Runaway: Plan B


Bi / Rain as Ji Woo
Lee Na Young as Jin Yi / Jini K.
Lee Jung Jin as Chief Detective Do Soo
Yoon Jin Seo as Detective Yoon So Ran
Daniel Henney as Kai

I didn’t plan on watching Runaway at first, thinking it couldn’t possibly be that good if the ratings are going downhill every week, and the earlier hype put me off a little.  I’ve only ever seen one other Rain drama (Full House, in case you’re wondering which one) and despite its popularity and ability to keep me interested enough to carry on watching to the end it didn’t wow me away.

Then a lull came in my drama watching schedule and I thought to myself why not, it would make a change to watch an action drama.

There is a lot of action, a little romance, some comedy, a lot of country hopping across most of Asia, a multitude of languages (and weird conversations where one person speaks in one language and the other person answers in a different language, but then when I think about it, we have a lot of that going on in our household, so I don’t know why it’s weird seeing it on screen), and a heck of a lot of running which is Ji Woo’s (Rain’s character) Plan B if all else fails.  That’s why it’s called Runaway: Plan B, perhaps?!  By the end of the drama, everyone had a plan B, but they didn’t involve any more running, which also meant no more great views of Asian cities.

The plot didn’t take my breath away, neither did the romance, the action is very good I have to admit and it’s slick and well executed enough for a drama, and watching the endless running makes me feel old but what’s important is it didn’t make me feel like running away from the drama.

The story is ordinary drama fodder, with a powerful and rich bad guy who has a public image to maintain, but the whole world doesn’t know he’s a baddie, so he wants to make sure his secret is buried, and if it meant killing a few people so be it.

I guess most detective story writers think including a mysterious and beautiful woman in the story, who the detective/private investigator would fall madly in love with and almost gets himself killed for, is a must requirement in a detective fiction and the scriptwriter for Runaway seems to be no exception.  For me though, the female character that interested me in this story wasn’t the mysterious and beautiful Jini, but the female Detective Yoon So Ran who I thought was a much more interesting charcter than the female lead.

Jini is a woman determined to find out the truth behind the deaths of her whole family and embroils Ji Woo in her quest for truth.  The truth of Ji Woo’s partner’s death is hidden and intertwined with the truth of Jini’s family’s demise.  The second female lead, Yoon So Ran, is a woman trying to balance work and love together, she’s in love with her boss.  At one stage the viewers might get annoyed with her because she was blurring romantic emotions with her professionalism, but I can tell you now if a man threw me on the ground heavily knowing I was injured just because the person he’s obssessed with catching showed up I’d be more than upset.

The two female baddies didn’t do anything for me, I found their acting a little wooden and unconvincing.  Hwang Mi Jin is the baddie’s right-hand woman, she isn’t very good at her job, but if she had been then we wouldn’t have had anything to watch because all the goodies would be dead.  I think I just didn’t like her pouting lips.  Sophie, Kai’s secretary, is another woman stuck between work and love, but considering her main job is for the evil guy, it isn’t too bad to have her character choosing love over work.

I wasn’t enamoured with the second or third male leads.  Chief Detective Do Soo was OK, his character was consistent and his interactions with So Ran were funny.  He begins as a man concentrated with catching criminals, real or supposedly, as in the case of chasing Ji Woo across Asia.  Mind you, with Ji Woo, Do Soo might have been obssessed with catching him because of wounded pride.  Afterall, Ji Woo keeps slipping through his arrests, even when handcuffed.  Towards the end, Do Soo loosens up, but not before disillusionment, and realising not all policemen are like him and some are doing it for the money, any type of money.  I liked him more when he started to treat So Ran better and balanced life along with work.

Daniel Henney was the biggest disappointment for me, his acting hasn’t improved at all over the years and he wasn’t a fantastic actor in the first place.  Then turning his character Kai into an obssessive man who would destroy another person for love was the nail in the coffin.  I’m not used to seeing him as an antagonist.  He didn’t become an outright bad guy, he’s just a man so in love he can’t see the shore because of the mist.  I felt sorry for him in a way, I didn’t think Jini deserved his love because she was so unforgiving of his mistakes when her and her problems were the reason for his misguided actions.

I wouldn’t say this drama is a must watch, but if you can overlook the slow plot start and some of the minor imperfections of certain characters this drama isn’t bad and is worth watching.

What really surprised me was Rain’s acting and his Ji Woo.  Somehow he managed to pull off a cheeky man/boy charm that was quite funny and endearing, and it’s amazing how his smile can turn him into a boy.  We’re lead to believe his character is superficial at first, will do anything for money, including playing with the emotions of women, he’s a flirt, and possibly even a murderer, since he’s wanted for the death of his partner.  Then further into the story we get to see his character is actually more complex than this.

The other surprising thing about this drama is the OST.  The main theme song Running & running by MBLAQ is rather catchy.

I can’t end this without my ballad fix and Runaway has one that might not go in my top ballads list but it’s still very good – Although I don’t believe in love by Shin Seung Hun.