But now he’s an action hero, you say? Sign me up! City Hunter is something like James Bond meets Ocean’s Eleven. LMH plays Lee Yoon Sung, and as Netflix describes it:
The son of a murdered government agent — begins working in the Blue House, the presidential residence in Korea. He tries to find the five men who betrayed his father 28 years ago, and makes a plan to punish them his own way.
Yoon’s love interest Nana starts off as a girl holding down several part-time jobs but eventually she ends up as a bodyguard for the Blue House, so in American terms, she basically becomes secret service. It’s because she’s a tough girl who can take care of herself that Yoon gains interest in her. He’s got the looks and charms to get any woman he likes, but it’s the one more equal to himself he falls for. I like that in a romance plot.
But fear not romance yawners. Plenty of action to be had in this show as well. Yoon often has to cut through several guards to acquire the next piece in the puzzle of the revenge game. This is probably among the best of the fight scenes in City Hunter. Too bad Goo Jun Pyo didn’t have these same moves.
There are plenty of twists, some you may expect, some not. Yoon’s adopted father comes into the game when Yoon isn’t doing what he demands and makes a good foil for him—at times an antagonist.
Another great character is the prosecutor, Young-Joo, kind of like a Commissioner Gordon of sorts, that wants to unmask the elusive City Hunter, but at the same time respects him. They even fight over the same women. Uh-oh, Korean love triangle coming your way! What I love about Young-Joo is his absolute commitment to justice, even if it hurts his own career. Plus there are times when you think Nana would probably be better off with Young-Joo. He’s a lot more stable and in some ways braver because he shows his face to the public.
Is there anything worse than a long info dump of backstory usually labeled a prologue in the front of a novel? Why yes there is. It’s called an entire episode in a TV series that does the same thing. The very first episode of City Hunter put me off the series for awhile because it bored me to tears. In fact, LMH isn’t in it for the first 1/2 hour (episodes are an hour long). I couldn’t even make it past the 10 minute mark the first time I watched it. The second time I started where I left off, but even when LMH does show up, the story was only mildly interesting.
My suggestion to any who want to give the series a go, start with Episode 2. They refer back to the backstory enough, even with solely flashbacks you have all the information you need for the story in the present. Skip the info dump and get right into the action.
Though I enjoyed seeing LMH in a James Bond type role, the theatrical fighting style made me roll my eyes more than once, but that’s just a martial artist nitpick. It’s not any worse than most of the action scenes in anything else these days.
I like how in a lot of Korean dramas, but especially this one, even a lot of the ‘bad’ guys aren’t the caricature bad guy we often get in TV shows. They may have made substantial mistakes in the past, but they still come through in the end.
On the other hand, some dudes are just bad and it’s very fulfilling to see the City Hunter take them down. Lee Min Ho doesn’t play Batman, but I’m just saying that he could. This remains my favorite series that LMH has done yet, and if you’re a fan of Korean dramas, or you wanted to start, this is a good one to begin with. You can find it on both Netflix and Hulu.
You know one reason I’m watching.
Have you seen City Hunter? Do you have a favorite Asian or Korean actor? What’s your favorite Korean drama?