Action thriller to follow ‘Boys Over Flowers’

Now that “Boys Over Flowers” has ended, will yet another light-hearted drama chock full of hot young men jump into KBS’ Monday and Tuesday prime time slot? Guess again.

KBS’ latest Monday and Tuesday night installment, “The Slingshot,” is pure testosterone-driven action. Channeling dude flicks like “Ocean’s Eleven” and American TV shows like “Prison Break,” “The Slingshot” maps the struggles of a wronged hero who gets himself thrown in jail and realizes he has been duped.

So what does he do? He formulates the ultimate plan for vengeance, enlisting the help of a few prison buddies to form a team.

The third work in a trilogy of epic series scripted by Song Ji-na, who focused on Korea in the 1940s and early 1950s with the hit drama “Eye of Dawn” (1991) and then made history with “Hourglass” (1997), “The Slingshot” addresses the current state of Korean society by exploring the true value of economic success.

“Let’s try our hand at a real story about money,” said director Yoon Sung-sik at the press conference last week. “That’s how it started.”

Money serves as the impetus for hero Kim Shin’s downfall. Once a pawn in villain Chae Do-woo’s gamble for cold hard cash, Kim Shin decides to beat Chae at his own game.

Will the action-packed thriller reel in high ratings that are on par with its predecessor: “Boys Over Flowers”?

“Yes, ‘Boys Over Flowers’ puts the pressure on,” said Hallyu star Park Yong-ha, who will play hero Kim Shin.

The make or break factor in the success of “The Slingshot” may lie in its ability to infuse an otherwise grim tale with a bit of humor. The key to hit flicks of a similar vein, like Soderbergh’s “Out of Sight” (1998), lies in their ability to focus on an incredibly charming criminal played by someone like George Clooney, put him in tight situation and add a liberal dose of black comedy.

When asked if he opted for old school noir cool or for a bit of slapstick, actor Park answered: “I was very anxious about that. My conclusion was to go for comedy.”

That decision may be the drama’s saving grace. That and the inclusion of a strong female character, played by actress Park Si-yeon; not to mention heavyweight Kim Kang-woo as villain Chae Do-woo.

“I have met with screenwriter Song Ji-na,” said actress Park Si-yeon, who will be playing Kim Shin’s love interest. “She said, ‘I would like your character to be an impressive woman, the likes of which no one has ever seen before.'”

“Le Grand Chef” actor Kim Kang-woo, who carried home the best actor award for his role in “The Railroad (Gyeongiseon)” at the 25th Torino Film Festival in 2007, will be adding a third dimension to “The Slingshot” as the well-bred and menacing Chae Do-woo.

“The Slingshot” starts airing tonight on KBS 2 TV at 9:55 p.m.

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