Home > TV and anime > The Fugitive: Plan B or Domangja Plan B — early thoughts

The Fugitive: Plan B or Domangja Plan B — early thoughts

Let’s say a television company recruits you to a team. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to put together a vehicle in which established stars can be shown off to their best advantage. You immediately understand the amazing responsibility handed to you. If the team succeeds, the television company will have a major commercial blockbuster on its hands. This program will generate fabulous audience numbers which, in turn, will drive advertising rates sky high, lead to spin off sales of the official sound track and possibly, even, sell a fashion line based on the clothes worn on screen. So you look at the names of the stars contracted to appear. The first challenge is therefore clear. How do you balance out each star’s virtues, give each a fair amount of screen time, and avoid having them do anything that would be bad for their image? Ah, yes, that intangible problem of image. Can one of your major stars be given the role of the “villain” (using the term to include both male and female villains)? This can be very problematic.

Rain in The Fugitive Plan B looking thoughtful

Suppose one of your stars has a squeaky-clean image with millions of doting fans praying for the improbable consummation of their heart’s desires. This star may project the idea he or she is “innocent” but available to the “right” partner. It would therefore be difficult for this star to play the role of an assassin who lures targets to bed and makes each kill by strangling the semi-naked victims with a silken garrote. Appearing even vaguely promiscuous or unfaithful or deceitful or. . . Well, you see the problem. If all your stars are expected to conform to their images, what kind of plot can you formulate that will allow them to interact with each other in a way their respective fan groups will accept? Remember, just having your stars stand or sit gets boring after a while. They must actually do things of interest and go places that are more than just a pretty view.

Daniel Henney as Kai, the sexy one in The Fugitive Plan B

Welcome to The Fugitive: Plan B or Domangja Plan B, written by Cheon Sung-il and directed by Kwak Jung-hwan. This twenty episode serial moves between Korea, China, Japan and the Philippines, and features a multinational cast of actors. From Korea, we have Rain (Ji Woo), Jeong-jin Lee (Do Soo), Na-yeong Lee (Jin Yi), Yun Jin-seo (Detective Yoon So-ran), and Yoon Son-ha (Hwang Mi-jin). Daniel Henney (Kai) is a kind of international nomad, adding Hong Kong’s Ti Lung (General Wei — old-school bad guy), China’s Josie Ho (Hwa-i), and Japanese actors Naoto Takenaka (Hiroki) and Uehara Takako (Keiko) the Japanese pop-star love interest for Rain to dally with. So Rain and Daniel Henney would be considered heart throbs. Rain seems mildly famous because he sings, dances about a bit and appears in dead-in-the-water Hollywood blockbusters like Speed Racer. After completing The Fugitive: Plan B and working on a film, Flight: Close to the Sun, he’s disappeared into the Korean army to do his national service. This is not before he and Lee Na-young sued the production company. Mysteriously, it seems this company neglected to pay its stars as it shot the series.

Na-yeong Lee as Jin Yi can defend herself in The Fugitive Plan B

Daniel Henney is there because of his good looks with and without his shirt on, and his ability to appear in foreign language films speaking English without looking a complete idiot. Giving more depth to the cast are Na-yeong Lee who’s more talented as an actress, having appeared in a variety of roles from gooey romantic to a deadly warrior, and Jeong-jin Lee who has also contrived to play most types. Completing the line-up is Yun Jin-seo (Detective Yoon So-ran), albeit she’s somewhat underused. In her life outside this series, she acts, writes and sings.

OK, so here goes on the plot so far. Jin Yi kind of hires Ji Woo to find someone called Melchidec. I say “kind of” because she doesn’t pay him and money only passes to Ji Woo courtesy of Kai in episode 4. That means Ji Woo is running around out of the kindness of his heart, trusting Jin Yi to pay at some point. I say running around because starting in Korea, we’re quickly whisked off to Japan where we meet Seong Dong-il 
(Nakamura Hwang) as a lightweight private detective who will always follow the money, and the delightfully villainous Naoto Takenaka as Hiroki, Keiko’s father.

Lee Jung Jin as Do Soo, the obsessed Chief Detective

There are numerous sequences where people fight, run after each other, and drive/ride a variety of vehicles and bicycles dangerously. It’s all done in a highly stylised homage to spy dramas or generic thrillers. With all the most overused camera angles and cutting tricks employed, everything possible is done to draw out these sequences. They pad out the extraordinarily thin plot (so far). In fact, I would be lying if I said I had a clear idea of what’s actually happening and who’s allied with whom. All I can say with any degree of certainty is that whoever the bad guys are, they are trying to kill Jin Yi. Rain’s performance is immensely annoying as he pouts and postures his way through the series but, so far, he seems to be one of the good guys — even though he’s not averse to cheating supposed colleagues and stealing stuff when it suits him. Then we have the clichéd team of cops led by Do Soo, the one obsessed with idea Rain is a dangerous criminal, who doesn’t notice the love in the eyes of his subordinate, Yoon So-ran, and Daniel Henney who stands and sits beautifully, looking darkly handsome and apparently helping Jin Yi while failing to get her into bed.

Remarkably, for all this is a complete farrago of rubbish, the first four episodes took off in Korea with unusually high scores for viewership turned in by Nielsen. Obviously, my inability to turn off my brain when seeing star power on screen is preventing me from seeing anything good. Although, cheating to look what happened to the numbers later on in the run, it seems the viewers also lost a little patience.

For all the reviews see:

The Fugitive: Plan B or Domangja Plan B — early thoughts

The Fugitive: Plan B or Domangja Plan B — second thoughts

The Fugitive: Plan B or Domangja Plan B — the third act

The Fugitive: Plan B or Domangja Plan B — the last act.

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