Original article posted June 5, 2016 on Asian Movie Pulse
When it comes to Korean actors, like most fans, I have my favorites. As I dive deeper into the Korean film industry and Korean dramas find a place in my heart, I have realized that my favorites are definitely the ones that can light up the big screen as well as the small screen. Arguably, there is no one more adept at this than the brilliant Yoo Ah In. The 29 year old actor is nothing short of electrifying. While Yoo Ah In masters every character of any role he tackles, there are three projects in which his adaptation was so convincing that it was hard to separate real from fiction.
This 2015 action crime drama directed by Ryoo Seungwan was not all bullets and law-breaking. The added touch of comedy supplied by the co-lead actor, Hwang Jung Min, and the rest of the cast was the perfect way to brighten up what could’ve easily been a heavy movie. Though veteran actor Hwang Jung Min is a force in his own right, Yoo Ah In completely stole the show from the moment he appeared on screen. Hwang plays opposite of Yoo as a good hearted, rough-around-the-edges cop that’s hot of the trail of Yoo’s character. Yoo melts into the role of Jo Tae Oh, an over-privileged bad boy with too much money and way too much anger. This one will definitely get your blood boiling, but be careful. You might find yourself rooting for the wrong team.
Two words: heart breaking. Ok, that’s really one word, but Yoo’s performance was so touching that it had to be separated for one to truly understand how deep this man is. The Throne was also released in 2015, which was obviously an excellent year for Yoo Ah In to channel his inner chameleon. That’s exactly what he did in this historical film about a king who was forced to commit the ultimate sin against his own son. It’s like when Yoo dons that traditional royal costume, he pulls the soul of Crown Prince Sa Do straight into his own body and tells his story with the very passion and emotion that the Crown Prince must have lived with. The movie is tragically moving, yet so beautifully told. Big kudos to Director Lee Joon Ik, as well as to Song Kang Ho (King Yeongjo) and the lovely Moon Geun Young (Lady Hyegyeong) who were also fantastic.
Six Flying Dragons
I could not end without mentioning his 2015 drama. This one takes some commitment rounding off at 50 episodes, but it is positively worth the time. If his performance as Crown Prince Sa Do was touching, his conversion into Lee Bang Won was pure exhilaration. History writes Lee Bang Won as the prince that killed his brothers to be king. Don’t worry…this isn’t much of a spoiler. It’s the road to this path that Six Flying Dragons explorers, and a bumpy road it is. Yoo plays the highly intelligent fifth son of King Tae Jo. His depiction of Lee sheds him of the ruthlessness history books shroud him in and instead opens him up as a man that loved deeply and was inherently righteous. One could even say he was justified in the actions that led him to the throne. Or at least that’s how I felt by the end of the drama. Simply put, Yoo Ah In dominated.
This is what makes Yoo the absolute best in my book. He will be enlisting for South Korea’s mandatory military training soon and I, for one, am going to miss him. Thankfully, I can catch these three masterpieces on DramaFever any time I am in withdrawal.