I’ve recently started watching the legendary “Running Man” from the beginning. Needless to say this reawakened my absolute love and adoration of our beloved “Mong Ji.”: Song Ji-hyo. Intellectuals, of course, call her by her true name: Ace.
My first encounter with Queen Ji-hyo was obviously through “Running Man.” She walked on to the screen in what seemed like a Gaussian filter. The canned responses to her entrance were true to my initial reaction to her presence. Everything about this woman just screams for your attention and demands respect.
Ji-hyo has an energy about her. She brings to the game show a tempered sort of intelligence. There are moments when her comrades believe her to be completely out of it. Then she turns around and shows herself for the cunning strategist that she is. Her continued push-and-pull with Kang Gary, while entertaining, is more than just silly flirtations. In the context of the show, she uses her wit and charm to constantly outsmart Gary. Whenever the two run into each other in a hide-and-seek segment, Ji-hyo easily persuades Gary to simply let her go.
The men of the show try to downplay her femininity (by playing up her ferocious personality). But as hard as they try to demystify the woman, she holds each one of them under her spell.
However, Ji-hyo isn’t just the cunning femme fatale she portrays on “Running Man.” I’ve seen her in only a couple films and one show. When she joined then fledgling agency C-Jes (the same label pretty much created to house the former members of DBSK, JYJ), she’d already had quite a career behind her. One of her first projects with C-Jes was acting alongside the eternal vampyre himself, Kim Jaejoong. “Code Name: Jackal” wasn’t necessarily a great film. But it was certainly fun and full of eye candy. What’s more … We got to see Queen Ji-hyo in all her crazy. And it. Was. Glorious!
While some of her shows have not appealed to me (as most of the pseudo-romance that comes out of South Korea), Ji-hyo’s performances are always convincing. She has the bravado of a warrior princess. Even taking on roles that are still considered taboo for women in South Korea. Namely characters who are comfortable in their own skin. Women who embrace their sexuality without shame. Who own their shrewd nature and don’t demure to the whims of their male leads.
Her most recent film, “Intruder,” sees her going back to her roots. The character of Yoo-jin is complex, a distorted image of familial innocence. Ji-hyo pushes away the sweet “tomboyish” antics of her “Running Man” persona to reveal a complicated, mercurial actress.
Song Ji-hyo has more depth within her than people realize. It’s that breadth of talent, that fearlessness to tackle anything that made me fall in love with her. I don’t foresee that ever changing!