Hot Young Bloods is a 2014 South Korean teen romantic comedy film that depicts the loves, rivalries, and friendships between four high school students in Hongseong County, South Chungcheong Province in the 1980s.
I wanted to watch this because of Lee Jong Suk (& Park Bo Young), but just to be safe, I went to read up some of the other reviews about this movie just in case I waste 2 hours of my life on a horrid show.
The premise of this movie reminded me of similar ‘teenage’ shows that have been popping up of late – think Reply 1988, and Our Times.
3rd instalment of the Reply series
probably made many remember their love for andy lau
Most people would be tired of this genre by now, and I was frankly lost quite a bit of interest in the typical campus story plot as well. The only thing that really motivated me to watch Hot Young Bloods was the fact that Park Bo Young was acting as as gang leader, and Lee Jong Suk the wimpy guy who avoided her at all costs because he was afraid of her. How often do you get quirky storylines like these? It’s as though their usual on-screen roles have been reversed, when PBY looks like she should be the kind and innocent girl (as per her role in Werewolf Boy) and LJS the tough gangster boy (as per role in School 2013, Doctor Stranger).
Quirky characters & great casting – Every character in the movie was clearly written for a purpose, even the random student who keeps running around campus. I liked how the characters were fleshed out well, and had their own unique personalities. My favourite are no doubt the leads themselves, Joong-gil (LJS) and Young-sook (PBY). I wasn’t used to seeing LJS on the big screen because I’m so used to seeing him in idol dramas and the only movie of his that I’ve watched is No Breathing (which was honestly forgettable, and should be forgotten). PBY, on the other hand, had a stellar performance in Werewolf Boy, and thankfully their interactions on screen were as good as it needed to be. I loved PBY’s portrayal of Young-sook – tough, but not dramatically badass, and deep down inside a sentimental softie. On the other hand, LJS had no problem acting as a playboy for Joong-gil, and it felt almost like a fit for his real-life personality.
Young-sook confronting Joong-gil
the epic failure of a playboy
Nostalgia – Ah, nostalgia. I think of this as a double-edged sword in a time where we tend to see the past in rose-tinted glasses. Thankfully, Hot Young Bloods gave none of that ‘the past was so much better’ stuff, and there wasn’t really much emphasis on bringing back the viewers’ memories of their past unlike other shows. It would probably make some viewers remember the petty squabbles and childish schoolmates they once had, but the bittersweet-ness of these characters’ lives will make you focus instead on the problems they have on hand, and therefore feel deeply for them.
Uneven speed – I’m not sure if it was because Hot Young Bloods is a movie set in the past, but sometimes the story took really long to progress (this movie is about 2 hours long, for reference). I felt that some parts could have gone a lot faster, and others given a bit more time to linger on, but maybe it’s just a subjective feeling.
Happy ending? – If you were rooting for our two main leads to reunite after having separated, the movie serves it up just as expected. Although I appreciated it, it felt like there were too many loose ends that could have been tied up. It’s most likely because Hot Young Bloods is a movie, and tends to leave more to the imagination than your average cable drama, but it felt slightly strange to see this resolution. It even felt a little strange to see Joong-gil suddenly realize his feelings for Young-sook – the scene looked a bit sudden and a tad hard to believe, thus made the ending a little unconvincing and a lot less emotional than it should have been.
yes, the playboy comes to his senses
I hardly heard about this movie anywhere, be it print or online. I would say that it is underrated and went under the radar, picked up only by the sharpest of fans.
If you want to see LJS and PBY acting in the same production (which I have to admit works pretty well because their chemistry grows on you), this is the one you have to watch. LJS, as usual, makes you want to pat his head sometimes and slap him at others, while PBY puts a small smile on your face as you see how she is about as tough as a marshmallow with LJS.
However, I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re looking for a lot of action and romance. Not that the movie doesn’t tick those boxes, but it wasn’t made with that intention in mind, so don’t watch this movie actively looking out for those elements.
As the movie title implies, just sit back and enjoy 2 hours of the cast figuring out what to do in a time where they have hot young blood pulsing through them.