Review: Strong Girl Bong Soon

Directed by:
Cast: , , ,

Distributed in Australia by:

Co-posted at Still Just Alison

TV series – 16 episodes

This is for all the women who want some vicarious ‘beating the crap out of everyone who’s ever looked at me sideways’ enjoyment. It’s also a whole sack full of fun even if you don’t have the urge to pummel anyone.

Do Bong Soon (Park Bo-young) is tiny, perky, and possessed of the superhuman strength that runs in the females in her family. Park brings an effervescence to the role that lifts Bong Soon above the merely cute, adding a sharp edge – the occasional side eye and tendency to inflict casual violence on the furniture to make a point gives her the quality of a human hand grenade, liable to wreak havoc at the slightest provocation despite her sweet smile and obliging manner.

Bong Soon first appears as the half-seen saviour in a recurring memory of Ahn Min-hyuk (Park Hyung-sik, of K-pop group ZE:A), the youthful CEO of gaming software company Ainsoft. Min-hyuk has been seeking his mystery girl for years, yet doesn’t immediately twig when he sees Bong Soon beating the bejeezus out of a passel of gangsters, although he’s smitten enough to offer her a job as his bodyguard. Maybe Seoul is awash with diminutive super-strong beauties, or maybe Min-hyuk is a lot less intelligent than he seems.

Or maybe he’s just besotted – Min-hyuk has so many issues in his closet (quite literally) that we’re not surprised he loses his wits at sight of a tiny dominatrix, and the only surprise is that he doesn’t ask her to give him a light beating now and again. Perhaps that was in the unexpurgated version. Whatever the case, it’s a nice reversal of the “Me Tarzan, you Jane” style of romance, with an alpha male and a female whose only value is her face. Bong Soon is pretty, yes, but she’s also smart, sassy, and fearsomely strong, and Min-hyuk has absolutely no problem with any of that – quite the reverse, in fact.

In her neighbourhood of Dobong-dong, Bong Soon is still mooning over her high school crush, police detective Guk Doo (Kim Ji-soo), who keeps our girl firmly in the friend zone, while a crazy stalker dude abducting young women strikes fear into the locals.

Also threatening Bong Soon are a bunch of gangster thugs apparently hired from Loser Dweezils ‘R Us – they’re the most pathetic, unfunny, scrofulent bunch of WATB’s you could ever hope not to meet. They didn’t need Bong Soon to beat them up – an aardvark with an egg whisk could have done it, which might have avoided the painfully unfunny attempts at slapstick humour.

Aside from the loser hench-beings, though, the rest of the series is a corker – it moves along at a cracking pace, deftly weaving the threads of a current mystery, a past mystery, and the blossoming romance, spiced with gentle comic touches (aside from the hench-things), giving a highly binge-worthy experience that keeps us entertained from go to woah. It was a massive hit when it aired on Korean TV, and its long run on Netflix indicates it’s doing well here too.

See it, or I’ll send Do Bong Soon around…

Mamamoo with Double Trouble Couple from the OST here (includes MV & lyrics video)

Alison blogs at Still Just Alison, where she writes about Korean drama, movies, music, and, very occasionally, things that aren’t Korean. But only occasionally.

8 secret closet dungeons out of 10.
Bookmark the permalink.