HanCinema Review: Jackpot Episode 3


Jackpot is still on top of the Monday/Tuesday pack coming in at 11.6%. The appearance of the long awaited Jang Geun-seok can’t have hurt the rating, but it was Lee Moon-sik who really stole the show. After the hustle and bustle of the first few episodes, his character settles down and really allows the actor to shine.

Character actors like Lee Moon-sik are often relegated to a similar role from drama to drama and “Jackpot” is no different for Lee. However, there are moments where his character’s fatherly pride shines through, or his love for his former wife softens him. It is in those small moments that Lee proves his acting chops. He is more than goofy faces and trouble making. He’s an actor possessed of many onscreen skills. He even managed to redeem the rather repugnant Baek Man-geum who came around and learned to be a father no matter the circumstance. It wasn’t the writing, but the look of utter devotion on Lee’s face that convinced me.

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HanCinema Review: Jackpot Episode 2


Jackpot is once again the highest rated of the new shows at 12.2% for episode 2. From the outside, the drama is all glitz and glitter: beautiful choreography, stunning naturescapes, keen camera storytelling. But its insides are messier: jumpy character sketches, repetitive themes, and illogical schemes. These may work themselves out with time as many introductory episodes can lack clarity in the rush to introduce the drama.

This drama is going the way of most sageuk, or historical dramas, in that it is focusing on the backstory of the main characters before it delivers the handsome leads in their fullest glory##. We may not see Jang Geun-seok and Yeo Jin-goo for another episode or two yet. But we are getting a lot of Lee Moon-sik as the pathetic Baek Man-geum. Man-geum is not a likeable character in the least. He’s a grovelling, erratic, and disgusting human being. Played by any other actor, it would be impossible to empathize with him. Luckily, they casted Lee who brings out the best in this repulsive man and who managed to make me feel sorry for him at certain points. Gambling is indeed an illness, but it doesn’t make throwing one’s baby over a waterfall any less horrifying.

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HanCinema Review: Jackpot Episode 1


In the new slew of dramas Jackpot came in on top at 11.8% again Monster (7.3%) and Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho (10.1%). Director Nam Geon‘s directing style is grand and direct, while Kwon Soon-gyoo‘s writing takes on its trademark meandering style. The two don’t quite fit together, but the epic quality of the first episode cannot be denied, especially not with the exquisite background score and crisply filmed scenes.

This first episode doesn’t boast of the headliners. Jang Geun-seok as Baek Dae-gil makes a torturously short appearance, which seems a bit of a cheat after all the hype surrounding his return after a long acting hiatus. The You’re Beautiful star hasn’t had much luck in drama or film since his raging success in 2010 and is hoping for a solid comeback. That remains to be seen. And Yeo Jin-goo, well, we got to see about ten seconds of his face.

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