In the time of enlightenment of 19th-century Joseon. It stars a hero who is the son of Joseon’s greatest swordsman. He loses his father and his younger sister gets sold as a slave, after which he trades sword for gun as he embarks on his revenge mission, and in doing so the drama will “depict the pain and courage of the young people of the era.” Edit Translation
Cast & Credits
So, what's this drama basically about... Love, revenge, adventure, action, drama. Park Yoon Kang, son of the head of the palace guard becomes a criminal after his dead father was falsely accused of high treason. Common plot in sageuks. He swears to take revenge on everybody who was involved in those conspiratorial accusations. And how is he doing that? He's taking on the new identity of a Japanese merchant.
Although the main story is nothing new, the way it was developing was quite interesting and kept me glued to the screen. One misfortune chasing another, and every time something good happened, at the same time a subtle ominous feeling was coming along. I was never able to relax because it seemed like the bad guys were always one step ahead which drove me crazy to a point that I wasn't even able to concentrate at my work.
What I liked about this drama were those well-defined, multi-faceted characters. Watching their development - for better or worse - was really interesting and sometimes shocking at the same time. You grew to like someone, understood him or her... and suddenly everything changes and you just get disappointed in that person. Or you discover a new side of somebody you didn't like at the beginning but can now relate to him/her a little more. If I remember correctly, the only character that stayed true to himself till the end was the main lead. And as we have Lee Joon Ki here, he delivered his role perfectly and didn't disappoint one bit. He just got even better during the drama.
I also and especially liked a particular bond between one bad guy and his daughter. Although I don't pardon everything they did, I'm still able to acknowledge the suffering that drove them. The only thing I really missed was the daughter's inner conflict caused by her lost love and the decision she made afterwards. I would have liked it more if they had made her look more torn by her actions in the second half of the drama.
But the romance part was sometimes lacking anyway. I was not always convinced by it as there were just too few scenes that got me emotionally. Most times it was solid but it didn't get me completely.
What also bothered me were those obvious moments where you just think "Wtf?! Keep a straight face if you're going to spy!" or "Stay at your hideout if you're one against hundred!". Minor issues but they kept popping up towards the end. Maybe I'm too stubborn on this as it is a general issue in k-dramas. So, don't mind me ;)
Nevertheless, something I enjoyed wholeheartedly were those awesome fighting scenes. Seriously, just perfect. I wish they had added more of those because it was highly entertaining to see Park Yoon Kang (Lee Joon Ki) fight off the bad guys. That alone should be a reason to watch the drama.
So, despite my small criticism on some points, Joseon Gunman is still a highly recommended drama in my eyes. If you wanna watch an adventurous historical drama, this one will quite satisfy you.