The storyline of the South Korean musical romantic comedy Killing Romance is so bonkers and so all over the place that it is almost too longwinded and convoluted to explain. However, seeing everything laid out in front of you will at least let you know what you’re in for.
Hwang Yeo-rae (Lee Hanee) is an actress turned entertainment superstar. She sets a world record for drinking a ton of soda and is featured, in what seems like a never ending string of commercials and movies afterwards because of her fanbase. After spending 11 years on the entertainment circuit, and her most recent film being poorly received, Yeo-rae decides to take a break from acting in Seoul and goes on a vacation on the tropical Qualla Island.
On Qualla Island, Yeo-rae meets Jonathan Na (Lee Sun-kyun), a real estate developer who is also an environmentalist, animal rights activist, and totally rich. The two marry and after seven years the couple returns to Seoul. They move next to Kim Beom-woo (Gong Myoung), a Yeo-rae superfan who has had an extra four years of college prep (which allows him to talk to animals) as he keeps failing the entrance exam to Seoul University.
Because of Jonathan’s self-obsession and incredibly controlling nature, Yeo-rae has grown to hate him to the point of plotting her husband’s death. Yeo-rae eventually bonds with Beom-woo over the student’s own obsession with he career — uniting to try and kill Jonathan. As you can imagine, Beom-woo is about as good of an assassin as he is an (almost) college student.
Whatever the most absurd comedy film you’ve ever seen will probably be outdone by Killing Romance. This is the type of film that throws everything at the wall and is already throwing another heaping pile of spontaneity; all of it before seeing whether it sticks or not. Describing the use of CGI alone will raise a few eyebrows. Visual effects in the film include a computer generated shoe flying through the air, a can of tea that uses its straw as a helicopter propeller that also soars through the air, and an ostrich that can actually fly.
What’s even stranger is that the entire film is narrated by some old lady on a bus. Killing Romance is episode thirteen of Debbie’s Reading Bus as this old woman in glasses that speaks English pops up from time to time — making it feel even more random than it sounds.
Most of the humor in the film falls on the shoulders of Lee Sun-kyun — more specifically, Jonathan’s character. He acts like he’s the king of douchebags — an overwhelmingly vain piece of work — but he’s also hilarious akin to a live-action version of Kuzco from The Emperor’s New Groove. With a plethora of fake mustaches and portraits that depict him naked and extremely ripped, Jonathan is gloriously full of himself. You’ll be addicted to saying his catchphrase, “It’s goooooooood!” Lee Sun-kyun looks like he’s having the time of his life portraying Jonathan and it shows — his charisma is so undeniably palpable.
There’s also this strange musical aspect to Killing Romance that starts as bizarre and eventually wins you over. Yeo-rae’s fan club, which Beom-woo is a member of, has passionately created a theme song for her that they sing several times throughout the film. The finale is a legitimate karaoke battle on a shopping network and it is undoubtedly one of the most insane things you’ll see in a movie this year.
While the film may be about murdering a husband you can’t stand, it’s so silly and lighthearted that you can’t take it seriously. Killing Romance is dense with ridiculousness and overall randomness. The use of hard F-words would probably easily earn an R-rating, but the film is so outrageous that you kind of forget about it.
The way they try to kill Jonathan the first time is by inviting him to a public bathhouse to attempt getting the sweat record in a sauna. Because of his huge ego and highly competitive drive, Jonathan falls for it easily. When that doesn’t work, Yeo-rae and Beom-woo try to capitalize on his peanut allergy to even more unsuccessful results.
Killing Romance is so overflowing with preposterousness that it truly has to be seen to be believed. A verbatim description of the entire film would still leave you clueless as to what you’re in for until you saw it with your own eyes.
As far as musical romantic comedies go that revolve around murder and ostriches, Killing Romance is the craziest and nonsensically brilliant as they come.
- Jonathan is hilarious.
- It’s one of the craziest and silliest films you will ever see.
- The music is way too catchy for its own good.
- Its random and fast-paced storytelling will take multiple viewings to comprehend.