Super Rookie

I watched Super Rookie (2005) immediately after A Love to Kill and had to do a double take. Someone thinks life is not worth living and takes a leap off a bridge. A scruffy boxer gets pummeled in the ring.

Egads! Did I pop the wrong drama into the player? Thankfully it’s soon obvious that Super Rookie is very different. For one thing it is funny. It’s also forgettable (which A Love to Kill is not, alas).

First, the hilarity. At one point Kang-ho (Moon Jung Hyuk a.k.a. Eric) dons green eyeshadow and I nearly crack a rib as a result. It’s a wonder he could act that scene with a straight face. But that warpaint is just another sacrifice he must make in the name of company “research”; after all, our lead character is one dedicated (and reformed) employee.

Most of the laughs, however, do not come from Eric Moon. In fact the drama is held together by the veteran supporting cast. Without them Super Rookie would be anything but super, but with them in the mix the drama is loads of fun and very entertaining, albeit for a short spell.

The male foursome of Kim Se-joon, Lee Ki-young, Kim Il-woo and Lee Ki-yeol (who play Chief Moon, Chief Goo, Director Song and Director Kim respectively) are a riot and the main reason I enjoyed the drama.

Uber-talented Kwon Hae-hyo (he’s the best thing in Winter Sonata and you can quote me on that) also has a very funny cameo in the opening episode. Alas, that scene is just one of Kang-ho’s dreams, and like a dream Kwon Hae-hyo is gone when our loafer awakes. I wished he had stayed on; he would have been awesome as one of the chiefs!

Providing more laughs are Kang-min (Kang-ho’s brother played by Suh Dong-won) and the two eccentric ladies who own the Secretary Bar that no one frequents, and who go by their real last names (love that quirky touch!): Madam Yang (Yang Hee-kyung) and Madam Kwon (Kwon Ki-sun). Watch Madam Yang flare up when someone calls her Fatso!

The four leads are something else. Eric Moon is endearing enough and I liked his Kang-ho, but he can’t pull off unkempt (he tried that unwashed hairdo again in Strongest Chil-woo; nah, fail). Other than the green eyeshadow, I can’t recall other standout scenes. Worse, I can’t tell you anything about his relationship with Han Ga-in‘s character, Lee Mi-ok. Was the path of true love smooth for them? What obstacles did they encounter, did anyone evil or former try to separate them, did they have to part and then reunite, was there a requisite missing-each-other-at-the-airport scene? Brain, think and remember!

I suppose you can say Han Ga-in is okay (if you use looks and not acting chops as yardstick); I vaguely remember her being spunky, sort of. (Did she triumph in some catfight in a certain hotel room?) The second female lead is not even a faint memory, though. I normally remember faces even if I don’t remember names (it bugs me like hell if I’m watching something and can’t place where I last saw a familiar face), but hers drew a blank.

Then there’s resident hunk Oh Ji-ho. His Lee Bong-sam has brains but no scruples, and is a pathetic and underhanded slimeball. Don’t hate me, Oh Ji-ho fans, but he looks so zombie-like in the early episodes with his glazed eyes. And what’s with the protracted melodrama at the beginning? His break up with Mi-ok is so draggy even lizards fall off the ceilings in a stupor. Thank goodness for hero Kang-ho who pops up and promptly saves the scene and the girl.

But the supporting cast is a hoot to watch, the lines are sharp and witty (which always scores extra points), and the pace moves at a trot (most of the time). I enjoyed the humor and all the verbal and physical sparring. I also liked the themes that the drama tossed up: unemployment, class divide, office politics, the underdog triumphing against the odds…

I wouldn’t call this my favorite comedy (Bad Family owns that spot), but it’s extremely funny in places. You’ll forget it pretty quickly, but as escapist entertainment it’s good stuff.

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Categorised in: K-dramas, Reviews

22 Responses »

  1. Ah! I love love love the new look of your blog, Thundie!

    I just watched The Host for the first time yesterday, and it left a really deep positive impression. So it made me smile when I saw your header this morning. What a wonderful cast. After watching this movie, I intend to watch all of Park Hae Il’s movies, haha. 😀

    Also, another coincidence! I had been wondering if I should check out Super Rookie. Reading over your comments, I’m a bit disappointed it doesn’t seem to be as “deep” or “meaningful” as I had thought it might be (you know, maybe some inspirational life lessons or something), but at least it’s still light-hearted and entertaining, albeit forgettable.

  2. Oh no, I just read your twitter post. I am so sorry about your dog. That’s terrible. I hope you and your dog feel better soon.

  3. Mindless fun… I loved Super Rookie. I remember that the brother was hilarious! One of my favorite scene was the dream scene where Eric is fluent in English. Very funny. Also liked all the “gangsters” drinking their yogurt drinks. I think there was ramen in every episode. That show made me crave it. Thanks for the review thundie. Hang in there dear.

  4. Aww… sorry to hear about your dog. Hope it doesn’t deter you from posting more… I love reading your reviews, albeit most of them are a lil shorter than the norm..

    I remember my sister fell in love with Eric after she watched Super Rookie! I mean, he’s hot, but what has he got in Super Rookie? The ruffled unkempt hairstyle? Acting? Or just the cool and sexy eyes? I don’t know..

    Don’t remember much of the drama.. I just remember one scene where Kang Ho was imagining himself speaking English and seducing HGI’s character or something. That was funny alright.. other than that, the rest was forgettable..

  5. Hi Denise

    The Host is awesome! And so is the cast… especially my Park Hae-il. (Ok, we’ll share. ^^) I plan to blog about the movie soon.

    And about my dog… thanks for the kind thoughts. *muah*

  6. Hi julier

    “Mindless fun” is an apt description! In fact today I was just thinking I really need to watch something mindless (where I can give my brain a break) for a change. Something really light and yet engaging, nothing that will make me want to scream or pull my hair out in exasperation.

    For everything… THANK YOU. *hugs*

  7. Hi ripgal

    Thank you. *hugs*

    About my posts being short, it’s mostly because they’re just little notes, just prattles. I wouldn’t call them reviews! *crawls under table* Lazy me thinks reviews are a lot of work and I really admire people who write them. Also, it’s just a personal conviction that I don’t want to reveal too much about a drama or movie in my writing. I hope that my little appetizers will entice (or dissuade!) people to watch something for themselves.

    And yes, Super Rookie is fun but forgettable.

  8. I have to echo the others and say I’m sorry about your dog. 😦 That’s awful.

    Ahh, Super Rookie. One quasi-crappy drama that I really enjoyed, lol. I’m not super-fond of a lot of the LK writing duo’s dramas, but this one I found to be vastly entertaining and hilarious. And Oh Ji Ho’s character was the most complex and interesting one!…Too bad his acting couldn’t flesh him out properly. As for Eric…Meh. I will probably never understand what’s so appealing about this guy.

  9. Hoho, Dahee, you know we both disagree about Oh Ji-ho. ^^ A permanently pained expression, that’s what I remember. Thankfully he became a changed man by the end of the drama. (Psst… did you ever finish Fantasy Couple, by the way?)

  10. Oh! Ilove super rookie! I just don’t know how to react but I laugh & cry for Eric’s character!it’s a nice “you jump, i jump scene for me(on the bridge)

  11. Nope, never finished Fantasy Couple. I think I just kinda lost interest, even though I enjoyed what I saw.

  12. I’m just holding a copy of “super rookie dvd features..incl.NG’s. one more thing that just makes me laugh was the employees competing on how to promote their products and Eric effortlessly(no sweat!) sold it without problems! Thunder you really made me smile on thiss. I just like it! thanks!

  13. Hi rowjin!

    What a nice surprise to see you here.

    Super Rookie was lots of fun. I really must try harder to remember the plot, though. Watched this so long ago.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  14. hi…do u have any copies of super rookie of mis han ga in…im her #1 fans here in philippine…i want to see all her movie…can u send it to my e-mail…

  15. Hi glen

    I checked and it does not have Super Rookie. You could try the SR thread at Soompi and see if it has links to download the drama. Good luck!

  16. Lol. For some reason, I vaguely remember the drama being funny and liking Eric’s character and his brother’s…

    That’s about it.

    Han Ga In… I don’t remember much except that she had a “makeover” partly through. But when does she not look gorgeous, even with glasses? :O

    Fun that goes by quickly but like you said is totally forgettable.

    Btw, I also loved Bad Family, and in contrast to this drama, I can totally recall scenes from it that I loved. (: But I think my favorite comedy is Kim Sam-Soon :O

    Thanks for a good post/review (: Fun to reminisce about dramas I saw in the past.

  17. Hi Gloria

    I love Bad Family! Like you I can recall many scenes from it, even for every member of our lovable fake family. Super Rookie I can’t even recall a single scene of Eric and Han Ga-in together.

    My fondest memory of My Name is Kim Samsoon is not of the drama itself (even though I really enjoyed it), but of a lunch at Burger King. A group of us were talking about the drama and we about rolled on the floor howling. We were so loud it was embarrassing, but we didn’t care. We laughed till our sides ached and our eyes were tearing, remembering all the funny scenes in the drama. Like a particular verbal exchange in the toilet? Hehe…

  18. Hope its not too late to comment on Super Rookie… 🙂

    I found it to be hilarious, mindless entertainment. I was really stressed out from work the week that I watched it… i was able to relax in an instant.

    On Eric, i found him to be cute on Super Rookie and Chilwoo but not a fine actor… until I watched Que Sera Sera, which I consider to be engaging and one of the best kdrama I have seen. Even just reading the recaps made me cry my heart out (thanks dramabeans!). You can imagine how much i bawled while watching the actual drama…

    More importantly, QSS is proof that Eric is now a fine actor. I never found him to be attractive until QSS. Now I think Eric is hot… hehehe

    • Hi tombrady

      It’s never too late to comment on any post. I treasure every comment, so do write! ^^

      I love Que Sera Sera and agree with you that Eric was very good in it. I watched it long after javabeans posted the recaps, so I have not read any of them. I’m a spoiler phobe and don’t even go to the Soompi threads until I have caught up with a drama.

      Super Rookie was a hoot when I was watching it. Now it’s just a blurry haze. I remember so little of it, alas.

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  21. Who is the cameo on the last scene of the last episode? (The guy who scores a perfect 100%?) I just watched this.

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