First Impressions: “Blood”
“Blood,” our first, but probably not our last, vampire drama of the year, starts off with quite a few bumps on the road. Rookie actor Ahn Jae Hyun takes the lead role of Park Ji Sang, a pure blood vampire with a long list of medical achievements. He goes from volunteer work at Kochenia to becoming a team manager at Taemin Cancer Hospital, where he meets Yoo Ri Ta (Goo Hye Sun), an arrogant surgeon and niece of the hospital chairman.
In the first two episodes, there is tension between the surgeons, family secrets, a few vampire fights, and plenty of CGI effects, but did “Blood” manage to hook me into tuning in next week? Let’s find out by looking at the grading system.
Ahn Jae Hyun is, surprisingly, one of the few highlights of “Blood.” Although his inexperience is evident in his portrayal of such an important character, I can also tell that he’s working tremendously hard to bring Park Ji Sang to life. His dedication and efforts pay off so far in making Park Ji Sang likeable. In fact, it’s probably the sole reason why I will continue to watch the next few episodes to see if I can really settle in and enjoy the show.
Of course, he can’t take all the credit, since Baek Seung Hwan, who portrays the younger version of Park Ji Sang, did a nice job of expressing the pain of his mother’s death, the uncertainty and horror of what he did to that poor fawn, and his general dislike of his sheltered life.
Park Ji Sang is intense, although that could be kicked up a notch, yet mildly humorous in his own unique way, but of all the supposed comedic moments sprinkled throughout the show, none made me crack a smile more than LUUVY, his new robot.
Still, his expertise in the medical field is no joke and the part of me that loves a good medical drama is absolutely thrilled by that. He’s a no nonsense kind of vampire, so it’ll be interesting to see how he deals with his nightmare of a co-worker. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Yoo Ri Ta!)
I walked into this drama only knowing the main cast, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice supporting cast. The Chairman of Taemin Hospital, Yoo Suk Joo, is played by Kim Gap Soo and former Team 1 Manager, Woo Il Nam, is portrayed by Jo Jae Yoon. Park Ji Sang’s father was briefly, yet warmly, portrayed by Ryu Soo Young until his unfortunate death.
And although Lee Ji Hoon‘s role is pretty minor, it’s nice seeing him take on a darker, villainous role compared to the only other project I’ve seen him in, which was the funnily awkward secretary Jo In Sung in “You’re the Best, Lee Soon Shin!”
I always love seeing familiar faces!
Lee Jae Wook (Ji Jin Hee) is our handsome villain armed with plenty of secrets and an aura of mystery. He can order his lackeys to kill vampires in the blink of an eye without remorse, yet work as a Director for Taemin Cancer Hospital by putting his all into saving patients. From his brief appearances so far, I’m not quite sure what to make of him just yet, but he’s piqued my curiosity.
His mission has been pretty cutthroat from the beginning and he’s spent countless years and efforts in destroying Park Ji Sang’s parents. The question is why? I doubt it was something as simple as a disagreement as Ji Sang was told. And why does Lee Jae Wook intentionally lure Ji Sang to the hospital? He knows who he is and he doesn’t try to kill off an unsuspecting Ji Sang the moment they meet. Well, of course not, I suppose. I mean, where would the fun be in just killing Ji Sang when Lee Jae Wook can send a mystery person to replace Ji Sang’s special pills with fakes and then watch him struggle with his bloodlust in the surgical room surrounded by surgeons?
More importantly, what is he experimenting? Is he the one behind the vampire virus? If that’s what the clear liquid is, then why does he drink it himself? Is he actually a pure blood vampire as well… or is he forcibly becoming one by taking his own vampire concoction? There are plenty of questions and no answers so far, which definitely makes me curious.
I avoided reading the recent articles criticizing Goo Hye Sun’s portrayal of Yoo Ri Ta because I wanted to make my own judgment without outside influences. While her acting wasn’t necessarily bad, it was definitely a little… odd.
Her dialogue was slow and overly punctuated due to exaggerated enunciation and her movements, like her frequent head tilts, were stiff. Almost robotic. The way she walked, especially in the scene where she storms out of Park Ji Sang’s office, made me wince – I almost expected her to trip over her own two feet.
During the press conference, Goo Hye Sun stated that she had switched her acting method for “Blood,” so I know this is not an accurate portrayal of her abilities and most certainly not her best work. She was excellent in “Angel Eyes” and that’s the kind of acting I want to continue seeing from her.
As far as Yoo Ri Ta goes though, I’m not a fan. Putting her patient’s life in danger for the sake of pride is always a big no-no. During a moment of medical crisis, rather than passing the wheel to Park Ji Sang, she wasted precious minutes being adamant about continuing the surgery even though she was clearly at a loss about what to do. And panicking about it as well.
She has a really hot temper paired with an inflated ego that just makes me shake my head. I enjoyed watching Park Ji Sang knocking her down a peg or two and if there’s one thing I’m curious about when it comes to Yoo Ri Ta, it’s wondering how the relationship between these two surgeons, who butt heads so much, changes over time.
O is for “Oh my goodness, what were they thinking?!” There were certainly moments like that, such as the choppy editing. Most of the action scenes made my eyes blur and were done so poorly, I didn’t even know what was what until it was all over. Exaggerations were aplenty, but I suppose that’s normal for vampire themes due to their super abilities.
I also felt it was a waste that the entire first episode was an information dump – revealing everything there is to know about Park Ji Sang and his history, from infancy until adulthood. Flashbacks are popular for a reason, because it keeps the viewers interested in present events while revealing crucial information at appropriate moments. I wish it was something they had decided to utilize as well.
The CGI effects are decent for the most part and absolutely necessary to pull off a vampire drama, so there’s not much of a complaint there… except for the wolves. Werewolves? That was pretty bad.
There were a few things that made me roll my eyes and think to myself, “Oh no. They did not just go there.” They did.
Such as a doctor hopelessly crushing on Yoo Ri Ta and her foul attitude. She steps on him like a bug, but I can already see that’s not going to deter him much. Why? Why?! And how about Yoo Ri Ta giving her friend flack for admiring Park Ji Sang’s appearance and for her refusal to take her side during the conference? The cliche way in which all the females immediately fawns over our leading male? Well, maybe I’m being nitpicky since these are usual drama tropes, but eyes definitely rolled during these occurrences.
Lastly, I’m straddling the line of abhorring and approving of their decision to use an infection that causes vampirism. It reminds me of “Resident Evil” in that the virus was created by mankind and while there is a cure to undo the infection, it is currently unknown. On the other hand, I’m also noticing plenty of similarities to “Twilight” and I’m not sure how I feel about that. The run through the forest, the battle with the wolves, the feeding on animals, and more. But then, I suppose there is only so much creativity one can use for a vampire themed drama.
So what’s my final verdict about “Blood?” AB. About Blood. Get it? Haha.
It has potential and I’m going to watch next week’s episodes to determine if it’s one worth investing my time in. My only hopes for next week is that Goo Hye Sun can showcase her real abilities, the one that I loved in “Angel Eyes,” and for further intrigue towards the plot. I also hope Ahn Jae Hyun will continue to improve, use this opportunity to gain more experience under his belt, and bring us a Park Ji Sang that we’ll adore more and more with each new episode. It wouldn’t hurt for Yoo Ri Ta to become more likeable too!
What about you? Will you be tuning into “Blood” next week? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
For all “Blood” recaps, click here.