TV Review – Strong Girl Bong Soon

Co-posted at Heroic Cinema

2017 – 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…

8 secret closet dungeons out of 10

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