White Nights 3.98 (1998) poster
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Avaliações: 7.9/10 de 12 usuários
# de Fãs: 151
Resenhas: 1 usuário
Classificado #15149
Popularidade #99999
Fãs 12

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  • Português (Brasil)
  • English
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • dansk
  • País: South Korea
  • Tipo: Drama
  • Episódios: 20
  • Exibido: Ago 31, 1998 - Nov 3, 1998
  • Exibido em: Segunda, Terça
  • Original Network: SBS
  • Duração: 55 min.
  • Pontuação: 7.9 (scored by 12 usuários)
  • Classificado: #15149
  • Popularidade: #99999
  • Classificação do Conteúdo: Not Yet Rated

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White Nights 3.98 (1998) photo


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Fev 3, 2023
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North against South. One (if not the first) Spy-KDrama, atypically action-packed… but hard to get

In 1998, "White Nights 3.98" as a TV production for the first time ventured into completely new territory - not only spatially but also in terms of content. It is about the espionage activities related to the development of advanced nuclear weapons, as well as conflicts between the United States, Russian secret services and mafia, which are carried out on the backs of North and South Korea. The title "White Nights 3.98" on the one hand refers to midsummer nights in northern latitudes and thus to the scene of action: Mongolia. On the other hand it relates to the supersonic flight speed measured in the ´Mach´. Here '3.98' denotes the speed at which one of the protagonists is traveling in a key scene.

As a child, Min Gyeong-bin had actively witnessed the heroic death of his father, who was able to foil the assassination attempt by North Korean Unit 124 on President Park in 1968 while deployed by the Jongro police. His childhood dream is to become an Air Force pilot, dancing through the air at high speed. Gyeong-bin actually manages to be trained as a pilot, but due the circumstances he ends up being deployed to the secret service. His target is nuclear researcher Anatoly Jang, who is deputy director of the Institute for Atomic Energy Research in Irkutsk, Russia. The FSB, the Chechen mafia and the North Korean secret service are also interested in him, secret information and the latest generation of nuclear bombers. The Nort Koreans mobilize one of their best snipers: Kwon Taek-hyeong.
Taek-hyeon's father was part of Unit 124 at the time. As the black sheep of his family, Taek-hyeon usually had a hard time. After helping his first love Anastashia to flee south through the Imjin River as a teenager, he also lost his heart along with her. He learned how to shoot as a soldier, and as an unscrupulous sniper he can now be bought around the world - including a terrorist rebel group in the Arab world, far from home. Now, however, he is hired by his own people. He's supposed to eliminate Anatoly Jang. Far too late he realizes his target being the father of his first and only love, who in turn is now an agent of the Russian FSB...

This KDrama is atypically action-packed: with flight scenes reminiscent of Top Gun, a trigger-happy sequence where the North Korean protagonist shoots himself free in Rambo-style, underwater scenes in the Imjin River (that flows through the demilitarized zone), explosions, and more. The KDrama actually opened up a spectacular new genre in the South Korean series world. And yet. "White Nights 3.98" had a difficult stand in South Korea in several ways. Ratings started high and then plummeted.

There are several reasons that tell us more about South Korea, than about the KDrama. "White Nights 3,98" is based on the novel of the same name and is an exciting and thoroughly entertaining, at times well-done as well. It is also documenting, that in spite of Cold War having already ended, North and South Korea with their particular political dynamic represent the last and still red-hot stronghold of a Cold War that is actually still going on. However, the KDrama comes to TV at a time when the North and the South just startet to look to the future with more optimism, with their hopeful, positive "sunshine politics" and the newly created Kŭmgang-san region dedicated to South Korean tourism in North Korea. "White Nights 3.98" might present a hot topic that is always up to date, though it completely missed the social topic of the time. People didn't really feel like giving their hearts to warring spies - North against South. So even though at the beginning, the series was still in third place, its ratings rapidly went down.
There is another reason for this. A considerable part of the scenes (3 out of 12 months of shooting time) were shot abroad, mainly in Russia and partly in Uzbekistan. This brings exotic flair to the series orbit, which in KDrama is otherwise concentrated on the peninsula. (Compared to other KDramas, the total production costs were accordingly three times as high.) However, the international subject matter, the dramaturgical interdependence with the secret services of the USA and the Soviet Union, also required native speakers who could easily find their way around the South Korean set. It repeatedly seems to be a problem to find a suitable cast - a problem that I already encountered in "Sad Love Story". Eventually, the acting performance of the Russian and American casts can´t keep up with the rest of the production. That's really a shame, because it not only offends the eye, but also the ear.
Yet, the production had to take another criticism. Director Kim Jong-hak, who excited the masses with "Sandglass" just a couple of years before, now caused offense by working with deliberate reminiscences of that earlier production - with similar or even the same scenes. One or the other seemed strangely familiar to me, too. But those who don't know "Sandglass" won't mind. And even so, it doesn't really have to bother. Nevertheless, it was not well received as a 'gag' at the time. The South Korean audience was 'not amused' about it.
Additionally, criticism referred to the rather sloppily drawn central character Kwon Taek-hyeong. In the original novel, the protagonist, who is difficult to grasp, is probably a lot more understandable in his ambivalence and complexity. The series massively simplifies/slims his profile. There is comparatively little left of his dark, evil, unscrupulous side in the script. Little remains of his ambivalence either. You also learn practically nothing about that background. Finally, the story of how he went from being a teenager to an unscrupulous terrorist is simply left out. Only the painful loss of Anastashia remains. In the series version, Choi Min-soo had to make up for a few things with his presence in order to convey a strong profile to this tragic character.

"White Nights 3.98" may be a spy thriller, but it's not a about male heroes only. There are plenty of women involved as events unfold. Of course, there are also tragic entanglements in love. Ultimately, the driving dramaturgical forces are not ideologies, people and homeland, but heart and pain, impulsive and human decisions. Whatever one may accuse "White Nights 3.98" of, it comes up with strong emotional moments in the proven KDrama manner.

By the way, here you can see Park Eun-bin making her acting debut as a six-year-old, and Song Hye-kyo was still in the starting blocks of her career back then, too... if ever you get to see the KDrama. With subtitles it is (currently) difficult to get...

Historical SIDE NOTE:
For me, in connection with "White Nights 3.98" (besides all the entertainment and star encounters), the historical context was ultimately interesting - not only in relation to the contemporary critical reception of the KDrama, but also regarding the true historical prelude storyline:
In 1968, North Korean Special Forces attempted to assassinate South Korean President Park, thus a special ´Unit 124´ had advanced as Black Op on South Korean soil. They had dived through the iced Imjin River and left the demilitarized zone behind. On their way to the Blue House, 7 km east of Paju, the group was spotted by four passers-by and reported to the police. However, the special unit was prepared for this and changed into the uniforms of the local 26th Infantry Division of the South Korean army and split up. Unnoticed by the police and military, they were able to penetrate as close as up to 100 m to the Blue House in Seoul. However, by chance or good intuition of the local police chief, the assassins were confronted at Checkpoint Jongro and engaged in a shootout. 29 of 31 members of the special unit died trying to escape or killed themselves as a precaution. One of two survivors was caught and defected to the south. The other, Pak Jae-gyong, made it back to North Korea and to the top of the military and political ranks.

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  • Drama: White Nights 3.98
  • País: Coreia do Sul
  • Episódios: 20
  • Exibido: Ago 31, 1998 - Nov 3, 1998
  • Exibido On: Segunda, Terça
  • Original Network: SBS
  • Duração: 55 min.
  • Classificação do Conteúdo: Ainda Não Classificado


  • Pontuação: 7.9 (avaliado por 12 usuários)
  • Classificado: #15149
  • Popularidade: #99999
  • Fãs: 151

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