Sunday, December 18, 2011

City Hunter Review (2011)

Drama Rating: **
Personal Rating: Disliked

Lee Yoon Sung was raised by his surrogate father Lee Jin Pyo in Thailand.  He later learns of the circumstances of his father's death and the involvement of several politicians.  Armed with a doctorate from MIT and a job at the Blue House, Yoon Sung takes on the mask of 'City Hunter' and begins his revenge on those who betrayed his father.

*Spoiler warning*

The introductory episode was rather captivating and offered a tantalizing taste and promise of the story yet to unfold. The background was clearly set and the drama seemed ready to rock.  Boy, was I in for one of the biggest kdrama letdowns in a long, long time!  I have a number of gripes about this drama so I'll tackle them one at a time. First, while a budding romance can certainly begin over a nice warm cup of coffee, there are only so many times you can keep bringing out coffee before it really starts to get on your nerves and drive you crazy. Second, does it even make sense to have the Blue House's security staff train members of the communications security team? I mean, why does the security team even need to know martial arts?  Then, there is the notion of having a doctorate from MIT teach the President how to print out a photo.... I mean, are you kidding me?? What kind of fantasyland are we living in? Next, Lee Jin Pyo, Yoon Sung's surrogate father, seems like he's burning up with revenge and was quite displeased with Yoon Sung's rebelliousness at one point, but the scriptwriter decided to give him a chance at 'redemption' in the end, with a completely ludicrous admission of guilt.  Is the audience expected to believe that the law enforcement agencies will just take his confession as is?  Then, there's Jae-man's goon who kept getting sent out to eliminate Kim Nana. Why would he give up getting rid of her after the one single attempt when Yoon Sung just happened to be there?  There were plenty of other and easier opportunities to take her out! (In fact, at this point, I was really rooting for this so I could take myself out of my misery of watching her)  I could go on and on as the entire script was totally unfathomable with glaring holes dotting the entire series. And if you thought it couldn't get any worse, think again, as we get to the characters and the acting.

Between the poor script and the poor acting, I'd have to say that Park Min Young's Kim Nana singlehandedly takes home the grand prize. To be sure, while her character on paper was no Gil Ra Im, it was not particularly dislikeable and certainly should have come across as a strong heroine to Lee Min Ho's supposedly dashing Yoon Sung, but Park Min Young completely swept away any hopes I had of that happening. An actress' job is to act and convince the audience into believing the character; with Nana, there was none of that - her visibly poor martial arts ability and general incompetence at her job makes it incredulous to believe that the Blue House, which would supposedly retain top notch agents, would staff people like her and Eun-ha to protect the President's daughter and the President himself. The entire security staff seems to be a complete joke, especially with all the ridiculous coffee scenes and random martial arts training sequences. Then, there was the always scowling and angry Kim Sang Jung playing Lee Jin Pyo.  While I have nothing against his character, there is only so much scowling you can do before it become really rather laughable. Kim Sang Ho playing Sik-Joong Ahjussi was the only bright spot among the cast as Lee Min Ho and the rest of the supporting cast were rather underwhelming and did little to bolster a dismal drama.

In this case, the weak plot developments and atrocious characters made me entirely lose my drama appetite so that the music really didn't sink in much.

Easily one of the most disappointing korean dramas in recent memory with glaring issues aplenty.  In fact, I'm rather amazed I managed to finish this; as Maestro Kang from Beethoven Virus phrases so well, 똥. 덩. 어. 리.. While I'm definitely not trying to offend anyone here, unless one is a super Lee Min Ho fan or Park Min Young fan, I would strongly recommend not to put yourself through this misery.

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