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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Free up a weekend

Author: Robin Cook from USA
30 October 2005

TEN STARS!

A young man lent me this DVD set and even though I don't speak Korean and don't especially like reading subtitles, I was extremely hooked on this unique drama. Soapy? Somewhat, but done in such a way I was captured and couldn't stop watching it. One episode to the next, I barely got out of my chair long enough to go to the bathroom, get something to eat and to change the disk to the next and the next.

Lee Byung Hun portrays a young man (Kim In-ha) who learned the hard knocks in life and learned a gambling talent that projects his life into the politics and high finance world. From poverty to riches, and we mustn't forget he has competition for the apple of his eye, portrayed by Song Hae Gyo. As the story unfolds with twists and turns keeping the lovebirds apart and yearning for each other, the casino game gets into the power play of more and more. As they use in the gambling circles of finality, All In! Hence the title. It's the getting to the All In! that kept me on the edge of my seat.

I've given only a simple description of this TV-movie drama since it is so very complex, it is difficult to give a summary that will give it the admiration it deserves. Gee, a love story that spans 8 disks? Sorry, this just doesn't describe the experience of watching this most remarkable drama. Outstandingly superb is the best to say. I had a neighbor visit me whilst watching it and he got caught up in it as well.

So, if you do get a chance to see this 8 DVD set, be sure to plan out at least two days of your life and accept the notion of being totally addicted to the very end.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Another Kdrama series - but tries to break out of the mold and appeal to a wider audience

8/10
Author: zoe_smith from Hong Kong
2 July 2006

Lee Byung Hun, my Korean movie idol, manages to sustain a great performance based on real-life gambler Kim In Ha. I think it's only thanks to the skills of Lee Byung Hun, that this series managed to be so good. Although there were also some genuinely mean performances by a couple of other villain characters, as well as a couple of slightly farcical and not so good characters.

Usually, the romance thread is the main point of the Korean drama series. They introduced the fictional romance between Lee Byung Hun's character and that of Song Hye Gyo against the gangster backdrop. The 2 became real life lovers during the production of the drama - now broken up. You can see on screen that the two really like each other, but as for Song Hye Gyo's character of 'Angela' on screen, she didn't seem to have a lot of substance and I wasn't convinced why Kim In Ha should go nuts for her. You also have to believe in the nature of extraordinary coincidence - a common feature of Korean drama series - to be convinced that the couple should be reunited on SO MANY occasions in various parts of the world.

For me, the stronghold of the series was the rivalry and backstabbing between the gang members. I especially cheered at the fate of the vampire-esquire Dae Soo character. Such a theme attracted a lot of male members to the audience - not something typical of most Korean drama series. I also think the series can appeal to many on an international level. They have on-location scenes in Las Vegas including some foreign actors. The gambling skills picked up by the actors was also impressive.

All In is a great drama series to get started in.

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Good, not great

7/10
Author: aryfh from Los Angeles
27 July 2006

Having seen lots of K-Dramas, this one is bit slow-paced and the twenty-four episodes could easily have been told in eighteen. The story is what holds this together and I wish the characters were better developed (especially over the course of 24-plus hours) and the direction could've been swifter (there are lots of long (10 seconds-plus) shots of an actor just standing there, which makes the viewer press the 'scan forward' button). My biggest gripe with this SBS production is the English subtitles. I don't think anyone needs or expects them to be perfect, but these were so bad, to the point of being distracting and ruining the mood (on the other hand, most MBC dramas have great subtitles).

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