Choi Si-Won is back from his military service and better than ever in the romantic comedy that oh, so slightly mimics his real life, Revolutionary Love (aka Revolution).
Gangsu Company is a humongous food conglomerate, owned and operated for three generations by the Byun family. Although CEO Byun Kang-Soo and his oldest son, Byun Woo-Sung, are major players when it comes to the business, Byun Hyuk, the youngest son, has no interest in the company whatsoever. He enjoys the freedom, money, and social status that are his because of his father’s business savvy but that’s about it. One day, a beautiful young woman named Baek Joon mistakes him for being a recently fired employee at a major hotel, and in order to stay by her side he goes along with the charade. While masquerading as a penniless man, Joon helps him get a part-time job as a cleaner at his own father’s company and opens his eyes to the plight of the everyday worker. Once Hyuk becomes aware of the injustices heaped upon the little guy he decides to change things and even-out the playing field as much as he can. Since he knows nothing of the business world he relies on his newfound friends, the cleaners, for help.
Byun Hyuk has played most of his life. He didn’t do well in school, is popular with the ladies, accidentally gets into trouble quite easily, and is fairly naive about things pertaining to the world outside his privileged bubble. Hyuk has a kind heart and can easily sympathize with others. Ever since he was a child Hyuk has been both emotionally and physically abused by his tyrannical father. Although that has rightfully made Hyuk fearful of him, he also loves his dad very much. He looks up to his older brother and willingly took the blame for something Woo-Sung did when they were young teenagers. He falls head over heels for Baek Joon the minute he observes her spunky attitude.
Although Baek Joon put herself through college and has a degree, she has chosen to live her life as a “part-timer,” working several part-time jobs instead of being a full-time salary employee. When she was just a young girl, her father was fired from his job as a manager at a big company and Joon wants nothing to do with the full-time worker life. She lives in a small, studio, rooftop apartment in the same building as the guy she had a crush on in college. Joon is a social justice warrior. If she feels someone is being taken advantage of, she says so and is prepared to back it up with action, if need be. As a girl, her father cautioned her to never make an important decision solely because of money, and she has taken his advice to heart.
Kwon Jae-Hoon was raised alongside Hyuk although they aren’t in the same social class at all. Ever since Jae-Hoon was a very small boy his father has worked for the Byun family. He watched as his dad was abused over and over by the Byun patriarch, including going to jail on his behalf. Jae-Hoon is employed by the Gangsu Company. Although he’s mostly in charge of cleaning up the mistakes accidentally caused by Hyuk, he also does whatever he is told to do. Although Hyuk sees Jae-Hoon as his one and only friend, Jae-Hoon considers Hyuk to be a spoiled, third generation rich guy.
Byun Kang-Soo, Hyuk’s father, is first and foremost a CEO. His family comes second to the Gangsu Company and everyone else is just there for him to use and abuse.
Byun Woo-Sung loves the power, prestige, and affluence that comes along with being Byun Kang-Soo’s firstborn son. He has followed in his father’s footsteps, putting himself first and not caring about anyone else. He’s determined to be the one to inherit the Gangsu Company and doesn’t care about who he has to use to get it. He’ll set up his own brother if it will get him what he wants.
The whole reason I began watching Kdramas is because I wanted to see how well Choi Si-Won (who debuted as a singer for Super Junior) could act. So I guess you could consider him the spring board for Heart & Seoul. He’s been gone from the entertainment scene for the past two years while fulfilling his mandatory military assignment as a conscripted police officer and Revolutionary Love is his comeback drama. I first saw him in the romance drama Oh! My Lady, then in the crime drama Poseidon, followed by his comedic role in She Was Pretty. The guy can do it all. Si-Won is a devout Christian who intends to become a missionary someday. He’s very well liked in China, performing in TV dramas, as well as major motion pictures, and singing with the Mandarin Super Junior sub group, Super Junior M. Sadly, he was unable to perform with his fellow band mates during Super Junior’s recent comeback performances due to Revolutionary Love‘s shooting schedule and the fact that fans are angry that the Choi family dog bit a neighbor woman and she passed away due to an infection brought on by the bite. (I happen to think it’s ridiculous to force him to stay away from performing with SJ because of an unfortunate accident.) In this drama he plays the son of a wealthy CEO which happens to hit home with Si-Won. His father was once the CEO of a big pharmaceutical company in real life. When he decided to give the entertainment industry a try he did so without any help from his father. Like Hyuk, Si-Won’s revolution was fought solo – and it’s quite obvious he won!
Twenty-seven year old Kang So-Ra began her acting career with the 2009 horror film 4th Period Mystery. However, it wasn’t until her role in the popular 2011 film Sunny that people really began to take notice of her. So-Ra has been in lots of TV dramas as well as films but other than Revolutionary Love, I’ve only seen her in Doctor Stranger and Jeju Island Gatsby. Here’s a little bit of fun information for you – at the 12th MBC Entertainment Awards she received the Popularity Award due to her being paired with Leeteuk, the leader of Super Junior, on the reality variety show We Got Married. I wonder how difficult it was to play Si-Won’s love interest in this show when she had been the virtual wife of one of his friends several years before.
I don’t have a lot of personal information about Gong Myung, the actor who plays Kwon Jae-Hoon, other than he is a member of the group 5uprise (pronounced surprise) which is the first South Korean actor group; he’s only 23 years old; he’s been in film, on TV, and in webdramas; he’s NCT member Dououng’s older brother; he sings; and he won the Special Acting Award at the Asia Culture and Economy Grand Awards earlier this year (2017). I’ve seen him in Entertainer and Bride of the Water God and thought his acting was great in both.
Revolutionary Love‘s comedy reminded me a little bit of the comedy in the drama Chief Kim, with Choi Si-Won supplying most of it. His character is so cute it was easy for the writer to come up with ways to make us smile. From him using a woman’s chest to stop his fall – twice!, to the disgust on his face as he’s trying to unstop a toilet, Hyuk makes us forget our troubles and have fun watching his. Si-Won’s face is a comedy treasure with his varied expressions being, quite often, hilarious. You name an emotion and his face can portray it. Confusion, jealousy, fear, anxiety, boredom, joy… we know what Hyuk’s feeling simply by looking at his face. (Si-Won’s one of those people whose eyebrows move independently from one another and his ears move, as well. It’s awesome.)
For some reason, the director chose to have countless shots of the characters hands. Why? Over and over again we see hands clenched in fists, fingers interlocked, hands placed on legs… hands, hands, hands! It was so monotonous. I can’t understand why the director thought he needed so many hand shots. Yes, they can show emotion – a relaxed hand slowly balling into a fist lets the audience know that character is getting angry even though his face may not reveal it. But to have us see just hands over and over again is plain irritating. If you haven’t seen this show yet but plan to, I’m throwing out a challenge – count how many times there are shots of just hands and let me know. I’m curious. My guess is close to 50, no kidding.
There are too many over-looked mistakes in this this drama – Hyuk has on pink rubber gloves while unclogging a toilet and when it begins to overflow and he backs away the pink gloves have magically disappeared; Joon scoops up a bunch of rice into a yellow bowl but when she sits at the table to eat it, abracadabra, the bowl is suddenly blue; Jae-Hoon is beaten up and has a swollen left eye but it vanishes to just being red and bruised in mere seconds… The show is too good to have so many silly mistakes in it.
As for music, it’s ridiculous Choi Si-Won wasn’t the featured singer of any song on the soundtrack. However, we do get to hear his lovely voice when Hyuk and his friends perform a song and dance for his father at a food tasting event. A full solo song on the soundtrack would have been nice but I’ll be happy with whatever I can get. Younha sings a pretty ballad entitled Love U, which would be a beautiful song for a ballroom dance couple to waltz to. Goo Keun-Byul is the guy that performs Sing My Song, entirely in English. I liked it at first but after hearing it several times per episode, like the hands shots, it got very monotonous. Between Strange Romance is an uptempo song performed by Cheon Dan-Bi which is often played at the end of each episode, and Dawon from Cosmic Girls belts out the opening song, Go Ready Go.
A farm, an amusement park, an ice rink, a tremendously spacious office building, tiny studio apartments… we get a good mixture of scenery with Revolutionary Love. One of the most impressive backgrounds is the dimly lit indoor swimming pool area in the Byun mansion. (One of the perks of living among the filthy rich.)
Revolutionary Love is a romantic comedy filled with scrumptious kisses and funny faces but it also has some serious lessons for us all…
“There’s nothing you can change without facing it head on and fighting,” Hyuk’s father tells him. And what does Hyuk learn? you may be wondering. Well, what he tells us is, “It takes more time than we think for things to change. The important thing is not the speed, but the direction,” and, “You cannot win in this world with hate and anger.” Pretty good moral, huh?
Choi Si-Won’s comedic timing
The many different faces of Si-Won
Excellent character development
Too many silly directorial mistakes
Way too many shots of just the characters’ hands
4 thoughts on “Revolutionary Love”
I started to watched the drama as well and it was really funny in the beginning, but then I started hating it with passion around episode 5 or so and dropped it. The whole situation and the Hyuk character were too stupid for my taste. How many accidents can one person cause? Funny how you mention Chief Kim, because Chief Kim is my favourite comedy drama. I love Namgoong Min, he is great in comedy. But Chief Kim was clever. Even though he acted crazy, the crazy was for a cause, he always had a plan. But great review, fun to read about your opinion!
I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy Revolutionary Love like I did. Not many readers let me know what they think about a particular drama and whether or not they agree with my review. I like to think that if you often disagree with me, at least my reviews can still be useful in helping you decide what to watch – if I like a drama, you’ll know you won’t like it. Thanks for letting me know your opinion on the show! Please keep commenting. I hope you’ll find all of Heart & Seoul’s reviews entertaining and informative.
Even if I don’t like a drama, it is still interesting to read what other people think about it and discuss it. So keep it up!
I completely agree with you. And thanks for the encouragement. I plan on keeping Heart & Seoul alive as long as any one is interested in my opinions.