I will start this review with a confession. I am supremely impressed with Lee Min Ho and now I totally understand why he is so popular in East Asia. Initially, whenever I googled a K-drama or any Korean actor, Min Ho’s name or image always showed up in the suggestion list. On reading about him I learned that he is known as the ‘Ryan Gosling of Korea’. That caught my attention and I decided to watch this show hoping to know what all the fuss was about. His show ‘The Heirs’ is one of the most popular and successful K-drama of 2013. But somehow I wasn’t really impressed with Min Ho. The show lacked substance, so I dismissed Min Ho as just another pretty-faced actor famous only for his good looks. But Google just wouldn’t give up. His name and images would keep appearing on my suggestion list. So I read some more articles on him and discovered that Lee Min Ho catapulted to fame following the success of Boys Before Flowers (BBF) and it still remains one of his most successful shows. So I decided to give Min Ho another chance and watched BBF. And boy! What a show! And Lee Min Ho… You earned a fan! From now on I shall not complain about girls going crazy over Min Ho. I think I understand what they feel 😉
Now that I have gushed over the good-looking Korean actor let me mention that Min Ho only served as a reason to watch the show. His presence has not influenced my review of the show.
Boys Before Flowers (2009)
Boys Before Flowers (or Boys Over Flowers) is a 25 episode long Korean Drama series. The show is based on the Japanese manga Hana Yori Dango and is about a girl named Geum Jan Di who earns a scholarship to attend one of the most prestigious schools, Shinhwa High School, after saving the life of one of its students. Once in school, she learns about a group of notorious boys hailing from wealthy families, together known as F4. This group is known to rag and bully students at Shinwa. After a minor altercation with the group leader Gu Joon Pyo, Jan Di becomes his new target for being bullied. Despite being badly ragged by fellow students, Geum Jan Di refuses to bow down to Gu Joon Pyo. Her resilience moves Gu Joon Pyo and he feels attracted towards her. However, Jan Di finds herself falling for the quiet and reserved F4 member Yoon Ji Hoo. Ji Hoo is in love with his childhood friend Min Seo-hyun but develops a soft spot for Jan Di. In a turn of events, Ji Hoo leaves the country for Seo-Hyun only to realize that he actually loves Jan Di. On his return, he finds out that Gu Joon Pyo and Jan Di are now dating. Ji Hoo and Joon Pyo both love Jandi but who does Jan Di love?
Let’s weigh Boys Before Flowers on our show beam balance and see if it is worth spending your 25 hours on or no.
Good Looking Cast – I know I had promised not to speak about the good-looking cast as a good weight but I cannot help it, F4 boys are so damn stunning. In fact, the Korean version has the best star cast amongst the different versions of BBF (There is a Japanese and Taiwanese version of the same story. There is an American version too but…let’s not talk about it. I tried watching it and would suggest you keep an arm’s distance from that show.) Also, these boys are the central characters of the story and their good looks helped gain audiences attention.
Lee Min Ho as the arrogant Gu Joon Pyo stole the show with his awesome acting and handsome face. He would light up the screen by his mere presence.
Kim Hyun-Joong was convincing as the handsome, introvert Yoon Ji-hoo (I am talking only about his looks and not his acting).
Kim Bum as So Yi-Jung was just too cute to play a womanizer, but that hardly made any difference. He still is an eye candy.
Compelling Storyline – Despite the length (25 episodes) I never felt bored even for a second (I disliked the last two episodes but they weren’t boring, they are just patience-testing!). The script was good and the story was gripping. Once you start watching it you want to know more and more about it. It’s interesting and addictive.
Beautifully Shot – Since the story revolves around rich boys and their lifestyle, the show was shot on extravagant sets and locations. Everything in the show was larger than life. The clothes, the houses, and sleek sports cars were just over the top. All of it added to the lavish feel of the characters. Overall the show was well shot and looked very appealing.
Poor Ending – The show was so good but the ending, ugh! The last two episodes tested my patience. ((Spoiler Alert!!)) I was hoping that maybe Jun Pyo is just pretending to have forgotten Jan Di because he’s probably still angry with her, but no! He has actually lost his memory. No not memory, he actually lost just HER memories. He remembers everyone but HER. Seriously? Is that even possible? I guess he has forgotten just the last one year of his life. How convenient! I wish they hadn’t dragged the show over two silly episodes. But then probably, that’s what happens in the original manga so the makers were just sticking to that.
Length – 25 episodes is too long for a K-drama. I am not complaining. I loved every episode (except the last two) but it could have been a little shorter.
Acting – There’s no doubt that Kim Hyun-Joong (Ji Hoo) was the best looking man in the story but he seriously lacks acting skills. Ji Hoo is the most endearing character of the show and Kim Hyun-Joong was aptly cast for his good looks, if only he could work on his expression, scenes would have been much more enjoyable.
One thing I really failed to understand was Geum Jan-di’s childish demeanour. Ku Hye-sun (Geum Jan Di) seems like a good actress but why was she walking and talking like a kid. Geum Jan Di is supposed to be spunky, not childish. I have watched the Japanese and Taiwanese adaptations of the story but neither of the actresses acts childish like Jan Di. In fact, they are rather very feisty and gutsy girls, unlike the overly silly Jan Di.
The show beam balance has an equal number of good and bad weights and if you ask me despite all the bad weights I really enjoyed watching the show. I was thoroughly entertained. There was no dull moment for me throughout the series (The last two episodes were simply patience-testing not dull or boring!) Lee Min Ho may have been my motivation to watch the show but the show itself is strong enough to hold your interest. Lee Min Ho is just an added attraction 😉
I give the show 4 out of 5 rating. Boys Before Flowers may seem over the top but it’s not low on entertainment. It is for anybody who wants to watch some light-hearted romance.