The twenty-eighty episode of “Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People” consists entirely of a gigantic pitched battle. Well OK, technically King Yeonsangun harasses Gil-dong psychologically by dangling Ga-ryeong right in front of him, takes a break, then the battle starts when we discover Gil-dong’s implausible victory strategy. But by and large it all feels like the same sequence, with King Yeonsangun on one end taking liquorshots while Gil-dong and friends are at the top of the embankment.
That appears to be the consistent character trait we’re getting out of King Yeonsangun for the final stretch- he just sees everything that’s happening as an elaborate game. And a rigged game to boot, since King Yeonsangun has access to resources that Gil-dong does not. At this point the bad guys have chosen evil out of sheer inertia. Nok-soo’s not even pretending at this point that King Yeonsangun is going to reform in any meaningful way.
While it’s disappointing to see the intellectual pretensions dashed, at the same time, it is refreshing to see so much action packed into such a small area. It’s like the production team os trying to make up for lost time in the action scene department with such huge battles. Gil-dong holds the most important role, and at times has to hold the entire line by himself. Which is relieving, since the professional archers can make short work of the citizen soldiers Gil-dong is so dedicated to protecting.
There’s still some discordance when it comes proper build-up. I still have trouble visualizing Moley as Gil-dong’s parallel rival mainly because he never does anything aside from follow orders. We have the same problem with the son of the guy Amogae killed way back in the beginning of the drama, a character whose had more characterization as a child than as an actual adult. The big fight with the white shirts would similarly have had a lot more dramatic punch had I any idea who those people even were.
That all probably came off as harsher than I meant it- it’s not that “Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People” is bad, it’s that the story is simple enough there just isn’t very much there for me to analyze. It’s hard to get any more two dimensional than a couple of armies having a face off with one another, with simple strategy and clearly telegraphed heroes and villains. The only real flourish is Gil-dong’s opening move- and closing ambiguity about what the next one will be.
Review by William Schwartz
“Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People” is directed by Jin Chang-gyoo, Kim Jin-man, written by Hwang Jin-yeong and features Kim Sang-joong, Yoon Kyun-sang, Kim Ji-suk, Lee Honey and Chae Soo-bin.
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“[HanCinema’s Drama Review] “Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People” Episode 28″
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Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People