Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Esther Lee
Rain has always been passionate about acting and singing. Although most people know him as a singer, he has built a thriving career as an actor for the past twenty years. He stayed firm even when things were not coming his way and has always made decisions based on what would be the best for him despite the concerns of his peers. The singer-turned-actor is currently proving those concerns wrong as he is receiving many favorable reviews for his mysterious surgeon role in tvN’s Ghost Doctor. If you find Rain charming as not only a singer but also an actor, let’s take a look at some of his most impressive works.
Sang Doo! Let’s Go to School (2003)
Rain made his acting debut in Sang Doo! Let’s Go to School. It’s a romance drama about an ex-convict and single father named Sang Doo and his best friend named Eun Hwan (Gong Hyo Jin), who happened to be his first love. Although Sang Doo! Let’s Go to School didn’t do well due to MBC’s Dae Jang Geum‘s sensational popularity, it did gain great popularity among a few passionate drama fans. Many viewers wrote that Rain nailed his part as a single father, and as an ex-convict who struggles to raise his sick daughter while finding the love of his life outside of prison. His killer smiles and his genuine emotional acting drew people into the show. In a way, Sang Doo! Let’s Go to School’s success seemed to have paved the way for him to be one of the A-list actors.
Full House (2004)
Full House is a drama adaptation of a manhwa that shares the same title. It is a romantic comedy show about a female landlord who discovers that her house has been sold to a famous actor without her consent. Rain took the role of the top star named Young Jae and played opposite Song Hye Kyo, who starred as Ji Eun. Ji Eun is an aspiring scriptwriter who becomes Young Jae’s housemaid as a result of a series of events. Since Rain was greatly popular at that time thanks to his hit song “It’s Raining,” he played his celebrity role very naturally. Young Jae is a character who does whatever he wants and isn’t good with his emotions. This kind of setting added to the fun of the drama and spiced up the sweet chemistry between Song Hye Kyo and him. Rain found his way to stardom as a Hallyu star thanks to the phenomenal popularity of Full House in Korea and East Asia.
I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK (2006)
I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK is Rain’s first movie that is filled with director Park Chan Wook’s unique approach to a romantic comedy movie. Set in Shinsaegae Psychiatric Hospital, the movie tells the story of a girl named Young Goon (Im Soo Jung) who believes she’s a cyborg and a boy named Il Soon (Rain) who thinks he can steal other people’s characteristics. Rain practiced yodeling and table tennis for his role despite his busy schedule with his new album. Although the film did not perform well at the box office due to its difficult-to-understand storyline, I personally think that it is still a worth-watching movie. It outs itself as a low-key rom-com with fairy tale rhythms to its narrative, featuring unique characters like a man who walks backward, a yodeling girl, and “a rubber band man.” As the film got the chance to premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival, Rain was able to make himself known to the Hollywood production crews.
Ninja Assassin (2009)
Ninja Assassin gave Rain his first Hollywood lead role after his string of rom-coms. Previously, he had made his Hollywood film debut in the Wachowski sisters’ Speed Racer (2008). In Ninja Assassin, Rain played a man named Raizo who was trained to become the ultimate ninja assassin under a secret clan. Ninja Assassin depicts Raizo seeking vengeance after witnessing his friend being brutally killed by the clan that took him in when he was an orphan on the street. Rain is said to have undergone harsh martial arts training every day for six months to realistically portray his character, who has been trained to become an assassin since he was a child. Although the story of him overcoming his internal conflicts and its poor production was disappointing, the action in Ninja Assassin was worth watching.
Welcome 2 Life (2019)
Welcome 2 Life is a crime-romance drama that follows a selfish lawyer who falls into a parallel world where he is a righteous prosecutor. Rain played Jae Sang, the man who is forced to live a second life. He received positive reviews for portraying two characters who are the complete opposite of each other in terms of their marital status, goals and philosophies. Viewers left positive reviews on Rain’s character as he slowly changed from being a cold-blooded man who suddenly fell into a parallel world to a father who genuinely misses his family. Thanks to the favorable reviews he received in this drama, Rain was able to make up for the failure of the movie Race to Freedom: Um Bok Dong.
Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.
Translator Esther Lee: I’ll be providing you with up-to-date, reliable Korean entertainment news. Enjoy!