Former acclaimed dancer Na Young-sae (Park Keon-Hyeong) attempts to make a comeback after his opponent, Hyun-soo (Yoon Chan), purposely injures him at a dance competition. At the suggestion... See full summary »
Former acclaimed dancer Na Young-sae (Park Keon-Hyeong) attempts to make a comeback after his opponent, Hyun-soo (Yoon Chan), purposely injures him at a dance competition. At the suggestion of dance studio manager Ma Sang-doo (Park Won-sang), Young-sae then brings to Korea Jang Chae-rin (Moon Geun-Young), an ethnic Korean from China whom he presumes is a renowned, talented dancer. To his surprise, Young-sae learns Chae-rin knows nothing about dancing and her soon-to-be married older sister, Chae-min, is the talented dancer. With only three months until the national dance championship, Young-sae trains Chae-rin, vowing to turn turn her a world-class dancer. Written by
Na Young-sae was once touted as the best dance trainer in Korea, and was in contention for another trophy during the national dance competition, until dirty underhand tactics by rivals ruined it all for him. Seeking a comeback, his manager and him hatched a plan to import a foreign talent from China, Jang Chae-rin, to partner with him and reclaim his spot at the top.
Alas, Chae-rin turns out to be the inexperienced teenage sister of the real mccoy, and Young-sae goes into a frenzy as the championships is only 3 months away. Reluctantly, and realizing the lack of time, Young-sae has no choice but to make do with what he has, and put his training skills to the test in turning a rookie into a professional ballroom dancer.
The storyline sounds familiar, like Dirty Dancing's, exploring the situational device of having a teacher and his protégé go through their lives together experiencing new found relationships through the language of dance. They start off awkwardly, and most of the time the plot focuses on the rigorous training in which Young-sae puts Chae-rin through. There is an unnecessary subplot though, of the marriage investigators who probe into the fake marriage between Young-sae and Chae-rin (that's the rouse used to get her to Korea), just to add to some laughs.
Dance has always been associated with passion, feelings and love. This movie doesn't stray from these themes, and the main leads heat up the screen with their sensual dance moves, albeit too little screen time. Just when you thought it's time for them to take on the championships and arch-rivals, the plot takes a twist, which I thought was probably an attempt to avoid being predictable.
Ladies might want to prepare your hankies for the emotional scene towards the end, where Young-sae and Chae-rin declares their love for each other indirectly at the marriage bureau. Extremely touching that, especially when you think back on their attempts to fabricate a fictional story on their relationship, which has taken on for real.
It is of course helpful that the two leads are eye candy. Park Keon-hyeong as Young-sae seemed to have the easier role of the mentor, snarling most of the time with a diva-ish, yet tender attitude towards his protégé. Mun Guen-yeong has the tougher role to flesh, transforming herself from simple naive girl into chic professional dancer, with a heart pining for Young-sae. The chemistry between the two is superb, and their dances together once they got their groove right, just magical.
Which of course brings me to my main gripe - I want more! But the attempt to make the story unconventional turned my request down, although the end credits featured a clip of them dancing, serving as some kind of compensation for the lack of dancing screen time. It's not the partner, but the partnership that mattered, said Young-sae. It rocked, and left me wanting more! Some might find it "been-there-done-that", but I recommend this for those who which to get jiggy with it on the dance floor. I found myself tapping to the soundtrack as we get whirled around the ballroom, and I'm sure ballroom dance lovers, or romantics at heart, will do the same too.
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