Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Designated Survivor: 60 days a remake of American series

My memory fades of the original American version and is mingled with all three seasons.  The American and Korean versions both have lots of twists and lots of action.  The first two American seasons were edge of the seat exciting, but to me at least became tedious for the third season.

The main plot revolves around an explosion that kills off the legislators and allows a very lowly person on the totem pole to become the head of the nation. Tipping over the power structure of a nation lends itself to interesting plots.

The Korean series has a higher IMDB rating and is much shorter.  The greater length of the American version in my opinion hurts as after awhile the inevitable violence becomes tedious.  The "60 days" in the Korean title deals with the immediate problems after an almost inconceivable disaster and don't try to drag the plot to inevitable complications

The Korean version although following much of the plot outline uses at least two unique tools:  North Korea and a proposed Discrimination Act.

The Korean version is more focused on the political power struggle.  I felt there was more emphasis on the actual  explosion.  Secretary Han Soo Jeung is good in his explanations of power, when fired, praises president for finally exercising power.  The leading character is a political neophyte with many players plotting his downfall, but he is more steely in his character core.  He is a  master of psychology illustrated a few times by his understanding of the basic motives of others

For the Korean version, the first suspect is North Korea and a video seems to corroborate the notion prompting American military representatives to jump in.  Japanese are also moving in.  Before too long conflicts between Cambodia and Vietnam impinge on the investigation of the source of the explosion.  North Korean defectors (most of whom had risked their lives to escape a tyranny) become scapegoats and subject to violence in a strategy for a mayor to gain credibility for a run at president.  The opposition leader is a clever ambitious woman, but also decent.

Both movies depict the media leaking sensitive information and manipulating for their own benefit--doesn't that ring true?

A Discrimination bill that might lead to same sex marriages is by my understanding a very contentious issue today.  Korea has resisted recognizing same sex marriages.  Recently in a report regarding declining births they did recognize the importance of families but deliberately left out same sex parents

Power is intoxicating.  The hero at first sincerely claimed he wanted to go back to teaching, but  realized that he would be leaving power to the politically minded.  After the 60 days are up and an election has finished there is a sort of postscript that good intentions sometimes do have lingering effects.

The people who made this memorable film deserve some recognition.  The following is little more than a token, but I believe at least some of these names will go on to do other remarkable accomplishments.

Directed by Jong Sun Yoo who had done parts of three earlier series with this being his first to direct all 16 episodes.

Written by Tae Hee Kim who has been writing tv scripts since 2006.

Jin-hee Jin-plays the acting president.  He projects a naive, timid idealist sort of image, but in fact you realize he is wise to delay making decisions based on political calculations.  Check  He has been performing since 2002 and recently had a role in "Move to Heaven" (2021).  Check:

Jun-ho Huh plays the older advisor, Han Soo Jeung.  He appeared in a blockbuster"Silmido" (2003) and won a Supporting Actor award.  A revered actor for over 30 years he runs a musical and acting academy out of Los Angeles.   He is very key to appreciating this series.

Kim Joo-Heon plays a security boss.  His distinctive voice was recognized from  "It's Okay Not To Be Okay" (2020).  He also appeared in "Train to Busan" (2016).  Check

Kang Han-na played the female security agent with impressive action scenes.  She has been in Korean films since 2013.

 With political movies the hope always is the possibility for a good person to get good things done?  There is a lot of realism in this series, but some idealism as well.

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