Duel is a suspense drama about a police detective (Jung Jae Young) whose daughter is kidnapped by a murderous human clone (Yang Se Jong). But when he meets a man who looks just like the kidnapper, he finds there’s a bigger mystery going on then he would have ever expected.
Duel was such a fantastic ride! Clones are pretty unique territory in Dramaland, and I was curious how the story would be handled. Luckily, it was handled wonderfully and gave me a story full of intensity, action, mystery, and heart.
Jung Jae Young plays Detective Jang Deuk Cheon. And he’s one intense guy! He has a very sweet and nurturing relationship with his daughter, Soo Yeon. When she gets kidnapped, he is willing to do anything to get her back. He appears to be constantly on edge, and I easily felt his frantic energy as he worked to find her. Excellent performance!
Yang Se Jong was fantastic in dual roles as the good amnesiac Sung Joon and the villainous kidnapper Sung Hoon. As Sung Joon, he was so endearing with such an innocent quality. I felt so bad for him! When he’s accused of kidnapping Soo Yeon, he’s left confused and afraid as he has no memories from before a few days ago. He doesn’t want to believe he could have done bad things, and he really wants to help Deuk Cheon find Soo Yeon.
I also think poor Sung Joon gets beat up more than any drama character I’ve ever seen! He’s seriously a punching bag for almost everyone he comes across. I already felt bad for him, then to watch him constantly take such beatings was heartbreaking. Kudos to Yang Se Jong for really getting into character and going through so much.
Then as Sung Hoon, Yang Se Jong nails the villain role. Sung Hoon has that creepy smile, he’s confident, and he’s a force to be reckoned with. He shows no mercy for those who get in the way of achieving his goal.
Because he’s a villain who doesn’t really show remorse, it’s difficult to sympathize with him for a long time. But the more we learn, the more tragic his story becomes. Slowly, we begin to understand what made him into the man he is, and I couldn’t help but feel sorrow for him.
And I fully believed that Sung Joon and Sung Hoon were two separate people. They looked exactly the same, but their personalities and mannerisms were completely different. I’m still thoroughly impressed by Yang Se Jong for being so convincing as each guy.
Even more impressive is that there are scenes where Sung Joon impersonated Sung Hoon and I could always tell it was actually Sung Joon. That’s pretty crazy for my mind to wrap around. This was my first time seeing him, and he made me an instant fan.
Ryu Mi Rae (Seo Eun Soo) is a reporter. While looking for information about her mother, she finds herself right in the middle of the mystery Deuk Cheon and Sung Joon are involved in.
And then there is Prosecutor Choi Jo Hye (Kim Jung Eun) who is running the mission to locate Soo Yeon, but her fierce personality tends to put her at odds with Deuk Cheon.
I ended up thoroughly enjoying Duel. It was thrilling, had a fantastic story, and even had heart to tie it all together. There’s an intriguing mystery in place as we go on a journey to learn why Soo Yeon has been kidnapped as well as what Sung Joon’s connection to her and the kidnapper are.
We get dropped right into the middle of the action at the beginning of the series, and the intensity continues throughout the drama. Something I particularly love in dramas is when the heroes end up on the run. Even better when the duo has to reluctantly work together. And that’s exactly what this drama does with Sung Joon and Deuk Cheon.
With Sung Joon being framed for kidnapping Soo Yeon and Deuk Cheon needing Sung Joon to find her, they end up on the run from the cops as they search for answers. First, it’s very intense as there are plenty of close encounters with cops as well as bad guys.
I also enjoy getting to see the two guys slowly bond in the midst of their difficult circumstances. And watching the relationship slowly develop between Sung Joon and Deuk Cheon was very nice throughout the series.
There is also a well-developed mystery surrounding the clones, their purpose, and their connection to Deuk Cheon. The drama was plotted wonderfully as it carefully revealed pieces of the puzzle while maintaining a good pace and intensity to keep me engaged.
The story of Sung Joon and Sung Hoon is quite tragic. Learning their back story and how they are connected was very emotional. It brings up questions as to what makes us human and shows the terrible things humans will do to survive. Their relationship was an interesting one that delivered so much emotion.
There are a couple minor negatives that you should be aware of about the drama. There’s a decent amount of shoddy police work and poor decision making throughout. There’s also several times where the plot devices were of the far too convenient side. They are the kind of things where you roll your eyes and go “Come on! There’s no way that could happen!” or “Are you kidding? Why is he doing such a stupid thing when any sane person would know better?” These sorts of situations only really stand out a few times, but you should be aware they are there. I personally think that the story and everything else was so good that these things didn’t bother me much. Again, roll your eyes and move on.
There are also a few unanswered questions as well as some plot holes here and there. But these issues felt minor considering such a well developed mystery and story was in place that for the most part was executed very well.
So overall, I found Duel to be a thrilling and emotional ride. I really enjoyed the characters and the intense journeys they went on. The clone element was handled well and certainly added a freshness to the story. And finally, Duel is exactly how I like my crime thrillers: with action, mystery, and heart. It was a truly wonderful combination.
My Rating: 8.5/10
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