★★★/★★★★★ City Hunter written by Hwang Eun-kyung and Choi Soo-jin and directed by Jin Hyuk, based on the manga of same name by Tsukasa Hojo.
This is a more action-led Korean drama than most others, as it is all based on a revenge. In 1983, after an attack in South Korea by the North Korean government 21 men went to take revenge under the command of high officials. Put under pressure to not retaliate by the U.S. government, these officials ordered the men murdered by their own country-men as to keep the mission a secret, but one survived, then kidnapped his comrade’s child and raised him as his own until time for revenge came. And just to add, he became a drug lord and rich at Golden Triangle, and that money serves for the revenge.
- Lee Min-ho as Lee Yoon-sung. After a tragedy strikes in the Golden Triangle and he is told some of the truth, he chooses to help avenge his father. He graduates from MIT and comes to Korea as a Korean-American and lands a job at South Korea’s presidential palace. During his hunt he is named “City Hunter” by the citizens, as he plans to destroy the reputation of those that are harming the country. But there is such beauty to his character, he wants to be able to finally lead a normal life after the revenge, and hence cannot actually murder anyone, since there is no coming back from that.
- Park Min-young as Kim Na-na. She is a woman whose mother died and father is in comatose state. She is exceptional at judo and other martial arts, and becomes a body guard under the Presidential Security Service. She falls for Yoon-sung and vice-versa, however she is willing to do so much to not cause anyone any harm. She is just and wise, and such a good person that she does not deserve anything that has happened to her. “I know better than anyone that every single day is a war for you, and every moment is a struggle, so how can I lean on you? How can I ask you to protect me too? I’m going to become someone that you can lean on. I’m going to become stronger. So I can protect you.”-Na Na
- Lee Joon-hyuk as Kim Young-joo. This mashed potato is a prosecutor, whose father was one of the five high officials, but he did not know, in fact no one knows about the mission. He is much alike “City Hunter,” as he wants to fight crime, but only under the legal umbrella. He is nothing like the characters from You’re All Surrounded , but I still loved him so much. He does not want to commit crimes, he believes in justice, and doing things by the book, and hopes that he can change the country a bit a time. He is also infatuated with Na Na, but the love triangle is not so much in your face that it becomes a huge distraction from the main plot.
- Kim Sang-joong as Lee Jin-pyo. This drug lord made me feel so conflicted. Is he good? Is he bad? I honestly was not sure what to do with this guy. He is an anti-hero, yes, that is the perfect term for him.
- Kim Sang-ho as Bae Man-duk. A good cook and Lee Yoon-sung’s mother figure for the later part of the series, becoming his closest friend. He is much of the comedic relief of the show. He has a dark past we don’t really see until we approach the later episodes.
- Chun Ho-jin as Choi Eung-chan. Now president of South Korea and one of the five men involved in planning. He is an idealist, sort of like an utilitarian, saying the end justifies the means, and some people must suffer for the collective good.
2-Now to the weaker parts of the drama.
- The Villains: The main villains, those Council of Five men, are not as good at being villains as they should. They are honestly pretty weak. They make obvious mistakes and City Hunter destroys one after the other fairy well.
- The romance: But not really the chemistry, since that was perfect, but there was not enough steam for me to thrive. I needed more sexy times, even more kissing. I know this is not a thing that is always shown in K-drama, but I feel like we got more love in Boys Over Flowers than in this one, which is vastly superior.
- The main characters were not as enthralling as the side characters.
“A hundred times a day, thousands of times, I resent it and resent it even more. Why did I have to meet you? Why did it have to be you? You make me resent… and blame myself. You are someone who makes me regret. You’re like a nightmare I don’t want to remember. Didn’t I tell you? Go back to the time when you didn’t know me. Go back, and meet a man better than me and live a happy life everyday. Forget a punk like me and live happily. Please live that way.” – Yoon-sung
Look at him pretending he don’t love her:
3-“You look down your nose at pennies and dimes, when you can’t even make change for this? Before you take offense, start by apologizing. If you can’t even bother to consider what the boy’s buying this for, why sell the product? It seems to me the quality of your service doesn’t amount to a dime’s worth. There’s no such thing as a dime-value person in this world. Discriminating among people is cowardly and pathetic.” – Yoon-sung
This comes from a very important scene in which a child has collected coins for a long time to be able to give a gift to his mother since she has sacrificed much for him. The store clerk makes fun of the child and calls him insulting things, so when Yoon-sung sees it, he comes to the rescue and offers to pay with a lot of money in a bill, but the clerk doesn’t have change for so much money, and hence he says this. It was truly beautiful to see this. Usually poverty is treated in these shows as a big difference between the poor and the rich, so I was ecstatic that this one showed discrimination between the poor and middle-class.
4-Soundtrack: The songs are beautiful, and funny, particularly the theme song( It’s Alright – Yang Hwa-Jin ). I am going to listen to it repeatedly, I liked it much more than the other ones I gave heard. Oh Jezz, I am digging myself a hole in Korean music.