Movie Review: A Look into One Step (2017) and Sandara’s Metamorphosis

From being a simple Korean girl who found fame in a foreign land to being one of today’s most popular Korean stars in her home country and across the globe, there is no denying that Sandara Park or Dara for short has already come a long way. So, to honor this Filipino-at-heart Korean superstar, let me feature here in K-Movie Corner her much anticipated Korean film debut called One Step.

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We all consider music as a sweet escape from reality, but what if it is actually the very thing you’d want to escape from? This is basically what One Step is all about. It follows the story of Si-hyun (Dara), who suffers from amnesia and colored hearing following a car accident. The first thing that came to my mind when I read about this is the girl in The Girl Who Sees Smells because she and Si-hyun both had the same fate—they got into car accidents, causing them to lose their memories and suffer from these rare conditions though different senses are involved. Colored hearing is a synaesthesia phenomenon where people automatically and unintentionally experience colors whenever they hear sounds, which is often distracting and causes dizziness especially to people who have suddenly developed this condition. Due to this, Si-hyun is left with no choice but to wear headphones most times of the day to prevent this condition from happening. Until one day, Si-hyun is forced to face music with the help of songwriter Ji-il (Han Jae-suk) in order for her to find a familiar melody with the hopes that this might lead her to the missing pieces of her past.

One Step’s interesting plot and promotion as the Korean movie adaptation of the hit Hollywood film Begin Again, which I honestly haven’t watched yet, got me very excited. But unfortunately, I found myself looking for something that seems lacking halfway into the movie. No, please don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bad film; it’s just that, if it would be compared to a tune, it sounded monotonous. Plus, Dara and Han Jae-suk fell a bit short in connection. Nevertheless, One Step was well received in South Korea and of course, in the Philippines where Filipino fans held numerous block screenings nationwide upon its release on May 10, 2017.

Also, this movie gave the Pambansang Krung-Krung ng Pilipinas (roughly translated in English as the National Crazy/Unique Girl of the Philippines) a very good opportunity to inch one step (pun intended) closer to becoming a bankable movie star.

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Dara with Hero Angeles in Can This Be Love’s official poster (top left); Dara in Super Noypi’s individual poster (center left); Dara with Joseph Bitangcol in D’ Lucky Ones (bottom left); Dara in character as April in Bcuz of U (right)

Fun fact: This Star Circle Quest alum had starred in four successful comedy movies in the Philippines before debuting as a member of the popular K-Pop girl group 2NE1 in South Korea. This includes her debut Pinoy film Bcuz of U (2004) opposite her love team and Star Circle Quest grand winner Hero Angeles, where she won the Best New Actress trophy at the 21st PMPC Star Awards for Movies. Due to the success Bcuz of U, Dara and Hero immediately starred in a follow-up movie called Can This Be Love (2005) that reportedly earned almost P100 million. The other two Filipino movies she starred in are D’ Lucky Ones (2006) and Super Noypi (2006).

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Dara proved to us through One Step that she can act very well not only in comedy movies, but also in a musical drama. Though there were times where I felt Dara sounded a bit rehearsed in delivering her lines, I cannot ignore the fact that she made major improvements on her acting compared to when she was still in Philippine showbiz. In fact, One Step PD Jeon Jae-hong is all praises for Dara, noting that she only had one retake during the movie’s whole filming process due to her professionalism.

This idol-turned-actress didn’t only prove her acting skills in One Step; she also showcased her awesome singing voice in it. She contributed the songs One Step and Song of Memory to the movie’s OST, and I must say that both are lovely! But between the two, I like One Step much better because it featured Dara’s sweet and delicate voice, plus the melody is also very light and perfect for easy listening.

Fun fact: In the Philippines, Dara’s novelty song In or Out from her platinum-certified self-titled album Sandara became a nationwide dance craze, cementing her status as a household name in the country in the early 2000s. Two more novelty songs titled Walang Sabit and Ang Ganda Ko from the repackaged version of her self-titled album also enjoyed a huge success in the airwaves.

Final verdict: One Step may not be pitch perfect, but it definitely set the tone for Dara’s promising career in the Korean movie industry. 3/5

~All credit for the stills/photos/videos used in this review goes to Dream Fact Entertainment and Star Music.

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