ho), and they worked together in Las Vegas on a case that netted them quite the large profit, awarded by the casino for solving the matter of two deaths. But days later, Kevin died in a fire, and the prevailing belief — by law enforcement and even Ji-woo’s own employees — is that Ji-woo offed his own friend to take all the money for himself.

Ji-woo maintains his innocence, and deeply grieves his friend’s death. In fact, his normally mischievous personality immediately turns grave the moment anybody mentions Kevin. The circumstances of the “accident” are shady, but as yet he doesn’t know who the true murderer is.

 
THE COPS

This team of detectives, led by DO-SOO (Lee Jung-jin, omgsohot), is assigned to foreign affairs and has been following Ji-woo for a while now. Once, Do-soo almost had Ji-woo — he’d gotten as far as slapping handcuffs on him — but Ji-woo had slipped away.

Do-soo’s a no-nonsense, gruff cop who is the best in the department. As the squad chief, he was widely expected to be promoted to the next level… only to have his undeserving subordinate, Detective Baek, nab the position (Chuno’s Danny Ahn) after Daddy pulled some strings. Still, I like to think Do-soo gets the last laugh because he’s got an innate sense of authority and the team still responds to him as the leader. Baek likes to pull rank and flaunt his position, but Do-soo’s all about getting the job done.

YOON SO-RAN (Yoon Jin-seo) is one of his subordinate officers, and while her name was fashioned from the hanja characters for “little orchid,” most people find that other meaning more appropriate — “so-ran” also means disturbance. She’s not a bumbling idiot, but she is hotheaded and acts before thinking. She also has a crush on Do-soo, though (thankfully) it doesn’t get in the way of the job. At least not yet.

 
THE BADDIES

HWANG MI-JIN (Yoon Son-ah) is a professor at a Japanese university and our resident femme fatale/conductor of evil. I won’t call her a mastermind yet because I believe she’s working for superiors, but as of now she’s the one calling the shots.

The other woman is hired by Mi-jin and leads a small team of hired goons. The less said about her acting the better. She’s pretty.

 
EPISODES 1 & 2

We open with our requisite cool action sequence off the northern Philippine coast as Ji-woo emerges from the ocean à la James Bond, swaps his diving gear for a waiter’s uniform, joins a resort party, and steals an artifact. He gets caught in close-quarters combat, then escapes on motorcycle.

He is chased by mobsters shooting machine guns out of jeeps, somehow able to avoid being shot by hundreds of bullets. He shoots a whole carful of said gangsters dead, using naught but a single handgun and some magical precision aim — mind you, he shoots them all while popping a wheelie — and slides off the bike, sending it careening it into an oncoming sedan of more baddies. He struts off into the distance, his shirt flapping open in the breeze, while the vehicles explode into a huge fireball behind him.

Does it make sense? Not entirely — but it sure looks cool!

Ji-woo’s next case involves a painting that was stolen right off the wall of a Buddhist temple. The monk wants it back for sentimental reasons, but Ji-woo, smelling an opportunity to hike up the value of the painting (and therefore his commission), argues that the value of an artwork is fluid. He can increase its worth by pushing the “one-of-a-kind” angle… only it’s not one of a kind. A copy hangs in another temple in Thailand.

Off Ji-woo goes to steal the second painting, which earns him a brief tussle with some hardcore Thai monks, but he prevails and returns home assured of a hefty payday.

Ji-woo has cracked the case, and explains to the monk what happened to the painting. Based on clues such as temperature, he deduces that the culprit used pressurized water jets to work the stone slab off the wall, then hid it nearby. At this very temple, in fact.

Outside, a woman (Jin-yi) eavesdrops on this conversation via a hidden camera in the monk’s chamber. She smirks at Ji-woo’s sharp deductions, as though grudgingly impressed. Sure enough, when Ji-woo leads the monk to a nearby storage shed, there they find the painting.

Ji-woo’s uncanny insights don’t end there: He surmises that the painting was set aside either to collect it later, or to test his ability. When he leaves the temple, Jin-yi comes up to the monk, who asks if Ji-woo is up to the job. It was, indeed, a test.

Do-soo debriefs his team on the Ji-woo case, and gets needled by douchebag Det. Baek about losing him the first time.

A flashback shows that encounter: They’d been in a foot chase that culminated in a hand-to-hand battle. Ji-woo had been all but apprehended, but even with his arm twisted behind his back, he’d swiped Do-soo’s gun from his holster. Despite the fierce antagonism between them, Ji-woo had asked if Do-soo was wearing his bulletproof vest before shooting him in the chest.

Jin-yi decides that Ji-woo has proven himself competent, so she visits his super-slick office to hire him. Ji-woo can’t pass up the opportunity to flirt with a good-looking woman, but Jin-yi shoots him down, unimpressed with his cheesy come-ons and exaggerated swagger.

He does agree to take on her case, difficult though it may be: to find Melchidec. She doesn’t know whether that’s a person or an organization and has no information other than the name, but offers a boatload of cash, which is enough to engage Ji-woo’s interest. He calls his foreign contacts — Nakamura in Tokyo, Jang in Beijing — to look into Melchidec.

As I mentioned, the only time Ji-woo’s flippant, devil-may-care attitude drops is at the mention of Kevin, and as he broods that evening, he thinks back to their Vegas case, when they’d been basking in their success. It seems he’s still working on figuring out who is guilty so he can clear his own name (and avenge Kevin’s death, I’m betting).

Back in her heavily protected mansion, Jin-yi cultivates her own Wall of Weird, decorated with clippings, photos, and information about Ji-woo. So what’s her deal?

Despite the state-of-the-art security system, a stealthy quartet of intruders is able to infiltrate the house late that night. Jin-yi jolts awake in time to grab a few essentials, then fights off a few men and rappels off the second story. The leader sees that Jin-yi’s got a long way to fall, and cuts the rope.

Meanwhile, Do-soo has been alerted to information about Ji-woo’s whereabouts, triggered by his phone call with Jang. They move out and arrive outside his office, and burst in with guns drawn.

Too bad for them that Ji-woo’s smarter than that, and the room they find is empty. Ji-woo’s safe in the inner sanctum, and watches the security camera with amusement as the cops find themselves stymied.

Jin-yi manages to land on her feet when her rope is cut and runs off, safe from her attackers for now. She doesn’t have much with her, so she phones Kai, who takes her call in concern.

Jin-yi doesn’t tell him she’s in trouble, but that doesn’t relieve his worries. He urges her to join him in Japan, but she sticks to her line that she won’t endanger him. All she requests is his help in the form of a hotel reservation.

Professor Hwang Mi-jin gives a lecture about gold bars that were part of the establishing of Hankook Bank, which was founded just two weeks prior to the outbreak of the Korean War. The gold was moved south to Busan for safekeeping, then moved again, headed for the U.S. However, when the war ended, the gold was unaccounted for. Perhaps the U.S. never gave it back, or perhaps they did yet Korea never received it. Surely this will figure largely in our story later.

Mi-jin then makes a phone call with a Macau contact regarding Ji-woo. The contact had worked with him on the Vegas suicide case, and curiously, Ji-woo is now working for the victims’ relative. Isn’t that odd?

Yep — Jin-yi’s murdered adopted parents were the very ones that Ji-woo had declared a simple case of suicide. The plot thickens.

Mi-jin exerts pressure to get Ji-woo’s phone number, which is then used to locate him via GPS. She orders the quartet (the same ones who’d been after Jin-yi) to get him.

They ambush him while he sits in traffic, holding a gun to his head. Without losing his cool, Ji-woo jerks the car forward, slams it to a halt, then engages in a close-quarters fight inside car. He runs away and loses his pursuers, only to come up against one last formidable foe. Ji-woo is outmatched skillwise, but some dirty fighting turns the tables in his favor and he knocks the guy out. He looks through the guy’s pockets and finds his phone.

When he calls a number, Mi-jin answers and asks, “Did you take care of it?” Ji-woo answers, “Yes.” Her next question catches him off-guard: “What about Jin-yi? You said the detective and Jin-yi were together—” which is when she realizes she’s been found out. (This can mean two things — either Jin-yi’s another target, or she’s an accomplice.)

Ji-woo calls Jin-yi to ask for a meeting, declaring that he has found Melchidec. He meets her in Busan for another of their not-quite-flirty, roundabout conversations. She wants his info, and dangles some of her own as leverage — she knows who killed Kevin. Neither wants to give in first, and both offer to give up their info after the other person has offered theirs. They settle for a ferry ride to Japan, which is where Melchidec is.

Kai’s secretary Sophie informs him that Jin-yi was seen entering her cabin with someone (Ji-woo), and presents the security footage as evidence. Kai considers the possibility that Jin-yi is being forced to accompany the man, but also tells Sophie to make sure Jin-yi isn’t aware he’s watching her.

On the ferry, more flirting is attempted, and rebuffed with a slap. Ji-woo is pretty much the definition of incorrigible.

In the cabin, Ji-woo pretends to take a shower to sneak a call to his PI friend, who has looked into Jin-yi’s background. It’s with shock that he hears that Jin-yi’s dead parents were the Vegas couple — and it makes him think of his attackers. Perhaps related?

Jin-yi does some snooping of her own, looking through Ji-woo’s bags and swiping his tablet computer — just as a ship crewmember creeps up to the room with a gun. But he’s friend, not foe, sent by Kai to extract her.

Ji-woo emerges to find the room empty: Jin-yi has disappeared. Back in Seoul, the cops get a report of a missing person on a boat to Japan. The person who filed the report is Ji-woo, albeit using a false name.

Ji-woo is therefore brought in to the police station, where yet another Chuno alum (Lee Jong-hyuk) handles the matter. Ji-woo is fixated on Jin-yi’s disappearance, saying she may have been kidnapped, but the official informs him that there is no trace of this woman on any of the ship’s cameras. It must have been Kai’s man who wiped the evidence of Jin-yi from the logs, and now the officers look at Ji-woo like he’s talking crazy.

Dressed as a crew member, Jin-yi is able to leave the boat without any fuss and is brought to Kai, who is relieved to welcome her with open arms.

Once more they go through their usual dance of him wanting to be together, and her telling him that she can’t risk him because she loves him. They’re actually quite sweet together.

The cops hie themselves to Japan, and Do-soo greets Ji-woo with a smile and a handshake. They have a mock-friendly exchange of salutations, but there’s no love lost here: Do-soo has been itching for this moment and he takes a heavy swing at Ji-woo, repaying him for that gunshot.

Ji-woo keeps his tone light, saying that Do-soo’s lost a lot of power in his punch, but his expression turns hard when Do-soo accuses him of killing Kevin and covering up the arson. He’s even got photos and a witness to incriminate him. Ji-woo glowers at Do-soo, insisting he’s innocent. He points out that the evidence is fishy — why do photos surface now when there were none before?

Handcuffed, Ji-woo is led to the door by two officers, but turns back for one last word to Do-soo: “You’re wearing your bulletproof vest, right?”

Immediately Do-soo understands what’s coming and he reaches for his gun, but Ji-woo is too fast for him: He swipes the gun from the officer’s holster and shoots Do-soo in the chest three times, then runs.

While Do-soo is down and the others to slow to react, Ji-woo fights his way out of the crowd in the hall and makes a break for it. Do-soo painfully gets to his feet and pursues.

The chase takes both men through hallways, down stairs, and through more hallways. Ji-woo looks right, then left, weighing his exit options. You can practically hear him thinking, “Oh, fuck” — the windows at either end of the hall are equally far away — and he picks one.

Do-soo gets out his gun and aims as Ji-woo takes a dive out the window, through shattered glass and into open air.

 
JAVABEANS’ COMMENTS

I had a hard time trying to figure out what I felt about Runaway. It was fun and funny. Definitely well-made, with the director’s trademark flair, and boasting a cast that is incredibly good-looking and charismatic. The plot is complicated but potentially interesting — there are a LOT of characters, and a lot of plot threads, so it’s to their credit that it’s relatively easy to follow the story once the premise is established.

But where’s that tug, that extra dash of interest, that connection to the characters? I don’t think every drama has to be moving or emotional or dramatic, but it does have to make me connect with it on a gut level. I’m not there yet with this drama.

Ultimately, I had to conclude that this drama is high on style, but lacks a soul. Funny enough, I decided that before recalling the last time a drama made me think that — Chuno, this writer-director duo’s previous drama.

Runaway certainly prizes cool. It’s slick, over-the-top, peppered with cheek, and overflowing with braggadocio. It’s not as serious as IRIS, but it stops short of being the total campfest that was A Man Called God. I mean this as a good thing, and the drama owes the director for finding that sweet spot making it feel like a mindlessly fun summer blockbuster. Everything is shot, acted, and orchestrated with the primary concern of Looking Cool, from the gratuitous action scenes to the gratuitous boobs and legs and washboard abs (not complaining!) to the casting of people who can’t act merely because they’re bilingual.

Side note: It’s a pet peeve of mine that this drama throws around languages like we’re supposed to be so impressed with its multiculturalism. Sometimes it works — I actually like how Daniel Henney mixes his English and Korean, because that’s totally how Korean-Americans talk — but if you’re gonna do it, shouldn’t you pay attention? For instance, the website gives the spelling as Melgidec, but the drama used Melchidec. Ji-woo’s own name has been spelled Gi-woo (website), Gee-woo (website and drama), and Jiwoo (drama). (Not to mention that his huge wall logo describes his job as, apparently, an inverstigator.)

I’m not pointing it out merely to be nitpicky — mistakes happen. I’m mentioning it because if you’re going to put on airs about being so global and cool and smart, then maybe you put your money where your mouth is and take some care with those pretensions. Is all I’m saying.

I know, I know, you’re griping that I’m being too picky, right? Somewhere in the world someone is writing me hate mail that reads, “GOD, it’s just a drama! Can’t you shut up and enjoy it?”

The thing is, if I felt the least bit of connection to it that scratched beneath the shiny-pretty surface, I wouldn’t mind the little things. Heck, I’ve fallen in love with much worse shows because they got to me somehow. But since that extra quality is missing, I feel this niggling sense of dissatisfaction in the back of my head and I’m trying to examine why that is.

Of course, now that I’ve harped on the stuff I don’t like, now I feel the need to come back ’round and defend it, because at the end of the day the first two episodes entertained me. I like the actors. Rain is great switching from jokester to lecher to intense badass, often within split seconds of each other. His sense of comic timing reminds me a lot of Lee Jun-ki, and I think he’s perfectly suited for the role. Personally, I don’t think he holds a candle to Lee Jung-jin with the latter’s rugged, intense quality, but maybe I just like my boys scruffy. I enjoy Yoon Jin-seo playing a sassy character who exasperates Do-woo, and I anticipate that her probable romance with him will make my day. And while I frankly don’t have a strong opinion of Lee Na-young in this role, she fits right in.

 
GIRLFRIDAY’S COMMENTS

Episode 1 was a cheesefest–intentionally, but a cheesefest nonetheless. Thankfully, Episode 2 was better, but it’s still missing that spark…the heart, the soul, the ki. Ji-woo is likable because he isn’t Bond. He thinks he is, but he isn’t, which makes him interesting and a bit of an underdog, although the show is trying really hard to make him too cool for school. I hate too cool for school. Here’s hoping that he keeps being a bit of a bumbler; otherwise I’ll lose interest in a hero who makes no mistakes.

I like the cops, and enjoy their dynamic too, mostly because they’re also bumbling. But they’re funny, and I adore So-ran’s crush on Do-soo. The problem is, I wish they were the central characters, because I don’t really care about Jin-yi and her conflict yet. I get that they’re trying to make her mysterious, but then we have no emotional hook. The Henney isn’t helping matters either, because he’s frightfully wooden in the first two episodes, and while he should have helped round her out emotionally, he serves to further distance her from the audience.

I want to like Runaway, but I don’t…yet. I get what they’re going for, and I like the tone, and the action (in case you’re going to assume I hate action, I will confess to having half a bookcase full of cheesetastic blockbuster Hollywood action films). I’m just a firm believer in one thing: you need to hook me, in the first two hours (and the second hour is just being generous). I have to feel something real for your characters. I’ll just cite the first episodes of Alias and 24 as two examples of shows that manage to balance action and heart in the course of the first hour. I don’t care if it’s over-the-top, but I need that kind of narrative investment, if you want me to love you. See, if I were rewriting this sucker, I’d have Kevin start the show off, the two of them on the Las Vegas job, and then he dies. Onscreen. Tears, swearing of vengeance, anger, confusion, then fast-forward to years later. Because that? Would hook me.

 
THE VERDICT?

Um… well… Even after all that, we’re both still ambivalent and are approaching with a cautious “Wait and see” approach. It could be fun to recap, but it could also end up turning into a chore. That means we will keep an eye on this week’s episodes, but we make no promises.

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141 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. jandoe

    wish i’ve time to actually watch this. i’ll lay it on y’all’s recaps to decide for myself haha :)

    • 1.1 ash

      aren’t u planning to write episodes 3, 4 and forth???? i have been waiting for it like ages!!!!!!!

  2. "PIG-RABBIT"

    YES Rain/bi is back!! really missed him alot, since his last drama. looking forward to this series. ABSOLUTELY LOVE HIM!!

    FIRST? (*^0^*)

  3. GomenApple

    WOW, thanks a lot for a speedy recap. Rain & David in one screen <3. I see there's Minority Report's John Anderton action but without the finger gadgets ^__^ . Let's hope it does really develop into something like Alias ! Thanks again !

  4. Anonymous

    Dayum! Daniel Henney looks hotter than ever, I couldn’t care less about the plot. If Henney is in there, I’ll be watching religiously, yeah… I’m that easy :p

  5. asianromance

    thank you for the recap and for the extensive commentary! The drama sounds interesting but I think I will need to watch it to really enjoy this one since it seems like a big positive about this drama is in the slick directing and how cool it all looks. All I’ve got to say is that I really want a bromance between Do-soo and Ji-woo!

  6. ANdie

    I heard some of the action scenes were shot in the Philippines.

    Either way, im not watching this.

  7. bbm

    the main reason i watch this is not rain, but Lee Jungjin. that man is smolderin’, LOL

  8. tamekadenise

    first.

    idk i feel the same way, i think it will hopefully get better with more episodes :)

    HOPEFULLY!

  9. aX

    I’m on a fence with this Kdrama but I’ll likely watch it. For one, it’s a great looking cast but then again, Boys Over Flowers had a great looking cast–and that failed MISERABLY for me. Then again, this is a different genre with a more exciting storyline, mature characters, and hopefully mature storyline, too. So overall, I think I’ll like RUNAWAY more.

    With that said, I’m still a little iffy about Lee Na Young being paired up with Bi Rain. I never thought they looked good together (yes, I’ve seen their CFs) but I’m hoping for the best.

    Lee Jung Jin is looking really good though. Loved him in 9 End 2 Outs and I love the fact that he’s portraying a cop and Danny Ahn, wow, he’s a surprise. I hope he’s a regular rather than a cameo.

    Still, I worry that this will still follow CHUNO. Like you said, I, too, felt that CHUNO had potential but no soul. I look forward to more of your RUNAWAY caps though. Please do more!

  10. 10 bjharm

    With all those hunks I can not see it failing. it well get some anti because of it but that going to get buried under the squeals of the fan girls..wonder how they going to write in every male lead going to at one time or the other topless..what a bet? Shall we start a count down..think we already had Rain..who well be next?
    Rain should get those abs of his insured they seem the be 50% of his ‘fame’ :-)

  11. 11 jenknight18

    The MGIAG hang over is still here.. finding hard to absorb this type of drama when my heart still wishes for more cute stuffs..

    But hopefully my broken heart has been mend by the time Athena gets on air..

  12. 12 foodbaby

    what’s with the justin bieber haircut?

  13. 13 alice

    My verdict: So-So… I love Rain but not the cheesy-ness and over exagerating…. there was this one scene in episode 1 where he comes out of the water and changes into a suit right out in the open with a girl server/waitress helping Mr. SpyRain who doesn’t want anybody to know he’s there…(?) I guess I had more expectations than it had shown but it’s a great start for them.

  14. 14 jun

    I loved it, Rain was born to play these kind of characters.

  15. 15 kimkim

    Who else thinks Henney, behind the facade of being the main lead’s lover, is secretly a bad guy plotting to get his hands on the money/gold first?

    • 15.1 anna

      Me!!!! Me!!!!!! LOL
      But it`s all because of his interview in Manila…

      • 15.1.1 Cheryl

        When I was watching the 2 episodes, I was wondering how you were going to recap this because everything (or rather, everyone) was shrouded in mystery! D: And yes to the comment somewhere above, I think Kai/Henney might be wearing a mask too. Heh. I had a good laugh when Chow Yun Fatt Lite came on. He brought the same mannerisms and speech to this show too! Oh, lulz!!!

        • 15.1.1.1 diane

          My thoughts too.

    • 15.2 summer.sun.happy

      me three ^^

    • 15.3 pohonphee

      I smell that too…sniff, sniff

  16. 16 jossy

    ‘scuse me while I pop my eyeballs back into my head..
    lol
    That said, i enjoyed the first two eps, the Man Candy is a lovely pleasure too..
    haha @GF comments about thr missing ki, i kinda feel ya there..

    I wasn’t gonna say this, but I don’t care The three lead guys kinda parrallel our beloved faction heads of SS (don’t shoot me, Bond style :) ); not in terms of character, in fact, far from it, err, just sayin’… from a purely shallow perspective, KBS sure are laying the eye-candy on thick!
    rawr..
    and one more thing, I think rugged is the look of hot these days..
    now, I shall go cleanse my soul..hehe

  17. 17 Deepblue_velvet

    To all Koreans : Please respect RAIN for all the things that he ever done to increase ur country’s pride! :)
    I guess there’s no one in Korea did that stuff more than him on this area.. don’t always judge him & talking thrash on him.. >.<

  18. 18 selina

    I plan to watch this for LEE Jung-jin and Yoon Jin-seo. I adore these two actors and wish they and their characters were the leads. Thanks for the recap. Will watch this once my drama plate gets cleared up a bit.

    • 18.1 gala

      same here. hoping and praying that plot doesnt lead to Lee Jungjin falling for Lee Nayoung’s character [cause my impression is that Rain will fall for her and vise versa].

      i didnt plan to watch this but seeing that it actually has “funny-ness” then i’m now a wee bit interested. i dont like intense police/investigation/thriller/action stuff unless i can get a good laugh here and there.

  19. 19 v

    Thanks for the recap! it helped me a lot.
    i’ve watched the first 2 ep and since i couldn’t understand exactly everything that was said and went on, and i wanted to reserve my judgement for later, when i would have the subs to understand those small parts i couldn’t catch. sigh, why is korean such a hard language… -_-”
    but first impressions can’t be avoided and i felt that it was over-the-top cheesy and my impression was confirmed by your recap as well. thankfully, it had other good points to redeem itself and I miss my smiling rain. i’ll be watching this week eps with an open mind and hope itll hook me… otherwise i might have to drop it for a while since i’m too busy right now. I REALLY want to like it though so pd-nim, please don’t disappoint me.

  20. 20 rant

    What is Chow-Yun-Fat Lite doing here?

    • 20.1 brookeeve

      LOL that’s what I thought, too!

      • 20.1.1 rant

        I mean seriously, I was like, “What the Heck! You again?!, I missed you man!” lol

    • 20.2 djinni

      i totally lol’d when i saw him and yelled out “chow yun fat lite!” scaring the heck out of my husband.

  21. 21 brookeeve

    I can’t find it subbed, and as I am Korean language retarded all I got to appreciate was lines from The Henney… and that wasn’t the biggest piece of cake in the show. Rain is still fine as frog’s hair, and I enjoyed every minute he was on the screen.

    I like my action flicks. That being said, the first couple of minutes told me to turn my brain off. I like seeing a man riding a Hayabusa motorcycle even if I’m a little uncertain of the physics related to riding said heavy weight motorcycle in a wheelie for approximately eight to ten seconds… (that sucker can accelerate 0-60 in less than 3 seconds with a maximum speed of 280 mph) … why would you turn around to shoot some fools? I figured out right then that I should suspend all reality to enjoy the show… which I did. It was great fun, and all I’m going to need next week to watch it is some popcorn and a sticky note reminding me to not think, just watch the pretty people set stuff on fire.

    • 21.1 Tammie

      i just watched all espisodes in english sub titles on http://www.hulu.com i had never heard of rain befor am now watching utube videos of him, very very nice and daniel henny wow trying not to drool on my pc lol am trying to find soundtrack list to the songs played in runaway does any have it? thanks

  22. 22 moonie

    Chuno pattern just cracks me up. LOL…

  23. 23 Anonymous

    I was gonna watch it cuz of Rain (yes sometimes i can be superficial like that) but the ratings didn’t hurt at all! (in my defense, i didn’t watch cindrella’s sister when it was pretty popular)

    I think I will like it cuz I like the type of characters Rain is playing.. falsely accused, insanely smart, but not perfect w/ his flirty attitude.. and investigator? thats just FUN .. but i still jhaven’t watched it yet, so looking forward to actually watching it

    • 23.1 Ani

      Makes you think of Vash the Stampede from Trigun… Okay, makes ME think of Vash. I mean, jokey woman ogling guy on the outside, intelligent gunslinger on the inside? Of course I would compare Rain’s Character to the AWESOMENESS that is VASH. XD

      • 23.1.1 Laica

        OMG me too! I didn’t even think of that when I was watching it! I may have to watch this drama after all.

  24. 24 Ani

    Oh Ji Ho needed more air time. Juuuuuust sayin’. Anybahloo, not bad. I’m not a Bond fan, though I do love my action, I mean Triple X anyone? Vin Diesel was alright, but Ice Cube blew him out of his trousers. What? So my taste is questionable. All the same, this is something I wouldn’t mind watching with a living room full of people (so we can poke fun at it or get out minds blown out of this world together). But to watch on my own? Eh, not so much because it seems it’ll require effort. XD In any case, I’ll give it a shot when I can. Thanks jb and fri.

  25. 25 roro

    I really love this drama , can’t wait for ep 3 <333

  26. 26 trixicopper

    I’m all for the ham,the cheese and all that candy for dessert. Yes, I really am just that shallow.

    I don’t have a problem turning off my brain, putting my feet up and just enjoying the pretty. :)

  27. 27 Eliza

    i loved the scene with Rain and Lee Dahae…they should’ve been the leads in a rom-com.

    • 27.1 Laica

      Lee Da Hae looked like she was really enjoying herself. Maybe it’s just that it’s so refreshing to see an expression other than woe-is-me on her face after Chuno. ;)

  28. 28 hester

    lol…is that picture with Daniel Henney supposed to be them in Canada?? how picturesque. :-p

  29. 29 Ladymoonstone143

    Thanks for the recap. I am still at a crossroad about this drama. I was into MGIAG and now PK that I still can’t get myself into watching this yet. I do love the recap…thanks

  30. 30 djes

    Lee Jungjin caps get me intrigued!
    arrgh. too many dramas I want to see.

  31. 31 Finerprint

    OMG. sorry for saying this, for a while I thought the guy in the middle of the Chuno pattern part was Lee byung hun.

  32. 32 dit

    I’m also wishing that Soran and Dosoo are central characters because I find Jinyi to be so bland. And part of it is because Lee Nayoung fails to connect to audience. I think she’s a good actor, but there’s an emotional gap from her character to me. Plus, she has zero chemistry with Rain. Even cameo Lee Dahae had better chemistry with him.

    • 32.1 Ladymoonstone143

      I totally agree with you. I saw that part with Lee Da hae and they look good together…:)

  33. 33 Elly

    Now that I know that Yoon Jin-Seo will be in here, I think I will watch it. I absolutely adore her and she is an incentive for me to watch.

  34. 34 Dara

    Based on your recap here, my verdict is NOpe, will wait for Marry Stayed Out All Night.

    I do enjoy you gals’ opinions on drama so be picky as you like, and I’ll be listening.

    Thanks for your recaps, JB & GF.
    (It’s ‘my garang forever’ day today, YIPPY!)

  35. 35 hjkomo

    I’ve only had time to watch half of the first cheesetastic hour, but I spent most of it counting the cameos (including the guy with Jo Hee-bong in Thailand, who played Eop-bok’s master in Chuno). We may just have to play a drinking game with this one – one glass of maekju for every cameo and one shot of soju for every choco ab-flash…and a soju bomb if both happen simultaneously. What’ya say, JB and GF – you in? :P

    • 35.1 javabeans

      I don’t think my stomach (or liver!) could handle it.

    • 35.2 girlfriday

      @hjkomo: You are SICK. And I like it.

  36. 36 thumbsom

    If this lacks soul, than Playful Kiss lacks…meat?
    Sorry, JB. I’m an ajumma who has been enjoying your blogs for two years. I have loved the way you dissected dramas like an acclaimed movie critic but your reviews/views have changed so much as of lately. Your consistency is gone. What gives?

    • 36.1 javabeans

      Genuinely curious: Are you saying that because your opinion differs from mine, that I’m wrong and therefore “inconsistent”?

      I don’t know what you think has changed in terms of reviewing style, other than the fact that I’ve been writing this blog for four years now and I’d be horrified if I haven’t changed at all in four years.

      And yes, Playful Kiss does lack meat. I still enjoy it because it has warmth and heart. But that doesn’t mean one drama is better than the other, and I clearly said I was entertained by this one.

      • 36.1.1 Cloudy_sky

        love your reply, how can one NOT change in 4 years, that’d be scary n boring!!

    • 36.2 a_fan

      not meat, flesh. We’re only getting hair so far.

  37. 37 cjmfan

    so who’s taller? rain or jungjin….just kidding! :D

    thanks for the recap!

    • 37.1 paperdolls

      ha ha ha! that was a cute joke! loved it.

    • 37.2 Laica

      lol!

    • 37.3 arivle

      LMFAOOOOOOO!!!! best line so far here….and my money goes to hunk delicious, hot as hell Jung Jin..OMFG that guy is just too hot, sorry Rain fans but he can’t compare to Jung Jin….why can’t my other Korean Hotest Man Alive, aka Oh Ji Ho be star of the Runaway Train….thank U for Girls for the recaps…but I’ll wait for Mary Stay all Night…and keep watching PK…. :P :D

  38. 38 Laica

    Thanks for the recap, guys!

    JB, it’s funny you had the same feeling as with Chuno even though they’re so vastly different in subject and tone. I had the same feeling with Chuno – I just couldn’t get into it and dropped it after 4 episodes. I think I’ll trust you on this one and reserve my drama watching time for something else :)

    Totally irrelevant, and I don’t know if it was intentional, but I found this hilarious: in the scene where Rain is walking away from the exploding car, open shirt flapping in the wind… his man-boobs were jiggling. I died. I’m sorry, but that totally killed the sexiness of topless Rain for me. :P

    • 38.1 djinni

      haha.. i noticed that too! the whole opeing scene to me was so cheesy that i started craving a large pepperoni extra cheese pizza. pizza hut should have advertised during this show. their sales would have shot up fo sho!

  39. 39 koalabear

    I’ve only seen Episode 2 and I’m not sure if I will watch this in its entirely though I liked some parts but I have the same feeling as JB and GF do, I will watch it again this week and I will not get my hopes high for now

  40. 40 dramafan88

    what…pls dont give up on a drama with Rain and JungJin – noooo – dont say that.

    I actually love the feel of this drama after reading your recaps. It’s about time for an action comedy drama-we haven’t had one good one this year! So it will be worth it girls!

  41. 41 NIelseN

    runaway may have the best actors but again the pulling power to attract viewership depends on genre. from historic ratings, majority prefer family orientated stories than action-packed & dangerous stunts. it’s already proven over time, dramas by unknown stars can draw audience by droves, viewers like good script.
    put in 10 more no. 1 world stars like Rain not gonna push up ratings, it doesnt work that way anymore. dont blame antis are out to down Rain, just be realistic to truth. it will be miracle if runaway can turn 30%. LNY didnt come out tops, nothing much to garner better ratings except gorging at more abs.
    weekly ratings for last week, All for Marriage hold top spot No. 1 at 25.3% versus Runaway in no. 10 position at 19.7%
    new drama to compete this week is Daemul, if it’s more related to family then it may have the pulling power, nevermind Kwong Sang Woo is in bad image due to his recent scandal, but it has Cha In Po.

  42. 42 diadda

    Repost of OT entry, skip if you read it :)

    Ok so the thing is as I was starting off runaway I started to have MST3k syndrome. Where you automatically start bashing something that is so awful, with snide comments and remarks.

    I thought, what the heck, why not share this mental anguish with others? I am trying not to give away plot point but only my commentary on messy events. For details on what is going on, watch for yourself…

    We open with Rain half naked swimming to a fancy bikini party that he is not invited to. Shock of shocks, as he is definitely a spy type and sent to steal the sacred Septor of Chuma from some poorly dubbed portly looking mobster type. He finally gets his disguise on with the help of a contact in a bikini.

    Itsy-bitsy bikini squad helps distract the guards, while he sneaks his way to the Septor without anyone noticing. Which is why I say you should always have a female or two among security, they would have noticed a dripping wet Rain in a waiters uniform. Anyway he eventually gets caught when two other guards stumble on him holding the septor. Let the beyond sense gunfight begin! Complete with fast cuts to a flying foot and tumbling like no bodies business. If only bullets from 20+ mobsters could hit our agile star the show would be over. Alas it is not meant to be.

    As he starts to strip he runs to a waiting motorbike outside the party location. This distracts the guards from noticing the septor was left by our hot boy in the bushes for Bikini girl. Mission accomplished?! Yay! Now to get away from two speeding jeeps filled with bad guys with guns. I always wanted to know where these fully armed vehicles magically appear from in the 80′s cop shows..hmmm Apparently this show has found that answer. As a third car appears.

    Our poor Rain might catch a cold since he has his shirt undone and is now blasting through the city at break neck speed again avoiding the poorly shot bullets of 20+ men. Fortunately with the help of that motorbike and a stunt double, he blows them up and walks away from the explosion all cool, half naked, and in slow montion.

    Then we get the title Runaway Plan B. Ooo exciting! All that before the credits.

    Next we see Tokyo and our former Chow Yun Fat -lite from Gumiho. He appears to be a ring leader in this spy hootenanny, and is explaining the charms and weaknesses of our precious Spy to Do Soo(Lee Jung Jin) and with quick cuts back and forth we also get to see Rain in a suit having a drink with a girl he asks to marry even as he is looking at other girls legs. He has a lick-your lips, mouth gaping fetish for them apparently. He continues to ogle even as he professes his love and caring. The “cute faces” he makes to appease this poor delusional woman are scary, and from Bi that is really hard. Insult to injury he asked for money for the ring he just bought. As the ring is rightly chucked back at him (by an actress who is too good to be in this so I am omitting her name) he spies yet another pair of legs that give him great interest.

    Do Soo gets pissed with all this talk of that goofy guy and shoots Yun Fat-lite’s cigar while he is still holding it. His hot temper was the first thing to get my attention in this show. Gold Star for you!

    Crap, it’s Bi again and this time he is having a debate over love and money with a buddhist monk in a temple. It is to show the audience that he is a skeevy money hungry perve. But we, the viewers saw that last scene so was this manifesto of bull really needed? Yeah he also wants information and a lead on other money matters, but really is this needed? At least could he take off his clothes when he does it?Am I right?

    Next we are ported to James Bong Investigation Agency and a lesser dressed Bi. My mute went on but I think he found what he wanted cause he offered money in exchange for it. A metal can of hair spray? Doesn’t he know about CFCs and how bad that is for the environment.? It looked like the perfect hair products costs lots of money too. Anyway off to a different Buddhist temple in Thailand where he whips out his newly acquired hair product and sprays a lock. Wait! Wait! Wait! You spent all that money on a lock opener? No wonder you can’t afford a damn ring. The lock freezes and falls off. I still say a crow bar, a key, or maybe any number of the super spy skills should have been able to handle a lock.

    And “Bingo” he is caught stealing an art piece and forcibly removed by the fully armed monks. But you and I know 30 monks with super training can’t catch our Spy boy and he runs out to the James Bong truck and gets away with a knowing grin.

    He goes to meet the nicer monk in Korea who put up with his babbling before, and we get the exposition and explanation of what happened to this Monk’s art work. Complete with flashes to his arrival at this first temple and his ingenious evidence gathering skills, trips to his secret spy bunker where he can look at tech-no gadgets and say “bingo”. This is how the theft was done and so on and so forth. Mean while Lee Na Young has been listening and watching this whole bit of nonsense outside with her cell. Posing like a supermodel in the moonlight selling a phone, I guess I was supposed to be in awe of super spy coolness, but since at this stage of technology a 5th grader could have done it better and with less obvious tools.

    I’ll skip over the next bit of information on her back history and plot points and move on from that mellow drama.

    Back to the Cheif Do Soo in his head quarters. Danny Ahn what the devil are you doing in this? Seriously?! Happy you are acting, but why here? Cause you were in Chuno? I need to shake you don’t I?

    Finally we get to see the 4th lead in this hot mess, Yoon Jin Suh comes out fighting on a bus to stop a thief. Close quarters combat scenes can be exciting and make people’s hearts jump, so why when she throws a guy through the windows do I not really care?

    At this point I figure the rest of you get the idea or have gotten as completely bored as me. I am 30 minutes in and want to beat someone. I don’t know if I can keep watching this even on mute. but for this much eye candy will try.

    ________

    I did finally finish both episodes and it does get better. but I agree with the ladies of this site. It is missing that certain something.

    • 42.1 Anonymous

      dang gina!

  43. 43 orenji13

    City hunter???

  44. 44 SAMZZY

    Lee Dahae, best cameo ever, we at Dahae’s camp really waiting for this, and we know u’r still the best there, from loving romantic charc with Kim Bum, now as a delusional spoil brat Bi’s girlfriend, ha ha, I love Plan B and of course Rain.

  45. 45 rainerust

    I stopped after the “test” thing. I was somewhat looking forward to this, because I heard it was going to be rom-com-action-thriller thing, but…not working for me. Agree that it lacks that x-factor that has had me hooked on worse dramas (in terms of directing, writing, lighting etc). Think I’ll wait on your recaps and see if anything changes. Doubt it though – I hardly ever pick a drama back up once I yawn and drop it.

  46. 46 kit

    wow rain’s character sounds a lot like lee dong wook’s in partner. and then i realise, it’s a classic stereotype. oh, right. heh.

    this looks pretty interesting, but i usually can’t keep interested if – as you guys said, it has no soul. hm. it certainly looks very pretty though +_+

    thanks for the recap!

  47. 47 Krix

    Thanks Javabeans and Girlfriday for the recaps.

    I got 15 min into the first episode and stopped.

    Your recap pretty much sums up the reason I didn’t finish the first episode and did think about continuing onto the second.

    The “cheese” factor was a bit much to take without English subs, which I would need in order to find something to keep me interested in Runaway.

    GF your 2 hour mark is more lenient than mine -> I wish I had the patience. :-)

    I am still open about the drama IF English subs come along otherwise, Dr Champ and Sungkyunkwan Scandal will do for my Kdrama fix.

    • 47.1 Krix

      correction -> didn’t think about continuing onto the second.

  48. 48 snoopyvkd

    Thanks for the comments of both of you. I skipped through the 1st episode and didn’t like Rain (please be calm, don’t throw things, just think as one person less to share him with). I’ve loved Lee Jung Jin since 9 ends 2 outs so i’m really torn to decide to watch this or not. Patiently awaiting your opinions on this week’s episodes.

  49. 49 Denali

    Hmm. So it looks nice but it feels numb, then? With an “n” not a “d”?

    The drama with the most numerous 6-pack scenes contest has started: it’s been a tie between “Fugitive” and “Dr Champ” so far. Who is going to win – the viewer, maybe?

  50. 50 Sasha

    I find it hilarious how you guys say this has no soul and bash it to pieces but then you love Playful Kiss and all those other stupid pretty boy dramas. I found them very boring! I’ll take Rain over them any day of the week.

    Don’t bother recapping this if you find it so tedious. With a recap like this you just sound like a Rain hater. I already thought so anyway.

    • 50.1 Reem

      I agree -.-”
      I loved this drama and i think it’s way better than PK -.-”

    • 50.2 Ladymoonstone143

      The recap Javabeans did is great and it piqued my interest so I tried to watched it. I enjoyed the LDH part with Rain but that was it.

      I don’t think Javabeans is a Rain hater but like you said, it is just your thought and my opinion differs.

      I am one of those people that is enjoying PK and proud to say, I enjoy this kind of “boring” pretty boy dramas…:)

    • 50.3 coconana

      Because this line from JB:

      “I like the actors. Rain is great switching from jokester to lecher to intense badass, often within split seconds of each other. His sense of comic timing reminds me a lot of Lee Jun-ki, and I think he’s perfectly suited for the role.”

      is so absolutely full of hate? ;)

      I think both JB and GF are in agreement that, as of yet, there’s no real emotional investment in the story. That is something that could change as soon as the next episode. You brought up PK, and it, too, started off kind of lackluster, but managed to get to a pretty sweet and engaging place soon thereafter.

    • 50.4 Anonymous

      dang ginah!

    • 50.5 nara:)

      I find it hilarious when people can’t take JB and GF’s constructive criticism on a drama just because their idols are the main leads. Everyone is entitled to his own opinions whether or not it conforms with yours.

    • 50.6 v

      lol… i’m a self-proclaimed PKer right here and also someone who didn’t get gripped by runaway right away, although it entertained me…
      and even biased as i am against runaway, i don’t see how JB is a rain hater from her recap… she was just giving constructive criticism, not bashing. and clearly said she enjoyed it nevertheless. actually, her recap ameliorated my initial opinion of runaway and solidified my will to watch ep 3, if anything.
      and if you read her PK recaps, she was criticizing it as well when it deserved it.

    • 50.7 lala

      Fellow Cloud – can you relax? :)

      What Javabeans said was a COMPLIMENT. I’ve been his fan for 6 years old and I also know a lot of long-time fans. We have a LOT more to say about his acting. Anyway, everyone is entitled to his/her opinions. You don’t need to bash someone just because you don’t agree with what he/she thinks.

      My biggest gripe : He is now too old to be pulling those cutesy faces.

      Other than that, he has done quite well.

      • 50.7.1 Deepblue_velvet

        No lala..he’s not too old for those cutesy thing..lol
        anyway,no one (except his fans) will immediately realize that he is almost 30 because his face IS still cute (even without any cute expression) xDD

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