After QTV11 started re-airing the Korean Drama Money Wars a couple of days ago, I finally had the chance to watch it last Saturday and I have to say I was quite impressed. GMA7 originally aired this way back in December 8, 2008.
I normally find it hard to get hooked on a K-Drama unless I particularly like the lead actor or actress. In the case of Money Wars (which was adapted from a manhwa or Korean comics by the way), I definitely am not a fan of Park Shin-Yang or Seo Joo-Hee – so I had very low expectations about this drama. But surprise, surprise! The characters they play in Money Wars are actually very exciting. So even if I don’t particularly like the actors playing them, I empathized with what was happening in the drama of their fictional lives.
Park Shin-Yang plays Noah Geum, a guy who used to be rich but has now ended up as a notorious and ruthless moneylender. He is the type who will do everything to ensure that any debt becomes paid. This dog-like tenacity when it comes to collecting debts is what leads to him meeting Julie Suh played by Seo Joo-Hee. Julie is really a pure hearted soul. However, when her father becomes buried neck-deep in debts, she makes the drastic decision of marrying a well-off man to clear his father’s financial problems. Julie’s plans are destroyed when Noah crashes the wedding and announces to all the guests and the groom that Julie is only there to make her husband to be a cash cow. He then proceeds to take off with the attaché case filled with money as the whole wedding ends up in chaos.
At this point, I was already so in love with the main characters. They felt so real because of their flaws. I like how their motivations are always pure in spirit but always lead them to doing nasty stuff (like Julie marrying for money). And yet despite the grounded foundation of the story – it is still quite dramatic and entertaining.
It’s also very interesting how Noah and Julie have a tense relationship. It really seems as if Noah is more interested in Julie than Julie is interested in Noah early on. This is evident in the way Noah seems to always help Julie in the pretense of being just another cash-hungry moneylender. It has even reached the point wherein Noah has accepted Julie’s self (or body, for those with naughty minds) as collateral so I can’t wait to see where that will lead.
Of course, there are also the secondary leads who spice things up. In this case, it’s the beautiful Kim Jung-Hwa as Charmaine Lee who plays Noah’s former flame. I like the complexity of her relationship with Noah since she used to be with him before he lost all his riches. Now she is involved with Noah’s main rival, Wilson, who is played by Shin Dong-Wook. Wilson is also involved in the money-lending business but unlike Noah he doesn’t follow any rules. For instance, he is willing to lend money to Julie if she will steal important business information for him. But he isn’t entirely evil – he once protects Charmaine from getting beat up by some gangsters trashing a food stall. This is good so that the characters seem more real rather than just being caricatures or stereotypes.
No wonder this quickly became a high-rating drama in Korea – hitting an average of 31%. Park Shin-Yang even grabbed several awards for his performance here including the 44th Paeksang Best Actor Award, the 2007 SBS Drama Best Actor Award (DaeSang), the 2007 SBS Drama Netizen Award, and the 2007 SBS Drama Top 10 Stars Award. These only prove that you shouldn’t dismiss a show simply because you don’t like the leads. So catch the Money Wars re-run every Saturday at 11:30am.
Thanks to mayonaise17 for the video.