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Did Rain steal Lee Min-ho’s thunder?

It was big news when Lee Min-ho was cast as a womanizing PI in the kdrama adaptation of the famous manga and anime series City Hunter, which was hugely popular in the 1980s. So what has the production team suddenly worried?

Apparently, it’s the similarity of City Hunter’s distinctive Ryo Saeba character to Rain‘s lead character in currently airing drama Runaway Plan B, as well as the storylines of the two projects. When Runaway premiered, a lot of viewers noted the familiarity of Rain’s Ji-woo to the well-known City Hunter hero, with his detective occupation, incorrigible flirting with pretty women, and chic urban style.

The similarity itself isn’t the only issue, though; what makes things stickier is that Runaway, which got off to such a strong ratings start, has nearly halved its audience at the midway point. If it had continued to be a hit, perhaps there’d be less worry — just as one vampire/zombie hit is sure to spawn dozens of imitators — but with the first one faring poorly, there’s concern that the second would meet a similar fate.

There have even been rumors that the production is reconsidering its direction with City Hunter, and is waiting things out before making a final decision. Currently, the series is being planned for an early 2011 broadcast on SBS.

It’s an interesting dilemma. On one hand, there are tons of dramas out there with similar topics that get produced all the time, and sometimes it’s just a matter of certain trends emerging at once. For a while we had a spate of legal and medical dramas, which have since faded. Then you had 2009 as the year of the (failed) sports drama, focusing on everything from boxing to soccer to golf to figure skating. Heck, there were even two versions of Iljimae.

On the other hand, you can see where there is concern that the first drama will steal the thunder from all those that follow — remember Cinderella Man‘s lawsuit with Fashion King, or Style versus Magazine Allo? And even though MBC’s Return of Iljimae was vastly superior to SBS’s Iljimae in writing, directing, and acting, SBS purposely hurried their production in order to scoop MBC, aired first, and brought in the bigger ratings. (They also had the bigger star — Lee Jun-ki — which certainly helped.)

So, you can see the reason for concern. Lee Min-ho was a great “get” for this role despite his youth (at 23, he really is too young to play Ryo, imo), but now there’s a likelihood that everything he does would be compared to Rain’s performance — either he’d be called a copycat, or fall short of the comparison.

Still, Lee is taking an optimistic line, and on October 26 a rep from his management stated, “The character Kang Jin that Lee Min-ho will be playing is different from the original character in a number of aspects, and the script has not yet come out. I think you’ll find that Kang Jin is a fresher and more three-dimensional character than expected. These days, Lee Min-ho is busy preparing to express that character. Please don’t worry and look forward to Lee’s Kang Jin.”

As for me? I’ll be watching both!

Via Hankook Ilbo, TV Report

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Oh.. I'm sure excited for Lee's Kang Jin. Weeeh! ;D
Thanks for sharing JB!

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hay...plz don't pressure my min-ho oppa...his new project....that's what i'm waiting for...forget about the rating...it is lee min-ho whom we all waiting to see
reallyyyyy looking forwand to it....dying to see...eeeeeeeeee
though i do not want to watch his flirting women character...it will break my heart... :'(

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So cute! First to comment :)

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I want to see Lee Min-ho play a scruffy goofy mess of a character. As much as I like him in all of his sophisticated urban chic roles, I want to see him do something different!

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Right!? I kinda want him to be a bad guy that's bad to the bone. :D Then the girl comes and melts his heart, but then she likes this other guy better then him, which breaks his heart, but he let's her go. :D Cheesy, I know, but it's what I want.

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Personally, I only watched two episodes of Runaway and I don't plan to watch more - but it wasn't because I didn't like Rain's character. It's a new kind of lead that gives us a refreshing change from Mr. Darcy redux ad infinitum. So the mere fact that the character is similar I don't think is an issue, if LMH can pull it off as well or better. Rain does sleazy surprisingly well. :)

I can see why the production team is worried though. Hopefully the tone and the focus of the story will be different enough that it will be interesting to watch, in the same way we enjoy watching different incarnations of, say, the hard-luck cinderella-type story.

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That's a rather lulzy pose from Rain, isn't it?

I stopped watching Runaway a while ago and I haven't really missed it. There was nothing specifically wrong with it -- I liked Rain, Lee Jung-jin, the other cops, the explosions, etc -- but it just didn't grab me for whatever reason. I'd totally be willing to watch City Hunter, though, because a different production crew might be able to make City Hunter interesting where Runaway is not. Besides, I highly doubt the plot is exactly the same. (Not that I'd notice, since I never fully understood what the plot of Runaway is anyway..)

And totally off topic, but have you seen the new Secret Garden trailers, JB? It looks like fun. :D

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Even though comparisons are going to be inevitable because of the similarity of the two main characters, I don't think they'll affect City Hunter's ratings too much. I can't say anything for audiences in Korea, but what turned me off Runaway was less the main character and more the plot itself and the fact that it was too slick and lacking emotion. Hopefully City Hunter will be able to avoid those problems. Lee Min-ho is a great actor; I'm sure he'll be able to create a different, distinctive version of the character type =]

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Me too I'll be watching both! While the similarities might be 'concerning', I think Rain's character in Plan B is somehow ... tackier? So as a fan, I don't see any reason to worry; why overshadow myself with worries when I get the occasion to watch Lee Min Ho playing a damn hot womanizer :P !

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I stopped watching Runaway after 2 episodes. Somehow the plot and the characters did not touch me. With a different director , a good production ,and if they can pull the audience in (I think Lee Min Ho's acting can do that.)it does not matter if the story is similar.

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LMH shouldn't even be compared to RAIN! BLEH!

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Firstly, I am a big fan of Rain both as a singer & an actor. He is definitely a cut above the rest and Korea is lucky to have such a talented artist within their mist.

As for Lee Min Ho, one successful drama doesn't make him special and extraordinary. In fact, his acting skills in BOF was somewhat average. BOF had a following not because of LMH but due to the input of the 4 male leads & the lead actress. Without the others, LMH would not have pulled in the audience.

I'll go Runaway, without doubt.

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I haven't watch Runaway yet (waiting on all eps and subs first) and I don't know enough about City Hunter to draw any comparisons other than what I read about. However, it really wouldn't matter to me how similar the two shows might be - I want to see Lee Min Ho in all his hotness again, and I'm hoping for lots and lots of gratuitous, er, artistic bare chest shots!!!!!!!

Since I haven't watched Runaway, I don't know how much, if any, romance is in it. Doesn't City Hunter have a romantic side to it? I reeeeeaaaaaallllllyyyyy want to see LMH lay some REAL kisses on his leading lady again! [goes to rewatch sections of Personal Taste for the 1001st time]

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I gave Runaway a shot. One episode. And that was it. Couldn't stand Rain's facial expressions (yeah, I KNOW a lot of you think they're cute, but to me, they're really annoying). And if you're gonna do a thriller, do a thriller. Don't throw in depthless corny-ness with it. It just comes off looking like you're trying too hard.

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AGREED. Runaway was supremely boring and cheesy.

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Oh man, I was so pumped for LMH's foray into this genre! Rain is ok, but personally I think he's a bit overrated- don't throw tomatoes at me, just sayin'.

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Lee Min Ho is 1 of the underrated young actor in korea.
Korea entertainment industry should treasure such talent..

no doubt BOF popularity was not just Lee Min Ho contribution, but all the 4 guys and Goo Hye Sun.. however, you have to give him credit for giving the best acting in BOF as compared with the other 3guys.

Personal Taste, he was so much better in acting than in BOF and there are so many articles praising him for it. Of course, the female lead and the supporting cast helped too.

I will watch Lee Min Ho's City Hunter for sure. It's a good change of role for an actor. He doesn't want to be sterotyped in any character and that is a good sign and what an actor should do.

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Lee Min Ho was underrated (and pretty much unknown to most people) before BOF, but clearly BOF has caused his popularity to sky rocket. I wouldn't say that he's OVERRATED though because he does have the talent to back up his popularity.

Runaway is one cheesy mess. I'm really disappointed knowing that these are a lot of the same people behind Chuno.

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bit confused what is the definition with underrated? I think kim myung min, hwang jung min, ryu seung beom, jang hyuk ( before chuno ), jo seung woo, gong hyojin those ppl what we call with underrated. They are well known with great acting but ... ( asses by yourself ).

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So right. Runaway is indeed cheesy and a mess. I love the actors- most of, anyway- but they story is just so... pointless. I think after 8 episodes, in most other dramas I'm well into the charcters and the story but Runaway just leaves me cold.

If only they made the cops the lead couple bacause thay seem to be much more engaging to watch. Anyway, I'm sure LMH and City Hunter will be a blast... if only they learn from the mistakes of Runaway and tone down to globetrotting and testosterone filled moments (I really do not think I can sit through another fight/chase scene) and instead give more thought to character and relational developments.

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I watched Runaway for a few minutes and quit cuz it was an action guy type of show. I like Rain but if I had to compare and choose, Lee Min Ho is prime. I'm not worried that these shows could be similar and therefore loses thunder. Analogy - 100 hundred people can be all wearing T-shirt and jeans but there'll be that few/one that would stand out and make that T-shirt/jeans like haute couture. I have a lot of trust in LMH's acting. So, depending on the script/director, this drama can be a big hit...let's see.

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I also quit Runaway. I felt very meh about the drama but did think that Rain was molten lava hot in it.

I agree with your points!

Lee Min-ho has got the chops, now we'll have to see if the writer and the director are up to snuff. Even if the characters sound similar on paper it's the execution that really matters. We've all seen Character Type A done in one production and then *perfected* in another.

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i think Minho would do better than Rain does in Plan B. :) I have faith in him!!!

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who cares? there can never be too mny hot womanizing guyz on screen for me :D im wtching runaway..&will deffi wtch City Hunter...will finnally get to see MinHo in a fun role :D
-sadie

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looking at LMH 's nose really turned me off. Go Rain!

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I cant stand this guy he is so overrated he reminds me of idols

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I started watching Plan B, but stopped more because of the storyline rather than Rain's character. The storyline is kind of confusing and there are so many characters. I actually like Rain's character in Plan B, it's so different than A Love to Kill (which I liked his acting in too). I would like to see Lee Min Ho is this kind of "womanizer" role too. I think it would be really cute and funny.

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Hmmm I understand the reasons for concern but I do hope that City Hunter still gets made and is actually pretty good.

I'm not that attracted to Fugitive: Plan B at all even though I do happen to like Rain and even more so... The Henney hehehe.

Come on Lee Min Ho!!!

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Whatever happened to Magazine Allo?

I think as long as there is a few month buffer between the dramas, it should be okay....though I do worry about Lee Min-Ho as the main character. Talented as Lee Min-Ho is...i don't think he is right for the role.

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I don't know if Lee Min Ho is right for the role .Don't get me wrong , I think he's adorable but I have yet to find him hot or sexy . No , just adorable.

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I'm with you Javabeans. "As for me? I’ll be watching both!"

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Oh, drama people. Chill out, they're both awesome. And, I can't believe Lee Min-ho is only 23. He's good at playing mature roles. Not that Gu Jun-pyo was mature, but you get the idea.

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Lee min-ho is pretty awesome, but i totally can not see him as Ryo. He is way too young to play the role and for me Ryo's age, in combination with the character is part of his appeal. So, Lee min ho is not my Ryo.... :(

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maybe they can portray the character in his younger years...? i know of city hunter but i'm not too familiar. so for me, i look forward to how it's gonna turn out.

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I'd watch both.

I actually really liked LMH in Personal Taste because there were a few moments (think when he lies about being gay to spare the Director's feelings) where he really shined and was completely captivating. BOF was fun and all (who says no to eye candy?) but for the most part it wasn't an exhibition of superior acting.

As for Runaway, I'm actually eagerly awaiting for newly subbed episodes. I actually really enjoy Rain's sleazy character, he pulls it off well. I like that the drama is slick and tacky at the same, almost as if it's always poking fun at itself. It's one of the few dramas where I just keep chuckling/laughing not because of a joke or comedic situation but just the overall flippant tone of the drama.

So I say, bring both on!

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I will definitely be watching both.....Rain is pretty amazing & funny in Runaway..his acting skill getting better each day... & the storyline are getting more intense now...

LMH did well in Personal taste .... and I am sure he will do well in CITY HUNTER...I trust the storyline will be differs somewhat...

It is similar to You're Beuatiful & Sungkyunkwan Scandal...similar situation but different storyline .... & both r equally popular!!

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sigh... I was anticipating City Hunter more. I hope they won't butcher the whole original thing they were going with and end up with something incoherent just for the sake of begin different but yes, I'll be watching both as well.

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There is one MAJOR difference - Lee Minho can act and VERY WELL. Rain is marginal at acting. There will be no contest or anticipation over ratings.

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Don't even push me for Runaway, I still have faith in LMH. He'll pull it off, similar or not.

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well another difference : L min ho is so much sweeter in the eye than Rain. Rain acting as a womanizer in the plan B --->more like a gayzer.

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Not interested in Runaway. I will watch City Hunter for the sake of LMH eventhough the storyline is quite similar with Runaway.

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dont fancy LMH acting - not in BOF nor Personal Taste not enuf punch coming out off him. too young to be taking up this new role. has to be much older like Won Bin, Jang Hyuk . Pretty boyish face wont work for LMH.

Got to watch 1st few epi of Plan B hoping for better but it didnt deliver, nod off to sleep few times n switch off. very dry and boring, Lee Jung Jin is the only eye catcher as acting performer. Rain did better in Love to Kill, was hoping for improvement but nope, agree with netizens critics that his acting was sort of fake, he wasnt acting his natural self & it really puts ppl off with his facial expressions but he was comical in some scenes. What shocked my dad "who is that ugly Korean actor?? I thought all korean actors are good lookers" ( he couldnt recognise he was world famous singer/actor but remembered Rain from Full House & he didnt like this drama which he claimed is stupid bickerings).

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i love your comments... and i like your dad - he's got good taste in dramas....hhahahahha

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i love your comments... and i like your dad's comments about rain and full house .... you listen to your dad, dads always know best.... heheheheheh

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both are overrated ! So i will watch both.

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I have confidence that Lee Minho will rock his role. After all, he played Gu Jun Pyo even though there were already countless versions of it, and was pretty awesome in it:)

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Aja Lee mInho

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I haven't seen Runaway Plan B yet so can't tell if it's good or not.
As for Lee Min Ho, i agree with Javabeans. Too young for the role. And if they have the (bad) idea to dress him like the ultimate metrosexual fashionista (like in Personal Taste, frankly short pants for a guy that tall !!), it won't work for me.

From what i know of City Hunter (Nicky Larson in France, any people from France here ?), he was cool and sexy but had a dark side too. And he would always wear the same type of clothe because it allowed him to carry a powerfull but light gun. And he was raised as a soldier, had a very dark past etc.

It would be a good change for a Lee Min Ho of course, but can't see him play this kind of man yet.

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rain or lee min ho?

i like rain but i got more love for lee min ho! (conflicted gu jun pyo at its best!)

got to see plan b/runaway of rain, got good action scenes but its not my cup of tea as of the moment.

excited to see lee min ho's takes for city hunters, i feel he would do well coz of his natural acting chops!

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the comment abt return of iljimae having better actors is so not true. iljimae had way better actors :D just saying :P

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I also thought the actors in Iljimae were superb.

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I had zero expectation for rookie LMH in BOF before it aired but boy did he just blow me away. Not sure how I'll like the drama adaptation of City Hunter but in terms of his acting, I'm pretty sure he will not disappoint!

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I havent watched Runaway but judging from the reviews its flaw is mainly on the plot so i hope City Hunter can use this opportunity to learn from it.

i hope the writer can translate the manga which should have an interesting story since its hugely popular into the drama with good writing and storytelling. and more than being all stylish, its important for a drama to connect with people. since CH's director is from Brilliant Legacy which had lots of heart and subtle moments, i hope he can maintain that in CH too. i seriously wish this can finally be a good quality drama for LMH after the hot-mess of BOF and a better but still greatly flawed PT.

on similar character, think about how overused the arrogant rich type of hero in kdrama yet its still ongoing and gaining interest. i dont think thats a problem especially with LMH who has the skill to make the character of his own. the downside, comparisons are to be expected. i think people who have great affection towards the original Ryo character will give critical views on LMH's potrayal similar to how his Junpyo was judged buthering the original Domyouji. i like LMH's potrayal of Junpyo more than other versions' so i dont care if his Kang Jin will not look like how Ryo is supposed to be. whats important is for him to win me over with his character.

i'm really looking forward to City Hunter and i hope it will turn out to be a great drama overall.

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I really doubt Lee Min Hoo's City hunter will do better than Rain's Plan B. I guess we will have to see...right?

City Hunter is one of my favorite animes after Ghost In The Shell so I hope I am NOT disappointed!

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does lee min ho has any thunder at all?personal taste had high expectation but in my idea it was a failure.Rain is a singer but he is so better than lee min ho.I prefer his P.I rather than lee min ho's

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finally someone said this. I love both actors indeed. I don't understand while many over hype fangirl said that LMH is a great or good actor. LMH is sexy or handsome, i really understand but good actor?. In my opinion his acting still mediocre, i forgive him since he is still young and he even haven't passed 10 years debuted. He can improve.
he is not kim myungmin that you can call great actor.
I think about overrated LMH More overrated than rain. IMO ok!

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All I can say. . .LMH = yum!

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Runaway is pretty boring but it has RAIN...well u cant compete wid him Min Ho baby...u still ve a long way to go...If RAIN cant save Runaway hw can LMH save his drama which is similar???
We saw what happened to PK wid KHJ in it...just eye candy doesn't work...not that i care...i ll definitely drool d way i did watching the ever so hot KHJ in white bath suit :L lololol
But drooling fangirls like us wont help the ratings and channels are only concerned abt the ratings.

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i think Lee Minho is a better actor than Rain. Rain tends to overact, specially his facial expressions. Also, Rain shouldn't have left the KDrama at the height of his career to pursue Hollywood. He should have honed his acting skills first

I hope nobody will kill me in my comments =)

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DID Hollywood make his acting worse.? I think this performance is all hammy mugging. The people are pretty, the sets are pretty, the location and wardrobe are hot, the thing is fast paced, but somehow SO WHAT? is all I got.
DOG and Wolf was my idea of an action story. Here they
Forgot yhe STORY.
btw, I love LMH, lots of potential there.

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LMH was what made BOF, wasn't it ? I always thought LMH was the main draw of the show, and the other 3 guys plus Gu Hye-sun were secondary. That's why he got flooded with CF offers during and especially after BOF ended.

And Ohman, yes, his nose is terribly big. I noticed it when I was watching his side profiles in BOF. It is HUGE when you compare it with the rest of his features. I say this at the risk of offending a gazillion LMH fans

As for Rain, I think his flippant and womanizing ways will fade as the drama takes on a more serious turn. As I was telling a friend recently, his bawdy / pervy exterior may be a cover up to mask something more serious or sinister. That's how much faith I have in the Chuno writers and I hope they do not fail me

Also, I think these 2 guys have 1 thing in common - they have made their mark and will probably be best remembered for their roles in BOF and Full House respectively. Those 2 shows were so big and popular that probably nothing else they take on after this can surpass it

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i dont find LMH handsome too. he has huge nose, fine, but still good looking.

but rain.. there's nothing good i can say about his looks... seriously. ugh!! i almost choke the first time i saw his picture, when my friendSSSS said they had a crush on this guy. *barf*

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Lee Min Ho is a good actor , but not a great one. In Personal Taste ,Son Je Jin' acting was the best .Even though I don't see him in this kind of role , I still hope he can pull it out. He deserves a great drama .

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i love rain in fugitive, he is a really good actor and expresses his character well
i am a big fan of lee minho after watching personal taste and he is an amazing actor! i look forward to his next project

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