If you’re the type of person that likes bad guys, Falling in Love With Soon-Jung is a drama you’ll enjoy. There’s a good guy who turns bad, and a bad one who turns good, and he’s the character that steals the show and your heart! Sounds interesting, huh?
Kang Min-Ho returns to Korea, from America, armed for a fight. He’s lived most of his life building up to this point – seeking revenge on the uncle that took away everything his father worked so hard to accomplish. After building up Hermia, a cosmetics company, and becoming CEO, Min-Ho’s father passed away from a heart condition and was charged with embezzlement after his death. All of his father’s shares in Hermia were then transferred to Min-Ho’s greedy uncle, Kang Hyun-Cheol, who then took over as CEO. That was more than his mother could handle and she ended up committing suicide. All Min-Ho wants is to see his uncle in ruin and the company in ashes, but he needs to hurry if he wants to actually witness those two things because he has the same heart condition his father had and it looks as though he only has about a month left to live.
Kim Soon-Jung is the secretary to Hermia’s CEO, Min-Ho’s uncle, which puts her in the enemy camp. However, even though she and Min-Ho clash, big time, she’s a sympathetic human being who doesn’t hesitate to help him when he collapses, twice. She is also engaged to her elementary school sweetheart, Ma Dong-Wook, a skilled detective on the police force. One night, after finding out who was involved in a contaminated ingredients scandal at Hermia’s factory, he is killed in a hit and run accident. That same night, at the same hospital Dong-Wook is taken to, Min-Ho is close to death himself. He might have a fighting chance if only there was a heart donor match for him. Miracle of miracles, Min-Ho receives Dong-Wook’s heart and makes a quick recovery. But he now begins to act out of character and it’s becoming more and more obvious, to himself and others. And, to makes things more complicated, he finds himself being attracted to Soon-Jung. Could all that have something to do with his new heart? However, it’s not the time to be sympathetic if he wants his revenge to work out. After a bazar twist of fate and a new heart, Min-Ho decides to change his plans and save the company he so desperately wanted to see fail, and in order to do that he has to go toe to toe with Hermia’s top legal council, Lee Joon-Hee who happens to be a very old and dear friend of Soon-Jung and Dong-Wook. And speaking of Dong-Wook, his partner, Na Ok-Hyun, discovers the hit and run might have been intentional. So, who would want Dong-Wook dead, and why?
Kang Min-Ho has been carrying a lot of pain and anger since his early childhood. Just imagine – it’s bad enough to have your father die but then to have your uncle accuse him of embezzlement and take his shares in the company after he’s dead, that’s more than a kid should have to deal with. And on top of that, to witness your own mother give up on life and commit suicide, leaving you alone, is something that would definitely leave a mark on a little heart. Then to find out, as an adult, you have the same disease that killed your father… It’s not difficult to understand Min-Ho is one angry, vengeful person. But we come to like him as the bitterness begins to fade and his selflessness and compassion starts to blossom.
Kim Soon-Jung is just as sweet as she looks. Even though both her parents and fiancé passed away she’s still able to smile and think of others. She takes her job seriously and is willing to do anything, short of something illegal, to help her boss. She’s someone who doesn’t give up even though the odds may not be in her favor. What’s not to love about Soon-Jung?
Lee Joon-Hee was an insecure kid with low self-esteem who grew up to be a greedy, selfish man willing to do anything to get to the top of the corporate ladder. He’s always had a secret crush on Soon-Jung but has kept his distance because she liked Dong-Woo. Being an attorney, he knows the law and that actually helps him in his illegal activities. If you want to break the law and not get caught, it helps to know the rules.
Na Ok-Hyun was Dong-Wook’s partner and has been friends with him, Soon-Jung, and Joon-Hee for many years. They all go way back. She’s a tenacious cop who goes by gut feeling and won’t rest until she discovers the truth surrounding her partner’s death.
Oh Woo-Sik is Min-Ho’s right hand man and best friend. He’s there to help his boss however he can and genuinely likes him. I think Woo-Sik was able to see the kind side of Min-Ho even while he was still being a rotten guy. He’s a cute character who adds some fun to the show.
Kang Min-Ho is played by Jung Kyung-Ho. I had never seen the guy before but I’m anxiously awaiting seeing him again in another Kdrama. What a versatile actor! When the show first starts out he’s so mean, it’s scary. But then when he calms down and “repents”, he’s just darling! My guess is he did a lot of adlibbing – cute looks, silly phrases, funny gestures – they seemed to be something Min-Ho would naturally do, not something the director told Kyung-Ho to do. I truly loved the nice side of his character and he played it perfectly. Only superb acting could make me love someone I hated at first.
Beautiful Kim So-Yeon plays our heroine, Soon-Jung. The characters she’s played have always been strong women in the Kdramas I’ve seen her in – I Need Romance 3, Iris, Doctor Champ, Gourmet, and now Falling in Love With Soon-Jung. Did you know she broke into the entertainment industry by entering a beauty pageant during her second year of middle school? Get this… instead of eyeliner she used a marker pen, and got the top prize! Who needs expensive make-up when you’ve got a magic marker?
Lee Joon-Hee is played by Yoon Hyun-Min. Are you ready for this surprise… he was a baseball player for the Hanwha Eagles and the Doosan Bears before breaking into acting. After watching Finding Kim Jong-Wook he decided to quit sports and become an actor. And isn’t the Kdrama world lucky he did?
The show was a bit longer than it needed to be. The writer drew out the corporate battle between Min-Ho and Joon-Hee almost to the point of being monotonous. Evil scheme, good triumphs. Second evil scheme, good wins. Evil scheme number three, good barely makes it out of the pit. Another evil scheme… and so on. And it was the same with the investigation involving Dong-Wook’s death. Got it, nope. Yes, no, yes, no… The writing was very good and the storyline was very intricate and well thought out. However, that being said, it was like the writer kept on coming up with more and more stumbling blocks for the good guys to overcome just to lengthen the drama. If it had been a 20 hour show I might have gotten to the “oh brother, not again” stage. Fortunately, it stopped just shy of that.
Editing slip up – watch for a scene where Min-Ho is outside by himself. Just for a brief second you can see the boom microphone overhead. It’s not horribly bad but it’s definitely noticeable and was missed in the editing room.
The soundtrack is wonderfully subtle. You know there’s music playing but it doesn’t distract from the acting – not screaming to be heard, instead, whispering just enough to let us know it’s there. Hummmmm, what’s the best word to describe the songs… nice, and nice is good. Paradise is the one I’d consider to be the Falling in Love With Soon-Jung theme.
The 16 episode show has a few places we see regularly – the office building, Min-Ho’s house, the steps in front of Soon-Jung’s place, and the cosmetics factory. Nothing special. There are a couple pretty outside shots. One scene takes our leading man and woman to a lovely outdoors area for business. It’s so cute to see them sitting on a bench, Min-Ho with bare feet, as they’re playing cat’s cradle with his shoelaces while they wait to talk to someone about a work related matter.
All in all, Falling in Love With Soon-Jung is an entertaining gift from the world of Kdramas, all tied up with a big bow! The ending was completely unexpected but I wouldn’t have wanted it to conclude any other way.
Jung Kyung-Ho’s superb acting
The darling, funny side of Min-Ho’s character
Storyline a bit too stretched out
Minor editing overlooked