When a Man Loves a Woman and Other Gangster Musings

WMLW Poster 1

Pretty, but unhappy people ruled by ruthless invisible kdrama gods.

When a Man Loves a Woman is a shameless romance masquerading as a gangster melodrama. I love it in all it’s cheesyness.

I want love onscreen people! It’s springtime which means time for romance! WMLW is fulfilling my desire.

I am shamelessly shipping the main couple. I just want them to get together already and I’m on episode 2! They are so cute and have good chemistry. I can already feel that I will become very protective of them as a couple. (Please kdrama gods, don’t make them go through too much pain). I like our heroine Seo Mi Do. She’s kinda got a temper, she’s full of pride, and loves her family. She’s not some wilting flower and I like how Shin Se Kyung plays her. You can really see the bullied fighting spirit Mi Do has inside her that Han Tae Sang saw which reminded him of himself…and thus began his obsession with her…hahaha. And yes, it is an obsession from the very beginning, my favorite kind really. Why even pretend this whole show is not about these two people getting together?

Song Seung Heon is hot as usual and his acting is pretty good. I’ve only watched him in My Princess and I don’t remember him being that bad in it either. I stayed away from Dr. Jin… I know the joke is that Song Seung Heon is not a good actor, but he is carrying the lead well in WMLW and plays Tae Sang with a lovelorn-lifelorn charm that is hard to resist when it’s coming from such a good looking guy. He makes you want to root for Tae Sang (even though Tae Sang was frightening at first) and that is a critical desire for our hero to find within the audience.

Song Seung Heon reminds me of Keanu Reeves; both can play being in love well, they are both hot, and get criticized for their acting, but yet have pretty good careers (Keanu Reeves has an excellent career to say the least). And Tae Sang reminds me of one of my all-time favorite kdrama heros and gangsters-with-a-golden-heart, Ki Ho Tae from Kimchi Family. Unsurprisingly, they are both characters who are looking for their mothers and who fell into the gangster world against their will and yet seem to not completely lose their moral compass because of it. Gangsters in kdramas seem to always be men with no parents, we saw this with Oh Soo most recently in That Winter the Wind Blows.

In kdramas the first step to going astray in life is having no parents, or more specifically being abandoned by your parents.

WMLW gives me such Lovers vibes. I have this odd thing for gangster kdramas since watching the nonsensical, but addictive mess that was Lovers. I’m fascinated by the portrayal of these gangsters as people with the same hopes, fears, and ambitions as law abiding citizens. Like Tae San’s friend Lee Chang Hee will just go berserk scaring the crap out of people and even commit the grimmest crime, but then go home and cry over dinner with his brother who he seems to love more than life. I’m not so prejudiced as to think criminals are somehow intrinsically different than law abiding people, but some people do bad things and they like doing it too. This isn’t the case for most of these gangsters though.

I like that WMLW has a classic kdrama feel to it. It’s not a cinematic or literary masterpiece, but it has this addictive quality. It has it’s fair share of tropes and is not particularly original, but it feels like it will be satisfying in just the right kdrama ways. It would make a very good marathon, but alas, I have to watch it live.

WMLW ftw!


This screenshot sums up when anyone is ever in the same frame as Song Seung Heon. <3 Funny even though it’s not suppose to be.


About Malta

I guess I'm a blogger now...


  1. ladida

    You’re back, horray! XD

  2. Yours is the second review I’ve read that made this sound like a fun (meaning cheesy and such — not, you know, comedic cuteness ;)) watch. If the trend continues I may well marathon this in the future.

    I’ve never seen SSH before — but Keanu Reeves has always been an actor that I’ve felt rose or fell depending on his director. Maybe SSH is the same way?

    • It is very cheesy, but entertaining that way. I’m enjoying it as a kdrama where I don’t have to think about the meaning of the world, or contemplate its cinematic beauty, or really think at all. I was joking with ladida that after watching episodes 3-4 that the show may have no plot other than what the title says, that there are these men who love these women…and all their love wires are crossed. But it’s still the setup stage of the drama. I am wondering what the major plot of the show will be other than getting the girl…if there is one.

      I’m on episode 4 and if I were the heroine, Seo Mi Do, I would already have shamelessly accepted the adoration of either the 1st lead male or the 2nd lead male. Those men are such romantics and then I think in true kdrama fashion, “does that make me easy?” Lol XD What can I say? The men are good looking and come with flowers…


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