Showing posts with label Reborn Rich (Kdrama) 4.4 || 4.5. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reborn Rich (Kdrama) 4.4 || 4.5. Show all posts

13 March 2023

Reborn Rich (2022) 4.4 || 4.5

We were thrilled when we heard that Song Joong Ki (who is part of my list) and Shin Hyun Been were teaming up for a drama. Although we doubted the storyline (we're not reincarnation fans), we were surprised to find the story very compelling. It also helped that the drama had great actors. 


Reborn Rich tells the story of Yoon Hyun Woo (Song Joong Ki), a manager working for Soonyang Group, a huge family conglomerate. While the company was under investigation for unlawful succession, Hyun Woo discovered a paper company that Soonyang's founder, Chairman Jin Yang Chul (Lee Sung Min), created as his slush fund. Current Vice Chairman Jin Seong Jun (Kim Nam Hee) ordered Hyun Woo to retrieve the slush fund overseas. However, after Hyun Woo successfully withdraws the money, he was abducted and shot. Hyun Woo wakes up several decades earlier. This time as the youngest grandson of Chairman Jin, Jin Do Jun. The story takes us through how Do Jun plans his revenge to find out who killed him, to correct the wrongs that Soonyang has committed, to understand why he had to be reborn as Do Jun, and to fully embrace his mission as Do Jun/Hyun Woo. The drama inserts interesting tidbits of Korean history and mergers and acquisitions storylines, specifically in a family conglomerate setup. 

Song Joong Ki as Hyun Woo/Do Jun

After seeing the pilot episode, I felt that this show had Vincenzo feels - with the chase and action scenes and the family feud. I was also thinking this might be the first time I'd watch Song Joong Ki in a not so confident and elegant role. I was definitely not used to seeing him abused and submissive. But of course things changed in the succeeding episodes. And Song Joong Ki was definitely back to his comfort zone. 

Before I continue with my praises for Song Joong Ki, I'd like to say that the actor who played his younger version (Kim Kang Hoon of Miracle: Letters to the President, Exit, Start-Up, Hotel Del Luna, Romance is a Bonus Book, and Mr. Sunshine) was really, really good. I loved his scenes with grandpa and how he never backed down even if his family was treated like an outcast. One of my favorite scenes was when he visited his original family and he broke down in the car because he was so grateful that original mom (Seo Jeong Yeon of Juror 8, The Interest of Love, Forecasting Love and Weather, Our Beloved Summer, Nevertheless, Run On, One Spring Night, Something in the Rain, Descendants of the Sun, and She Was Pretty) was still alive. It was unfortunate that he was only around for an episode. I'm sure a bright future awaits this young man. 

Going back to Song Joong Ki, I was beginning to think that this oppa might already be aging. Which is not really surprising since we're all getting old anyway. But he somehow still managed to pull off that college student look. It was so amazing that Oppa wonders if filters or CGI was used. 

Hyun Woo/Do Jun had a lot of meaningful relationships in the show, some of which I'll discuss later. But one of the relationships I enjoyed the most, despite them being shown together very briefly, was with his younger brother (Baro of Reply 1994 and Angry Mom). I loved how Hyun Woo doted on him and always treated him with affection no matter how horrible his life was. And they could really pass off as siblings. 

Song Joong Ki is just so great in picking his dramas (Vincenzo and Descendants of the Sun). The characters are always perfect for him. This time, he was great as the submissive Hyun Woo and as the confident, assertive, and always out to get you Do Jun. I loved how Do Jun smirked at his elders while still maintaining some semblance of humility and respect. It just doesn't bode well for others when he gets that smug look on his face because you'll realize he's up to something really good for him (and very bad for you). 

With his marriage and the birth of his child, I hope Song Joong Ki would still find time to do some dramas because his shows are definitely always worth watching. 

Lee Sung Min as Chairman Jin

We've always known that Lee Sung Min is a great actor after seeing him in Misaeng, Miracle: Letters to the President, and The Man Standing Next. But what impressed me the most was his transformation from his pitiful pushover character in Misaeng to a scary, domineering, and manipulative chairman of a conglomerate family. 

I loved Chairman Jin's bond with his ever loyal secretary, Mr. Lee (Jung Hee Tae of Mr. Sunshine and Misaeng). It was evident that outside Do Jun, Mr. Lee was probably the one who cared the most for Chairman Jin. He treated him better than his own sons. Of course there's that incident during the stockholders' meeting where Mr. Lee betrayed Do Jun, leading the stockholders to suspect him of killing grandpa. And while it might have been understandable under the circumstances that he just wanted to have someone more powerful to rely on, I choose to believe that even that part was planned to push Do Jun to understand why grandpa left nothing for him in his will. 

But of course, the most special among Chairman Jin's relationships was that with Do Jun. Yes, it was easy for Do Jun to win him over because the young boy had the unfair advantage of knowing what's to come so he was able to give expert advice to grandpa. But as the show progressed, it became evident that more than the information Do Jun provided, the latter rightfully deserved the love and respect grandpa had for him because among all of the members in their family, it was Do Jun who sincerely cared for grandpa. And that's the reason why their relationship became stronger after the accident they went through together.

Yes, grandpa was not perfect. He was as evil as any K drama conglomerate patriarch can get. But he had his good side too. And I really wished he lived long enough to mentor Do Jun and to see how far Do Jun can take Soonyang. 

It was heartbreaking to see grandpa weak, scared, and helpless. And it was horrible that his own family wanted to exploit his illness to take over the company. In the end, it was Do Jun who protected grandpa when his delirium kicked in and against grandma (Kim Hyun of Tune in for Love, Hometown Cha Cha Cha, Hospital Playlist 2, and Mr. Sunshine). My favorite would have to be that scene in the elevator where grandpa could not hold his pee and Do Jun had to make a scene by kicking a bucket full of water to hide grandpa's accident. 

Grandpa's death was even sadder because Do Jun was unable to share that special moment with him about the success of the Apollo car. 

Just like Song Joong Ki, Lee Sung Min seems to have a knack for picking good dramas. And it was really a joy to see the two of them together in a show. 

Shin Hyun Been as Prosecutor Seo Min Young

This is our first Shin Hyun Been drama outside of Hospital Playlist 1 and 2 (and her cameo in Confidential Assignment). So I wasn't really sure if I could enjoy seeing her in a non-hospital setting. After watching the pilot episode, where the fierce Prosecutor Seo Min Young was out to get Soonyang, I found myself thinking that I actually prefer Shin Hyun Been in a meeker role like in Hospital Playlist. 

But as the show went back to the past, I found myself loving Min Young more and more. She was definitely better in the university setting. And I loved how Min Young and Do Jun's relationship, both professionally and romantically, was evolving. I definitely loved that first kiss when Seo Tai Ji finally made his come back. 

I also loved how Do Jun and Min Young trusted each other so much and how they were confident in each other's good hearts that all the scandals they were embroiled in never really ruined their relationship. I loved that scene where Min Young waited for Do Jun in the parking lot, sleeping in her car in the process, just to let him know that he's been cleared of the stock manipulation charge. 

And I loved how greatly Do Jun relied on Min Young. Sure, he was rich and powerful. But during his moments of weakness, he knew he could always run to Min Young and she will always be there to listen to and comfort him. I loved that scene where he just hugged her after the accident. 

They're a perfect match for each other too. Min Young sees things in black and white, while Do Jun thinks out of the box. And they balance each other out when they go to the extremes. 

Here's one more thing I like about the more recent Song Joong Ki dramas (this and Vincenzo). There will always be love storylines. But they will never be the central part of the story. They exist to make us feel giddy but they show us that it's possible to have a successful drama without focusing too much on the love story. 

In the end, I fully understood why Shin Hyun Been had to be unlikeable in the beginning. She was still grieving over the death of her fiance Do Jun from 20 years ago. And when she finally got her closure from that incident, she transformed into someone more pleasant and lovable. 

I pray for more Shin Hyun Been dramas in the future because she's definitely a joy to watch. 

Jin Family

Almost everyone in the family acted really well. I was ready to love grandma because she seemed to genuinely care for Do Jun's family. And she tried her best to keep her family in order despite having a difficult husband. But then she turned out to be fake and worse than all of them. 

Seong Jun as the eldest grandson was really good. He could trick you with his innocent smile but he would really scare you once he starts a tantrum. I didn't recognize him from Mr. Sunshine (and his cameos on Twenty-Five Twenty-One and Guardian) right away. Seong Jun's wife (Park Ji Hyun) was great as well, especially in confusing me on whose side she was on. Seong Jun's mom (Kim Jung Nan of What Happens to My Family, Sky Castle, Crash Landing on You, and Snowdrop) did well in stirring conflict in the family too. Unfortunately, I can't say the same about Seong Jun's dad (Yoon Je Moon of The Last Princess), who seemed to be the weakest link both in the family and in the show. 

Second son Dong Ki (Jo Han Chul of Juror 8, Hometown Cha Cha Cha, Jirisan, Vincenzo, Romance is a Bonus Book, and The Producers) was also great. Being the middle child and an unlikely successor, Dong Ki worked really hard to prove his worth to his father - even if it meant taking shortcuts that could ruin him more in the end. His wife (Seo Jae Hee of Twenty-Five Twenty-One, Nevertheless, and Run On) and daughter (Jo Hye Joo of The Man Standing Next) delivered solid performances as well. 

The most colorful Soonyang family child would have to be the only daughter Hwa Young (Kim Shin Rok) who thinks she can always have her way and that everyone is at her beck and call, including her husband former prosecutor then Seoul Mayor then Justice Minister then assemblyman Choi Chang Je (Kim Do Hyun of Hot Stove League and Guardian). This couple was probably the best actors in the family. 

Especially if you compare them to the boring outcast family of Do Jun - with pushover dad (Kim Young Jae of You are the Best), very pretty but meh mom (Jung Hye Young of Snowdrop), and probably the only interesting member of the family, older brother Hyung Jun (Kang Ki Doong of Our Beloved Summer, Romance is a Bonus Book, Prison Playbook, and Fight for My Way). 

Miracle Investment

Another character that made the show interesting was Oh Se Hyeon / Mason Oh (Park Hyuk Kwon of A Taxi Driver, Law School, Something in the Rain, The Producers, and Dream High). I loved the wide range of emotions Park Hyuk Kwon delivered as Mr. Oh - he could be funny, very professional, powerful,  scheming, brutally frank, etc. And it's hard to tell if he's serious or not because he always keeps that poker face. But one thing's for sure - I super loved his relationship with Do Jun - how he trusted him wholeheartedly even if the things he wanted to do didn't make sense a lot of times. 

Yes, Tiffany (The Producers) was in this show but most of the time her presence felt like a mere decoration right next to Do Jun and Mr. Oh. 


If you're not a fan of classic soap operas from the olden days, then you might have a hard time loving this show right away. It didn't help that the show's pilot episode bombards us with the members of the huge Soonyang family that we are not familiar with. Yes, it was quite difficult to follow who's who. But it definitely gets better so it's worth the wait. 

The premise of being reborn to the family that abused and killed you might turn off some people. I had my doubts as well. But the show somehow found a way to make this angle interesting. 

Chairman Jin's story is your typical rags to riches one - a patriarch who worked his way to the top with his own blood, sweat, and tears, that he hangs on to his roots, like how grandpa still cherishes and keeps his old delivery truck. He never forgets where he came from and he makes sure that that legacy is protected at all costs. Like that scene where they would rather let their race car driver risk his life in continuing the race rather than withdrawing because it would cast doubt on the quality of their car. 

I liked how the show emphasized that no matter how rich a family is, all members still long for acceptance and validation. They still yearn for that emotional connection. Like Seong Jun's dad tearing up when Chairman Jin asked that a new soup be served for him because he couldn't stop bragging about his acquisition of Hando Steel. It was like a silent validation of his accomplishment. 

Initially, I was concerned about how Do Jun could pull off/hide his ability to read the future. Fortunately, his character was very smart that people simply thought he always made wise decisions. It was just a sad realization for Do Jun that despite knowing what will happen next, he still could not change everything. Some things are just really bound to happen. So even if he fought hard for Soonyang to acquire the company his original dad worked for and he purchased the building with his family's restaurant, his mom still died. 

One thing that worked well for the show was how it realistically integrated bits of world and Korean histories into the story - Titanic, Amazon, the IMF crisis, 9/11, etc. And I loved the twists the drama used to work around these real-life events - like the credit card crash and the World Cup. 

I also liked how the show inserted the social justice angle of going after corrupt conglomerates. Sure, it was farcical because the one exposing it was an in-law of the family and the one who stood to benefit from it was also a member of the family. But of course, there was that little hope in you that Do Jun would do things differently. 

I loved how Do Jun revealed his identity early on as the person behind Miracle. At least he played fair. And it paved the way for grandpa to finally acknowledge his skills. And things really got more interesting after this happened. 

The battle lines became clearer especially with the DMC project. Seong Jun's wife who had an eye for talent and offered to help him with DMC deserved that rejection from Do Jun who knew that she was just out to get a puppet. And that incident sealed Do Jun's feeling for Min Young. 

Do Jun's parents vowed to help him, with mom's only concern being Do Jun's safety. It was nice to see dad flex his muscles a bit like when he didn't allow their other family members to visit Chairman Jin in the hospital when they thought he was in coma. 

And how Do Jun revealing his identity paved the way for the succession war to begin. I liked how the show initially focused on the archaic concept of primogeniture. I totally found it absurd that they'd treat themselves like royalty. And I loved how Do Jun's skills finally made Chairman Jin realize that succession should be merit-based. And how dramatic that he announced abandoning the primogeniture rule during Seong Jun's wedding when the latter was obviously one of those working so hard to take control of Soonyang. 

And how timely for Do Jun to ditch his plan of acquiring Soonyang with his own money and instead getting it by putting everyone at his mercy. (I super loved the mergers and acquisitions lessons the show gave us.) It was so crazy how he tricked his aunt into buying New Data shares that led her to turn over her department store shares to Do Jun. It was a fitting revenge after she humiliated Do Jun's mom. 

Then he went on to bait Dong Ki to copy Miracle's investment pattern, only to sell his investments to avoid the 9/11 losses, which he used to take over Soonyang Investment. 

I found it intriguing that the show presented us with two concepts of greed. The blind greed that the rest of the family displayed - going as far as killing each other to get what they want. That desire to have things handed to them on a silver platter without having to work hard for it. 

Then you have the kind of greed that Do Jun had. Making sure he still worked within legal means. Never hurting anyone physically. Greed to excel and be on top but still keeping his core values intact. That greed with a cause/purpose. Where he still works hard for things. And how he's greedy for those things he worked hard for that he rightfully deserves. Realizing this probably made it easier for grandpa to find his successor. 

I loved how the show kept on inserting shocking plot twists. Like how grandma ordered the killing of grandpa and Do Jun. Yes, she's endured so much like welcoming Do Jun's dad who was born from another mother and she understandably wanted to protect her kids. But it was still so evil to have her husband killed. And I liked how Do Jun pushed her to the wall that made her give up her Soonyang shares to him in exchange for fleeing the country. 

And I also liked how Seong Jun's wife seemed to be silently helping Do Jun like how she led him to find grandma's secret gallery. 

Then grandpa surprises us by not giving anything to Do Jun in his will. And how Do Jun's dad showed his true colors by pushing Do Jun to fight for his right over the company. 

Things were not the same without grandpa. It was so heartbreaking to watch that video where grandpa said Do Jun was the grandson who took after him the most. I'm pretty sure Do Jun couldn't care less if he got nothing. They could all kill each other trying to take over Soonyang but he would always be grandpa's favorite. But on the flip side, I guess that also pushed Do Jun more to protect Soonyang. Song Joong Ki was spectacular during his breakdown scene. 

It was crazy to see Do Jun pit his uncles and auntie against each other. Making all of them think that they were inching closer to getting Soonyang only to reveal in the end that he was getting it all actually. And how he got his family investigated that finally led him to taking over Soonyang. That scene before he died when he visited the Soonyang Museum was bittersweet - he spoke to grandpa's photo telling him he was not sure if he got his revenge or if he was finally grandpa's grandson but one thing's for sure - he missed grandpa. 

I loved how Min Young trusted that Do Jun won't be involved in political funding because he's too smart for that. And how Do Jun romantically turned that trust into a proposal. 

It felt ominous when grandpa left Do Jun the Soonyang Micro slush fund. Because that was what killed him in the first place. And true enough, that's what killed him again. I also wondered if grandpa trusted Mr. Lee that much. What if Mr. Lee handed it over to Seong Jun or worse, if he kept it for himself. But then again, grandpa and Mr. Lee might have planned everything all along to help Do Jun realize what he needed to do to protect Soonyang. 

I admit that I was shocked and quite disappointed when Joong Ki woke up as Hyun Woo in the final episode. Was everything a dream??? I doubted if the show could properly connect the two stories. But surprisingly, the show did it somehow. 

And in the end, I guess it should not really matter because the Jin family's crimes were exposed - Seong Jun's dad killing Do Jun and Seong Jun ordering the hit on Hyun woo. And the family was finally forced to give up their management rights over Soonyang. Sure they still had shares and ownership of the company but baby steps are fine. I'm sure Hyun Woo and Mr. Oh have something up their sleeves. It was nice to see the two reconnect with Hyun Woo joining Miracle this time. 

And of course, I loved that little sliver of hope the show gave us about what awaits Hyun Woo and Min Young in the future. How Min Young is now wearing brighter colors because her mission as Soonyang's grim reaper (as revenge for killing her fiance) has been accomplished. And while Hyun Woo probably won't meet the society's standard for Min Young, I'm confident that he'll get there with the help of Mr. Oh and Miracle. 

And I liked how the show went full circle and hopefully that repentance would be enough for the crime that Hyun Woo helped commit unknowingly. 

Yes, the show has a slow start but it manages to progress into a very compelling story that never runs out of surprises and plot twists. 

Oppa says...4.4.

Noona says...4.5.