The Korean Experiment with Classic European Literature | The Greatest Seducer

Cruel IntentionsThe Greatest Seducer came to an end last night, and I must say, that I have an absolutely mixed opinion about the show. It was an adaptation of the famous 1999 film, Cruel Intentions that starred Sarah Michelle Gellar, from her Buffy the Vampire Slayer days, with Ryan Phillipe and Reese Witherspoon. Cruel Intentions was furthermore, a modern adaptation of Dangerous Liaisons, a film based on a French play written by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos titled Les Liaisons Dangereuses, set in a relatively earlier time when marquises and counts were common in European society.

Park Soo Young Woo Do Hwan.jpgThe basic plot that all of these hold in common involves a man who is seeking the heart of a woman, who understands his sexual desire for her and is willing to abuse it. She presents to him the task to lure innocent women to sleep with him so that he can appear strong or dominating. Only if he can spoil innocent women without developing feelings for them, and dump them at the call of the woman he actually wants, will she actually allow him to love her. The man, somehow ends up falling in love with one of the woman he is asked to pursue, and when he does not want to come back to the original woman, hearts are broken, blood is let, and all hell breaks loose.

Kim Min Jae Moon ga Young Woo Do HwanIn this version of the story, instead of one boy and one girl, we have a group of two boys and one girl. The three are best friends, super rich with a love for gossip and a keen interest in the lives of their class fellows. Choi Soo Ji is played by Moon Ga Young, who leads the two boys in all of her missions to interfere in other peoples’ lives. Her best friends are Kwon Si Hyun (played by Woo Do Hwan) and Lee Se Joo (played by Kim Min Jae). Soo Ji is betrayed by an older man she is dating and wants to seek revenge on him. On finding out that he is interested in another girl, Eun Tae Hee (played by Joy of Red Velvet, credited as Park Soo Young in the drama), the trio makes her the object of their evil plans. Soo Ji puts Si Hyun to task, making a bet with him. If he pursues Tae Hee but denies emotional involvement with her, then Si Hyun can have Soo Ji, as his prize. If he does become emotionally involved, then Soo Ji wants Si Hyun’s red car that has emotional importance for him because it belonged to his mother who has passed away.

Woo Do HwanThe one glitch that this Korean drama remake had throughout its delivery was regarding the extra layers added by showing parental involvement in the lives of this absolutely crazy young blood. In order to try to prove that these youth are reckless because of absolutely convoluted relationships of their parents, the story went a little too far in my opinion. Furthermore, Kwon Si Hyun was literally embodying Duke Orsino from Twelfth Night. However, a Korean drama using the lovesick lover as a trope seemed a little out of place and made many of the audience a little uncomfortable. The whole idea of using the friends as a chorus was similar to the original Hollywood adaptations, but again, despite the brilliant exchanges of dialogue, there was something amiss. All the actors did definitely work hard, but making this drama kosher, and friendly to the Asian audience made it lose its racy element and so a lot of substance was lost. By removing the element of lust versus romance from the entire script, the drama turned into a typical makjang script that was hard to take in for a great number of the audience. However, somehow, towards the end, the drama gained a lot more substance than the original Hollywood adaptations. It’s really difficult to call it a thoroughly bad drama, even though it was definitely not the best that I ever watched.

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