시티헌터 - (Siti Heonteo)
Lee Min Ho as Lee Yun Seong
Park Min Young as Kim Na Na
Lee Joon Hyuk as Kim Young Joo
Hwang Sun Hee as Jin Sae Hee
Kim Sang Joong as Lee Jin Pyo
Chun Ho Jin as Choi Eung Chan
Kim Sang Ho as Bae Shik Joong
For more information on this series: City Hunter (Korean Drama)
City Hunter is an action packed, thrilling story about a young man, Lee Yoon Sung, who was raised for the sake of revenge by his adopted father Lee Jin Pyo. The series begins in 1983 when, due to political issues, a secret mission of twenty one men are sent to North Korea to carry out a massacre. Upon their completion, they were supposed to be able to return safely to South Korea via a submarine. Unfortunately, five South Korean government officials decided that the mission did not need to be carried out and so in order to keep it a secret, they decide to kill all the men on the mission. Of the twenty one men, Lee Jin Pyo ends up surviving and vows to return to avenge his fallen comrades by killing the five men who chose to abandon them. Somehow, he also ends up blaming the entirety of the South Korean government for the betrayal and will stop at nothing to prove that the entire government is corrupt and evil.
And so he goes to his friend Park Moo Yool's home where his wife had just given birth to a baby boy and takes the child away, telling the mother to forget about her dead husband and lost child and start a new and happy life. His ultimate plan is for the young child to grow up as a fighting machine as well as his pawn in his revenge plans.
Twenty eight years into the future, Lee Yoon Sung returns to South Korea after extensive training in survival, combat as well as seven years of education at MIT in America, to carry out his adopted father's revenge plan.
Included in this little epic adventure, of course, is the romance doomed to fail that cannot be left out. Kim Na Na is a young woman who's parents died in a tragic car accident ten years ago and meets with Yoon Sung in the Blue House (the presidential palace) where they both start working as part of the president's secret service. Lee Yoon Sung, with his PhD in computer technology enters the Network and Communications department while Kim Na Na with her 4th level Judo experience becomes a bodyguard to government officials. Having been tasked by a friend to look for Na Na and take care of her, there is no doubting that Yoon Sung soon finds himself growing attached to the fiery and head-strong young woman and eventually falling in love with her.
Of course, as all story lines such as these would go, Lee Yoon Sung is tasked by his adopted father to never ever put trust in anyone, never become attached to anyone, and especially to never fall in love.
I could probably go on about the story of City Hunter until the cows come home. In fact, I think I did in the actual review article -- for a nice long read with similar information from this current article, you can check that one out now, but there are spoilers galore in it. But anyway, City Hunter is a thrilling ride from beginning to end as you watch the characters interact with each other and develop as the series progresses. The hunt for the five men who betrayed Lee Jin Pyo and his comrades at the beginning of the story is exhilarating to follow along with, because we learn very early on that Lee Yoon Sung's idea of revenge is much different than his father's.
While Lee Jin Pyo wants to hunt the men down, find their corrupt activities and then kill them, Yoon Sung wants nothing more than to believe in the justice of a country that once abandoned twenty men in order to remain in power. Yoon Sung's idea of revenge is merely revealing to the public what terrible deeds that these men have done and then letting the government prosecutors deal with the rest. He feels no need to kill anyone, explaining that, in the future, when his revenge is over, he would love to be able to live a normal life. If he killed a person, then he knew that it would be hard for him to live that normal life he's always dreamed about. Because his murder would leave another young child to suffer the same life that Yoon Sung suffered, vowing revenge on the people who took away a father. Yoon Sung does not want that to happen.
And so this is what makes City Hunter so captivating. The meticulously planned out actions and the means by which Yoon Sung engages in investigation are so interesting to follow along with that you find yourself sitting at the edge of your seat wondering what this young hero will end up doing next. But of course, this is no Batman or Superman type hero that Lee Yoon Sung takes on the role of and he is human after all. Thus, while seeming to be a perfect fighter and an intelligent strategist, Yoon Sung still has his moments where he makes trivial or fatal mistakes which might end up costing him more time, or at the worst, someone's life.
Alongside his revenge are the various friendships and relationships he strikes up along the way. Despite his father's warnings to remain detached from other people, Yoon Sung cannot help but to butt in on Kim Na Na's life, as it seems she needs a lot of help to maintain survival. He cannot help but to step in when colleagues or friends require assistance. And he cannot just remain a shadow in passing.
City Hunter is a very entrancing series wherein I managed to run through every episode in so little time that I regret watching it so quickly just because of the fact that it finally ended and I have no more City Hunter to appease my desires. Of course, this is not to say that the series is entirely perfect; there are minor mishaps and mistakes that, as the viewer, you sometimes wonder if they couldn't have been avoided. But with an excellent cast and wonderful direction, even though City Hunter cannot be deemed as a perfect production as there are a few kinks that need to be ironed out, it is an amazing production that would captivate any viewer from beginning to end. There's a sort of charm to this series that overshadows any minor flaws that may have presented.
I'd love to insert a bias and say that it might have been Lee Min Ho's attractive heroic charm that drew me to continue following the series, but I know that there is just so much more to it than that. Simply the refreshing presence of a strong female lead role, played by Park Min Young, can make some story lines so much more bearable. While Lee Yoon Sung is the suave and charming, kick butt hot hero, Kim Na Na is the stable and well-balanced Blue House bodyguard who is simply trying to survive a hard life. Throw in a persistent, yet upright and good man, Kim Young Joo as the prosecutor who carries out justice in public where our City Hunter cannot, and we've got a complete crime thriller filled with loyal budding friendships, suspenseful investigations, and action packed wonders. Between the cast, the characters, the action sequences, the love story, and the suspense and even the atmosphere of this series, it is a definite good experience and I would recommend it to anyone interested in some action packed entertainment.
If you're a fan of Lee Min Ho already, there's no reason to skip this series. If you weren't a fan of him before -- much like myself -- this series will prove to you his talent, skill and undeniable charm. Just as well, Park Min Young's portrayal of Kim Na Na is wonderfully simple yet complex at the same time as she is not your typical female protagonist with a "damsel in distress" type of livelihood. Having spent ten years working to survive and being able to throw a large man over her shoulder in the first few frames of her appearance into the series, Kim Na Na is not a woman to be taken lightly.
The rest of the cast and characters were excellent as well, from the justice-bound prosecutor Kim Young Joo to the loyal and nagging Bae Shik Joong ahjussi and even the wonderfully beautiful president of South Korea Choi Eung Chan; everyone was brought to life so wonderfully that you wished the series didn't end. Special praise goes to the character of Lee Jin Pyo played by Kim Sang Joon, who was presented wonderfully tragic as a wounded man seeking revenge for his fallen comrades using his adopted son as a pawn, but at the same time displaying beautiful love for the son he raised for twenty-eight years. Even though this adopted father tortures and scars Yoon Sung in order to get what he intends to have -- bloody vengeance -- there is no doubt that he loves and cares for the son he'd raised into a man as he displays an array of guilty conflict upon seeing Yoon Sung's pain and suffering.
While awaiting a hoped for sequel to this excellently riveting series, I would totally recommend City Hunter to anyone looking for a fun and exciting thriller full of intrigue and emotion.
thoughts: City Hunter (Korean) - a more in depth look at the series in discussion