Good Ol’ Review: Park Bo Young Effortlessly Carries Strong Woman Do Bong Soon

TYPE OF REVIEW : GOOD OL’ REVIEW
Minor spoilers.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon (힘쎈여자 도봉순) is an overall fun series that mixes together several different and unexpected genres into one mostly enjoyable package. While the series is more successful at some things and lacking in others, one constant is Park Bo Young’s excellent performance as the title character.

Park Bo Young is Do Bong Soon, a young woman who was born with superhuman strength. That power has come in handy for her as she grows up. But it finally catches up to her when she finds herself in a sticky situation against a gang of thugs.

That leads her to meeting Ahn Min Hyuk (Park Hyungsik), a young game company CEO who soon sweeps her off her feet (or perhaps it’s the other way around, considering Bong Soon’s strength). Together with her childhood friend In Guk Doo (Ji Soo), they get caught up in a violent cat and mouse game with a psychotic criminal (Jang Mi Kwan).

Part-romantic comedy, part-coming of age family drama, part-fantasy, part crime procedural, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon‘s eclectic mix of genres and themes is absolutely fascinating to watch come together.

The series is at its best when it focuses on Bong Soon living with her superpower every day and how she is able to use it to help people, including against the psychopath. But also how such a power can be amusingly inconvenient.

The hilarious, though jarringly violent scenes of Bong Soon fighting off goons and breaking their bones with a flick of the wrist are amusing. Especially considering how cute and petite Park Bo Young is as Bong Soon.

That’s one of the major selling points; this otherwise normal young woman has the strength to be able to stop runaway buses or rearrange solid steel.

Perhaps even more surprising is how well the crime drama aspect of the series works too. The sinister plot involving a truly deranged criminal brutally attacking young women and imprisoning them is also jarringly intense. But Ji Soo’s performance as passionate Detective Guk Doo and the strong performance of Jang Mi Kwan as the psychopath Kim Jang Hyun make that side of the story good enough to stand on its own.

There are a couple of other side plots (such as bumbling gangsters, bro code, Bong Soon’s parents marital issues, Min Hyuk’s dysfunctional family and poop wine) that never get enough development or attention to ever play a big role in the greater narrative.

But what is surprisingly the weakest part of the series is its romcom slice. And this is in spite of the great chemistry between Park Bo Young and Park Hyungsik (plus Ji Soo as the likeable second lead). Unfortunately, the writing for it just wasn’t there as much as it was for the fantasy elements (of Bong Soon’s strength and her family history) or even the crime procedural elements.

The pure comedic aspects of the series are hit or miss. And increasingly so as the series reaches its final episodes when the crime drama becomes the most engaging focal point.

But since everything else as a whole is so strong, it’s easy to forgive some sincerely questionable scenes on the comedy and romcom side.

The jarring mix of genres and themes can cause some tonal whiplash from time to time. But it all works more often than not. And the cast is just that irresistible that you can’t help but keep watching.

It is a strong ensemble cast. But our leads do carry a lot of the weight over the 16 episodes.

Like I mentioned earlier, Ji Soo does particularly well as the idealistic rookie detective. But he also is a viable second lead and the third wheel in the romantic triangle. He’s the good guy next door that you want nothing more than to wish him his own happiness.

Park Hyungsik had proven his dramatic chops earlier (at the time this series aired) with supporting roles in Sirius and Nine Time Travels. But he is able to showcase his more comedic side as the leading man here. Again, while a lot of the comedic hits never truly land, he is able to use his natural charm and great chemistry with Park Bo Young to overcome that.

But the series belongs to Park Bo Young. She is able to deliver the many facets of Bong Soon’s character. And effortlessly so. Whether it’s the cutesy, romantic side or the fearless, superwoman hero side, she does it all. But she is best in the heaviest and most dramatic moments. Her talent and experience is showcased and on full display. And when other things fall short from time to time during the course of the series, Park Bo Young is able to pick up the slack on her own.

Overall, Strong Woman Do Bong Soon is an enjoyable roller coaster ride. While it may not be the tightest story and it does lose some steam by the end, the irresistible cast and a steady stream of fun and thrills make it a worthy watch.

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