Now this is how an action drama should be done. City Hunter mixes the revenge theme with the super hero genre skillfully and gives an amazing blend of action, thrills, romance, comedy and lots of fun. I will call it what everyone calls it: badass, for the lack of a better word. I wonder why I put it off for so long!!
The drama starts with a man Lee Jin Pyo who wants revenge from five men who caused death of his comrades including his best friend. He prepares his friend’s son Lee Yoon Sung to fulfill his mission, but our hero not only seeks revenge from these dishonest government officials, but also aims at eradicating corruption from the society. That makes City Hunter so special and different from other revenge dramas. It is not only a vengeance tale, but the making of a hero as he struggles to maintain his ideals and moral values intact, all the while fulfilling the revenge aim as well.
City Hunter is fast paced, well directed and beautifully shot. The background score adds to the mood of the show effectively. The drama keeps you on the edge of your seats throughout its run and never becomes boring or dull. There is a perfect balance between light and dark. The drama has its flaws but the segue never gives you time to think about them and we just sit and enjoy the journey of our hero with him.
I loved the show for handling the story with so much heart. There are so many poignant moments that prevent the show from being a flimsy, shallow action thriller. The most complex and intriguing, and yet touching relationship was between our hero Lee Yoon Sung and his father Lee Jin Pyo, who raised him to become what he was. They always had a face off for being opposite in their ideas and methods, but still they loved each other a lot and could sacrifice anything for each other.
I liked our hero, who doesn’t go for high level schemes or plans for doing his work. In fact, he uses simple means and methods which look so interesting solely because of the confidence he puts in them while accomplishing his task. I loved his attitude and also the fact that he was hopeful to live a happy and peaceful life. He is cool and cheerful, and not the stereotypical gloomy character that occurs most of the time in revenge-action dramas.
I liked the methodical approach in the drama to expose the evil men one by one. The drama always keeps us excited and the intensity can be felt every time and again.
The romance between our leads does take a backseat as the series progresses, but it is so sweet and loving. The crackling chemistry between Lee Min Ho and Park Min Young keeps us glued to the screen for delving in their interactions. Their love also goes from cute to testing times, that gives an added arc to the love line.
Another great thing to watch was the interaction between our hero and the righteous prosecutor Kim Young Joo. Both want the same thing but in an entirely different manner. One always sticks to the law, while the other breaks it every time.
The drama is full of endearing characters that grow on you and each form a little team of their own; like the prosecutor and his staff of investigators, Yoon Sung, Na Na and Shik Joong ajhusshi, the Blue House employees, to name a few.
But I felt that in the later episodes, too much emphasis was given to the fourth target and that took a lot of time to get resolved. Also, the finale was not that appealing.
Lee Min Ho is fantastic in his title role. He shows a wide range of emotions in his acting and gives a confident and amazing performance.
Park Min Young looks cute and she has also done a very good job in a role that also demands her to be bold and brave as she is playing an agent here.
Kim Sang Joong spellbinds you with brilliant acting by showing anger and pain at the same time. His role is really well written and inspite of the fact that he is the grey character here, you can’t help but feel bad for him as he suffered so much in life.
Lee Joon Hyuk is endearing in the role of a virtuous and honest prosecutor and gives a solid act.
Among the actors forming the group of five, I liked Chun Ho Jin the most as his character was having more depth and complexity than others. Lee Kwang Soo and Yang Jin Sung provide lots of fun with their comic moments. Kim Sang Ho has provided warmth with his adorable acting.
All in all, a superb action drama with its heart at the right place.
My Rating: 9 out of 10.