Period and Zombie: Kingdom Korean Drama Review

Kingdom Korean Drama Review

 

And it’s finally here! Kingdom Korean Drama, a Netflix Original, is a drama that was anticipated for so long. Starring Bae Doo Na, Joo Ji Hoon – it’s got a a string of veteran and wildly talented actors in its lineup.

 

 

Kingdom Korean Drama is about a Crown Prince in Joseon who is stuck in a power struggle between him and the opposing Haewon Cho Clan. His father, the King, is struck up with a mysterious illness. Without any means to find out what truly is happening to the King, he set out to uncover what the young Queen and her clan is trying to hide. Upon his journey he discovered a brutal disease, turning people into zombies. 

 

Branded a traitor and without knowledge of the things happening inside the palace, the Crown Prince raises against the clock to try and save the rest of the Kingdom. What is behind this disease and just who was the root of all of these?

 

 

Did it live up to the hype?

 

YES and NO.

 

No – because the plot was intensely straightforward and there was nothing really fantastical about it. I can see why other viewers might be left unsatisfied because of this especially for those with high expectations for this drama. We’ve seen fantasy/historicals quite a lot of times in a Korean Drama. But this straightforward take on the storytelling might just be its winning charm for me.

 

YES it did live to up to the hype because for the six hours it aired – it didn’t fail to grab my attention and it really had me rooting for its characters, with intense near misses leaving me on the edge of my sit too many times. The plot was really well written – it covered up every problem in the end, no glossing over subjects they created that was too big to resolve.

 

EVERYTHING was great. It completely had me in its world for the duration of its airing. Kingdom Korean Drama was great from the beginning, the pacing, the movie quality cinematography which was truly a visual feast for the eyes (apart from the gorey stuff…) and the adrenaline inducing scenes. I just flew through all the six episodes. It felt so short I enjoyed it so much.

CInematography in Kingdom Korean Drama is outstanding

 

I was ready to mark this down with that ending until I found out this is set for a second season. I will definitely be watching that!!

 

 

It felt like a normal 16 hour episode drama with what they’ve managed to pack in each. I was completely satisfied with the storyline. Nothing felt rushed or skimmed over. The character development were amazing and believable. It was packed full of roller-coaster feelings.

 

It pulls you in right away and really gets you jumping from time to time. It will have you guessing who could really be trusted in the end. A special mention also to the antagonists in this drama. I loved how regal they were portrayed and really quite an impressive performance by the Queen, Kim Hye Jun. They truly kept the pace going.

Kim Hye Jun as the young Queen in Kingdom Korean Drama

 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed KINGDOM Korean Drama. Nothing too groundbreaking of a role for the leads but as they say, it’s not about each individual standing out but about everybody making the film memorable for its viewers. This reminded me of this quote. “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”  I’m most certain this quote was about a sports team but it really applies to this drama. This quote couldn’t ring any more true for Kingdom.

 

A lot may say that Bae Doo Na was underutilised but the promise of the 2nd sequel will most definitely appease fans.

 

Everything was balanced well enough that I wasn’t left with unresolved questions but actually left wondering what would happen next. For me, that is such a big thumbs up to the director/writer. Everyone was interesting and actually had depth.

 

As you can see, I was well impressed by Kingdom. It’s not very easy creating anything with a zombie/vampire plot in it that would be well received by the viewers without any sort of complaint. It gave me a similar vibe to The Flua Korean movie that deals with the spread of a deadly virus. Kingdom was believable and the logic acceptable. I loved it!

 

Probably needs mentioning as well (cause you know, it’s a drama about zombies), was it really gore-y and violent? Yes, a lot more than you’d expect in a normal Korean drama! Most definitely. I wasn’t expecting that. They were pretty graphic and took me by surprise. I didn’t even see that it had that over18 rating. However, if like me, you can’t watch something overly graphic and gets really squirmish, this was certainly tolerable enough that I was able to watch it alone! There may have been one scene where I had to go and watch it beside someone else 👀, but thankfully it was balanced off with the rest of the drama.

 

Kingdom Korean Drama certainly delivered the thrill and excitement it’s so easy to get yourself lost into it. And with only six few episodes, there’s really no reason to give it a try.

 


KINGDOM Korean Drama – spoilers review

 

THINGS THAT MADE ME GO WHAT??…

 

From the cast down to it being a Netflix Original (meaning it is only available in Netflix) people were tuned in to see if it lives up to the hype. Certainly terrifying and surprisingly gore-y, these were some of the moments that made me scratch my head and really question why they decided to even think about including these:

 

  • THE Stupidity Of the Magistrates

When I saw this coming I though, they’re not really doing that right? I felt like it’s an old age plot device to make things go worse. And its annoying how its always the higher ups that are quite incompetent. Ofcourse they won’t believe that the corpses are actually zombies but to still blame others after they’ve experienced it, that’s stretching the plot a bit too thin.

  • THE IRRATIONAL PARENT

Ofcourse, we get characters who are in-denial of what’s happening. But an overly protective parent who will risk others’ lives, It’s so stupid and illogical. I mean, haven’t you seen your son turn into a zombie?????? And how she even managed to store him in a case and carry that into the boat? I guess one of the lapse in writing that could’ve been dealt with differently.

 

  • THE NEWLY APPOINTED Magistrate

(I don’t know whether to hate or just laugh about the selfishness and naivety of this man but who else didn’t get annoyed when he miraculously survived that boat scenario? Though he’s proving to be quite invaluable later on providing information that otherwise they wouldn’t have known. e.g. the frozen valley, soldiers coming to get the crown prince – I doubt though that he’s the one who told on the Crown Prince but you never know.

 

LIKED

 

  • The leads.

I think Joo Ji Hoon was perfect for this role. I found out that Song Joong Ki was meant to be the on eplaying this but if Im not wrong, he had to decline because of his then upcoming marriage to Song Hye Kyo. Joo Ji Hoon provided a strong image as Crown Prince Lee Chang who was on the verge of dethronement as Crown Prince because of the birth of the Queen’s heir.

 

 

Bae Doo Na was subtle on this role – I was waiting for her to just pick up a gun or a sword and start fighting off the zombies. But she was just a normal physician without a surprising ability to combat. Which I actually liked. A nice break from those innocent looking lead with a secret skill to show. We didn’t get a lot of scenes but when she’s on the screen you really remember her presence. How the writer manage to achieve a certain interest to someone who doesn’t seem out of the ordinary once again shows her writing prowess and the directing skills behind it.

 

I’m looking forward to seeing her character develop in the next one.

 

 

  • Kim Sang Ho

Kim Sang Ho

 

The moment he appeared on screen I knew we’d be getting a dose of warm and lighthearted scenes. It was much needed. I loved him in Let’s Fight Ghost. He exudes that fatherly charm you can’t help but warm to him. With that kind of trait and his skills as the Crown Prince’s bodyguard – it makes you feel safe that there is at least one person close to the prince like him.

 

  • Kim Sung Kyu

 

A person you’d either love or hate. He was such a complex character and you might hate him for bringing about the spread of disease in the first place. His actions were gruesome and stomach turning. However it did raise a very important question of just what desperate really means in the times of despair. It was disturbing to say the least but I’m happy they didn’t focus on that too much. He’s a mystery at the moment but if that flashback was anything to go by, he’s a better man who did what, I guess, he felt he had to do.

 

  • Culture and Detailed

It’s a big advantage that this could easily  be watched by almost anyone in the world. I think they were more than aware of that and took advantage of it, nothing wrong with that by any means. This drama featured sprawling mountains – frozen valley, and the shaman and talismans – all of which would seem alien and truly fascinating by someone watching this for the first time.

The Frozen Valley
Frozen Valley featured in Kingdom Korean Drama
The Frozen Valley

This was what drew me to historicals before because it was nothing like I’ve ever seen or known about ‘royalty’ and culture. For sure it got people searching about that frozen valley! I did too. (P.S. I wonder if it was the same location they used in Mirror Of The Witch? Which, funnily enough is also a fantasy historical – I recommend! I enjoyed watching that soooo much.)

 

  • Haewon Cho Clan

they were truly vile and the greed they have for power shows in the extent they do things. I guess we could see it coming without a surprise that the Queen was faking her pregnancy. And from Lee Chang’s comment, she’s ‘barely of age’ but was more than capable of doing horrible things just to be in power. They were capable of doing abominable actions all for the name of power and as much as their actions are repulsive – they were just a very effective piece in this drama. And with a vengeful father – they are unstoppable.


KINGDOM Korean Drama – Theories

 

I just found out that this is set up to film for the 2nd season this February. I’m one of the people that think six episodes for this 1st season is  long enough. I definitely feel it right to proceed with the second season as it deals more with the second wave of the plague.

So as we wait for the second season, what do you think will happen next?

  1. Lord Ahn Hyeon’s secret – We get the Hoseok Cho Clan leader, Jo Hak Joo, father of the Queen confidently saying that Lord Ahn Hyun can “never oppose him no matter what.” And then Young Shin who set out in the morning, having spent the night in Lord Ahn Heyon’s town, was seen spitting onto the Monument of the Battle of Unpo Wetland – where it is said that Lord Ahn Hyeon defeated 30000 Japanese soldiers with 500 soldiers.
  2. With these put together, it most certainly suggests that this wasn’t the first time the Resurrection Plant was used.
  3. Fingerscrossed that the Crown Prince’s bodyguard, Moo Young’s wife, delivers their baby safely. But I’ve got a feeling that baby will be a boy and will be the one the Queen keeps as her son.

Lord Ahn Yeon


Overall, I really enjoyed watching Kingdom Korean Drama, the length, pacing, character development and the intrigue were spot on. I loved what they were able to do in those six episodes and I loved how the story was kept classy and didn’t come off at all as tacky despite the fragility of the story dealing with zombies in it.

Thumbs up!!!