I watched City Hunter immediately after having finished Boys Over Flowers. Since I was pretty much clueless on K-Dramas and what to watch I only picked City Hunter because it had Lee Min Ho in it. Also, it was the first suggestion on Hulu after I rated Boys Over Flowers so highly. It was a lucky happenstance that I watched this next, but I’m pretty sure that I would have gotten to it sooner rather than later anyway. This is in my top three best/most favorite dramas so far. I’ve only watched fourteen dramas in the six months since I discovered Korean Dramas, so I’m sure that as I delve further into dramas my top three will change.
As with Boys Over Flowers it is difficult for me to look at City Hunter with an objective eye. And since this review is just my opinion anyway I’ll just gush over it as much as I want. I really enjoyed this one. Prior to K-Drama’s my usual genre of movie/show was action and adventure. So the fact that this is an action/spy based story line, well I fell in love even more. The basic story is South Korean Spec. Ops group is sent to North Korea by politicians, once there a deal is struck with the States and the South Korean politicians end the mission and hide any evidence of its existence. Then they kill off their own people, only one man survives. He then steals his friend’s baby and raises the child for one purpose, revenge. When the baby, now a man, returns to Korea he completes the revenge for the man who raised him.
I’m not even sure where to start because I loved everything. So I suppose I’ll start with Lee Min Ho. He did an amazing job. The character grows from a rambunctious teen to a young man with a purpose and he truly did a fantastic job showing that. Additionally, Lee Yoon Sung (Lee Min Ho’s character) is being asked to do some truly despicable things by the man who raised him. You can really see the pain Yoon Sung feels at disobeying the only man he’s ever known as family. And that pain only intensifies as Yoon Sung’s past comes to light. He really pulled me in and I felt his suffering with him.
Kim Na Na is my favorite female lead in any drama so far. So often when a ‘tough girl’ part is being cast the actress is not right for the part or just way over acts in order to appear strong. It can ruin a show when the ‘tough girl’ is trying too hard or not believable at all. Kim Na Na was just perfect. She was an excellent mix of strong and tough woman with vulnerable and soft. I truly believed that she could beat the snot out of anyone attempting to harm her charge (the president’s daughter). Though on the other hand when she’s home alone I believe that she just wants someone to lean on and make her feel safe too. Park Min Young did such a phenomenal job portraying Kim Na Na.
Sometimes the chemistry between the leads falls short, but not here. The main leads and their secondary counterparts just had the perfect mix of tension, aggression, attraction, and sensual interplay. Along with that, the supporting cast was perfect. I especially enjoyed Ahjussi, he added just the right amount of comic relief to a story that was intense.
Lee Jin Pyo, who went by Steve Lee when he returned to Korea, was the man who stole Yoon Sung and raised him. Oh I just loved to hate this man. He was so focused on his revenge and so set in his ways that he didn’t care what it was doing to Yoon Sung. He was an evil and horrid man who I hated with a passion. Yet, he’s my favorite villain to date. I loved him, he was so broken, but had such a strong will that he didn’t let his broken heart stop him. And then at the end he redeems himself and I loved him even more.
Additionally I really loved Yoon Sung’s City Hunter look. The face mask and the clothing he wore. It was simple and easily obtained which makes it realistic in the sense that anyone could have those items. He wasn’t wearing anything that was cumbersome or tacky just for the look. It was clean and simple and functional. Also, for me this is my favorite look of Lee Min Ho’s.
The only criticisms that I have are minor and really just a few nit-picking items. Yoon Sung is supposed to be a genius and the Blue House is very pleased to have him there. However, he just comes and goes whenever he wants without a word or a reason. I would assume that the Blue House is tightly guarded, scrutinized, and watched. It seemed a little improbable that he would have such free reign to do some of the things he did while there. Additionally, speaking of improbable. Being raised on a drug farm and then somehow managing to enter the US with valid identification to fabricate a past and go to school. I understand that with most action flicks you need to suspend your disbelief, but this just seemed like to much. Though I’m not sure what they could have done to make it a little more believable.
The last thing that I could possibly say as a negative was the fact that it felt like the characters were written to be particularly slow in figuring out who the City Hunter was. Yoon Sung didn’t exactly cover up his actions very well. I thought it would have been much better had they discovered his identity sooner and we could see the struggle they had in deciding what to do with the information. They had the epiphany too late in the series for my tastes.
However, eve with those few small things this is definitely in my top three best dramas of all times. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone and will most definitely watch it again.