As I began writing this review I couldn’t help but wonder just how helpful it would be. As I’m posting this, the show has over 40,000 fans on DramaFever alone so chances are you’ve probably already seen Decendants of the Sun. For those few of you who haven’t, yet, here’s a little plot synopsis and character review I hope you’ll find helpful.
During a much deserved break, Captain Yoo Shi-Jin and Sergeant Major Seo Dae-Young stop a thief but the guy gets hurt in the process and ends up being taken to a hospital. Sergeant Seo discovers his cell phone is missing and comes to the conclusion the thief must have taken it, so both soldiers head to the hospital to track down the phone. There, Captain Yoo meets beautiful Doctor Kang Mo-Yeon and falls in love at first sight. Before he leaves she has fallen for him, as well, and quick as a wink they both agree to start dating. Unfortunately, their governing values are too different (he wouldn’t hesitate to take a life if it were for the safety of the nation or one of its citizens, and she does her best to save lives regardless of what nation that person belongs to) and Mo-Yeon tells Shi-Jin she doesn’t want to see him anymore. Months pass and because Mo-Yeon rebuffs the rude, sexual advances of the chief of the hospital he sends her and a few other doctors on a medical charity mission to Uruk (a country that only exists in Decendants of the Sun). The day her group gets to Uruk she runs into Captain Yoo who is there with his team on a peace-keeping mission. Since he wasn’t the one to break things off between them, Shi-Jin still wants to be with Mo-Yeon and decides to pursue her, once again, in hopes of her giving him another chance. And it works. But can these two sweethearts keep the fire of love burning brightly when their jobs so often keep them apart?
The leader of Alpha Force, a branch of the Special Welfare Command, is Captain Yoo Shi-Jin (code name Big Boss). He is loved and respected by those of both lesser and higher ranks than himself. Although he’s a badass when he is wearing his uniform, he can also be gentle, kind, and funny. He loves his country, wanting only to protect it and its people. His definition of patriotism is, “Protecting children, seniors, and beautiful women, knowing what’s right even if someone points their gun at me, and preserving the honor of our soldiers.”
Beautiful Kang Mo-Yeon is a dedicated surgeon who also works in the E.R. She sincerely lives by the oath she took – “I solemnly swear I will dedicate my life to the service of mankind. I will carry out my duty to my patients regardless of their race, religion, nationality, and social status.” She is passed over for professorship, becoming a well-known TV doctor as a result.
Another member of Alpha Force is Sergeant Major Seo Dae-Young (code name Wolf). He loves being a soldier but feels the pressure of not thinking he’s good enough for the woman he loves, First Lieutenant Yoon Myeong-Joo. Although he would like nothing more than to be with Myeong-Joo, out of respect for her and her father he keeps a physical and emotional distance between them.
First Lieutenant Yoon Myeong-Joo is a skilled army doctor who happened to go to medical school with Kang Mo-Yeon. She loves Sergeant Major Seo Dae-Young and doesn’t care that her father, a well respected Lieutenant General, refuses to allow her to date a soldier who is not a man of high rank. She’s a feisty gal who takes her jobs as a soldier and doctor seriously.
Captain Yoo Shi-Jin is Song Joong-Ki’s first role after fulfilling his mandatory military duty. Song Joong-Ki insisted on doing all his own stunts and it ended up costing him his safety – he was injured doing one of the stunts. You can’t tell it, though. The guy kicks butt every action scene he’s in.
After a number of films and dramas, Song Hye-Kyo, who plays Kong Mo-Yeon, came to fame starring in the mega-hit Kdrama Autumn in My Heart opposite Song Seung-Heon and Won Bin. The lucky gal has had personal romantic relationships with two of her co-stars – Lee Byung-Hun (from the Kdrama All In and Hyun Bin from the Kdrama Worlds Within).
Married to a non-celebrity, this daddy of a one-year-old little boy, handsome Jin Goo, plays Sergeant Major Seo Dae-Young. He has spent most of his acting career making thrillers, horror flicks, and heavy dramas and films, playing intense characters like a gangster, thug, and even a serial killer, with only a few lighter shows thrown in here and there. He enjoys cooking and got to play a chef in the motion picture Le Grand Chef 2: Kimchi Battle.
Kim Ji-Won has been acting since 2008 but I’ve only seen her in two other things, To the Beautiful You and The Heirs. Her performance as army doctor First Lieutenant Yoon Myeong-Joo was very well executed. I look forward to seeing her in other things.
There are plenty of action scenes and each one is choreographed perfectly and carried out with amazing skill and talent. My hat goes off to the actors/stunt folks who made it all look so real. Several of the stuntmen are up and coming Greek actors. A big thumb’s up for a job well done.
Although Decendants of the Sun is only 16 episodes long you’ll notice it actually has 19. The last three aren’t the least bit important to the drama so you can skip them, if you want to, and not miss anything that has to do with the show. Episodes 17 and 18 are just highlights of the drama and 19 is a behind the scenes “making of”, which was quite interesting. I wish every Kdrama came with its own “making of” episode. I find them very entertaining and informative.
Decendants of the Sun is quite an impressive drama. Here’s a little information you might find interesting…
1. Its ratings reached 38.8% nationwide, 41.6% in the nation’s capital area (Seoul).
2. It won the Grand Prize at the 52nd Baeksang Arts Awards along with two others won by Song Joong-Ki and two more going to Song Hye-Kyo.
3. It has been exported by 32 different countries.
4. Companies featured in the show (product placement) have had sales skyrocket since its airing.
5. It was the first Kdrama series on KBS where filming was completed before the show was aired, a total of 258 days of production.
6. Its budget was a whopping 13 billion won/11 million dollars.
Seven songs on Descendants of the Sun‘s soundtrack ranked either first or second on the record charts. Singer Yoon Mi-Rae’s Always is my favorite song with You Are My Everything (performed by Gummy) coming in second place and Everytime (by Chen and Punch) in third. The soundtrack is really, really good. I recommend you take time to listen to a few songs, at least the three I mentioned. You can find them on YouTube.
This drama’s scenery is absolutely stunning and very diverse! It was filmed in both South Korea and Greece, although filming in Greece only took a month. We get to see the beautiful blue ocean, and a dusty dessert-type area, along with busy cities. I was really surprised when I found out the fictional country of Uruk was actually just a set built in South Korea. Amazing! It looks so real.
People were expecting this show to be a blockbuster hit. There was tons of hype surrounding it with thousands upon thousands of Kdrama fans anxiously awaiting its airing. Even though predictions about Kdramas don’t always turn out to be correct, these were right on! I am happy to announce Decendants of the Sun far exceeds whatever positive expectations you may have for it.
Well flowing storyline
Amazing special effects
Fantastic action scenes
Top notch acting
I come up empty in the “bad” category