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Love 911 - Movie Poster
Original Title:

South Korea 2012

Romance, Comedy

Jeong Gi-hoon

Ko Soo
Han Hyo-joo
Ma Dong-seok
Kim Seong-oh
Hyeon Junie
Jin Seo-yeon
Oh Soo-min

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Love 911

Story: Physician Mi-soo (Han Hyo-joo) makes a wrong diagnosis and sends a patient back home. Shortly after that the patient falls into a coma. The patient's husband now wants to sue Mi-soo and so she is temporarily suspended. In order to take away any ground from the lawsuit Mi-soo wants to persuade the firefighter Kang-il (Ko Soo) to sue the patient's husband because of physical assault as the man attacked the firefighter in a state of emotional instability. Kang-il, who lost his wife himself and since that day takes any possibly life-threatening risk at work understands the man's feelings, though, and doesn't even think of sueing him. However, for Mi-soo nothing has been decided yet. She signs with Kang-il's team as a volunteer and even helps fighting fires, determined to seduce the man that way. But Kang-il is well aware of what her advances at him aim at and moreover it seems that he isn't interested in her. Yet, Mi-soo is very tenacious and as days pass manages that Kang-il comes out of his shell more and more. It will soon show whether the relationship is just built on lies or not...

Review: Well, what should I say? A heartwarming love story with an unlikely couple and the guy is even a firefighter? With such a premise the movie will already have won over the majority of the female audience! Bad luck for director Jeong Gi-hoon that I belong to the male fraction and therefore will take a more critical look on this movie. Doing so there is, suprisingly, a lot of positive stuff standing out, but on the other hand there is also a lot that's predictable and clichéloaden. Being a fastidious critic you will thus be torn between those two opposite sides. Luckily, the movie remains true to the genre, though, and doesn't suddenly turn into a tearjerker. Nowadays, you almost have to think very highly of a movie for this alone.

Love 911 - Film Screenshot 11

In its core the movie is a romantic comedy, but there are also a few small drama elements. But as already said they are located within a framework that doesn't work against the film's actual tone. In fact those moments are even necessary to draw the not that cozy moments that naturally come with every relationship. Especially since Kang-il brings a lot of baggage with him, still hanging onto his deceased wife, the relationship seems to be without any future. Furthermore, things even start out completely wrong. Mi-soo actually simply wants to seduce the firefighter in order to keep her job. Because of some chance happenings - a more critical individual surely would rather use the word "unbelievable" - she eventually manages to win over Kang-il.

Love 911 - Film Screenshot 12

Still, at first Mi-soo is everything but likeable. Because of her a woman is dying, which considering her profession is something that occasionaly just happens. After all, doctors are also just humans and make mistakes like everyone else, something you will easily understand. But the way she deals with this, which is discrediting the other party by dishonest means, makes her fall from grace with the viewer. Of course this picture changes throughout the film and she learns to take responsibilty. In fact, acting this way even makes her human. Han Hyo-joo ("Cold Eyes", "Always") convinces in her role and shares a good on-screen chemistry with Ko Soo ("The Front Line", "Haunters"). With movies like "Love 911" that's the actual important factor making a romance flick work out or not.

Ko Soo plays a firefighter, which means that sometimes he is a bit dirty and sweaty. Thus, he is already well enough elaborated for female audiences. But he also has some more profound character traits. His initial emotional coldness and his lacking wish to live, which is his fuel for numerous heroic acts, is the result of his past. What's laudable here is that the story revolving around his wife is only hinted at and correspondingly isn't exploited in unnecessary detail for more drama. The fact that Mi-soo often loses consciousness also makes you guess that a tearjerker may be hiding here after all, but - that much can be spoiled - you shouldn't worry too much about this. Yes, these days a happy ending in a Korean romance flick may even be considered unexpected. But even if there isn't any deathly illness, Kang-il lives a dangerous life as a firefighter and apart from that the relationship is sometimes standing on shaky ground, too.

Love 911 - Film Screenshot 13

However, the movie and particularly the joyful atmosphere are also carried by the supporting cast of which once again Ma Dong-seok ("The Five") stands out the most. When it comes to humor there are in fact some outstanding moments, yet there are also some scenes that seem rather odd. Anyway, the team of firefighters looks like a big family and you instantly feel at home with them. Next to the humor the film also shifts to a more serious tone at times and centers around difficult decisions that need to be made. Despite predictable firefighting operations that are supposed to bring some drama into the movie "Love 911" stays true to its tone. If the relationship wouldn't develop too sudden sometimes and if it weren't for a rather cheesy ending, because of a pop ballad that finds its way into the movie, a better rating would have been possible. But since I already turned a blind eye to some aspects of director Jeong Gi-hoon's debut work "Goodbye Mom" I will stand firm this time. Still, nowadays you won't get that much neat stuff in this genre. At least to female audiences I can easily recommend "Love 911".

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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