WARM TALE, AS TOTALLY EXPECTED
After a public scuffle, K-Pop idol Choong Ui (Lee Hong Ki) gets sentenced to 300 hours of community service at a hospice for terminally ill patients. Though he tries to lie down on the job, Anna (Baek Jin Hee) keeps him in line. The hospice is filled with a cast of characters who drink, smoke and even heads out to nightclubs. One day, he discovers the hospice’s house band, Phoenix. When the hospice’s funds run out, the band decides to enter a band competition but they need Choong Ui’s help as a skilled musician to win the prize money for the hospice.
Lee Hong Ki – JUMP
Warm Farewell (with the English title being Rockin’ on Heaven’s Door) is a heartwarming movie with a cast of character actors who are wonderful, enlightening and funny in their own right.
I have a soft spot when it comes to Baek Jin Hee because I think she can be funny in a frantic sort of way but I also enjoy her subdued performances as well. Here, she plays a thoughtful and warm character but doesn’t see eye to eye when it comes to the rich, spoiled Choong Ui. Though they butt heads, she and the other hospice patients open up Choong Ui’s heart.
This is my first time watching Lee Hong Ki acting and I think he does pretty decently as Choong Ui. There’s a dichotomy to his character. On the one side, he’s a cold, unfeeling celebrity and on the other side, he’s a hurt, immature boy. Unfortunately, the writer doesn’t do anything unique with his character that audiences haven’t seen before.
I feel that it’s safe to say that we’re in an age when a lot of dramas and movies mostly comes off as being predictable. Audiences are smart to pick up on subtle cues that the writer leaves like a trail of cookie crumbs leading to the conclusion. Despite that, the movie can provide its own variation of the banal with a moving performance or with a small plot twist that doesn’t complete change the ending but provides interesting insight.
I think the only twist I wasn’t expecting with this movie was that there was no twist at all. Choong Ui’s character develops exactly how you expect it would develop. Even his backstory was banal and uninteresting.
With the short running time, there was no time delve into the layers of the character actors such as Moo Sung (Ma Dong Seok) the gangster, Bong Shik (Im Won Hee) the karaoke competitor or Ha Eun (Jeon Min Seo) the kid photographer. Nor do we really learn much about Anna’s character either. To be honest, I didn’t really need to delve into their characters but their performances was so much more interesting that Lee Hong Ki’s.
There were a few plot points and brief moments in the movie which I did really enjoy. Him Chan’s Mom (Shim Yi Young) spends her days at the hospice writing and illustrating a children’s book for her son (No Kang Min) so he wouldn’t feel lonely from losing his mother at an early age. I loved when Choong Ui shares his traumatic backstory and the loneliness that stemmed from it which continues to haunt him. The other moment is the ending scene with the photo montage which brings a nice closure to the movie.
As a whole, the movie was enjoyable. It had its sweet and funny moments. However watching this felt like if you’ve watched one movie about terminally ill patients, you’ve seen them all. From the ethereal cinematography, to the storyline, to even the soundtrack, there really is nothing very unique about the movie.