First Impressions: City Hunter

Nothing quite proves

a boy’s devotion to his dead father

like revenge.

My sisters have been trying for months, and at last they have finally succeeded in getting me addicted to Kdrama, though I’ve only watched romances thus far. For something different I decided to try an action series. Enter today’s first impression, City Hunter, which is the recent Kdrama version of Tsukasa Hojo’s manga. (It’s also an anime series and a live-action film starring Jackie Chan.)

I could add pictures of action scenes from the show, but since Lee Min Ho is the reason for the season, let's just stick with the good stuff.

All I knew from the outset was that it starred Lee Min Ho, the adorable lead from Boys Over Flowers, and really, that’s all I needed. Unfortunately, it took half the episode to get to him. Yes, yes, backstory is important, but so is eye candy! Anyway, on to the premise: Lee Min Ho plays Lee Yoon-Sung, a boy born just as his father heads out on a top-secret government mission for revenge on North Korea for a local bombing. Unfortunately for the twenty-one men on the team, the government officials change their minds about the whole thing because any retaliation would dissolve their US nuclear protection. (Yay, everyone loves us for our… guns.) What’s the best way to cover the whole political mess up? Why, kill everyone they sent in! And that’s just what they do, save for one man who escapes: Lee Jin-Pyo, Yoon-Sung’s dad’s best friend. And he is pissed. Lee Jin-Pyo tries to kill one of the government officials in charge of the whole affair but gets interrupted and leaves.

There's the Lee Min Ho I remember so fondly from Boys Over Flowers, stuffing his face. Goo Joon Pyo would be proud.

In one of the worst revenge plans in history, he steals his fallen comrade’s newborn baby from his fallen comrade’s widow and takes him to Southeast Asia. There he raises the boy on a militant compound, harshly teaching him how to shoot guns and engage in hand-to-hand combat. (So your revenge on your government is to totally f**k up the lives of your best friend’s entire family? Awesome plan.) Finally, Lee Min Ho shows up as the now-grown Yoon-Sung, has a zany adventure in the nearby village rescuing a guy who has “nutty sidekick” written all over him, swaggers around the compound (as only Lee Min Ho can do) with his new bestie, and eats voraciously. He also spies a picture of a pretty girl among the sidekick’s things. Yoon-Sung finds out her name, but that’s all. The thugs from town show up, there’s a giant melodramatic fight involving Yoon-Sung’s idiot nanny getting shot, he chases the thugs for revenge, steps on a land mine, and his fake dad ends up getting in an explosion trying to save him. Jin-Pyo is severely injured, but not so badly that he can’t explain how he stole baby Yoon-Sung to raise him as a weapon of vengeance. Surprisingly, after this revelation Yoon-Sung is still upset about his fake dad’s injury and vows to take care of business. The episode ends with Lee Min Ho in pink pants strutting through downtown Seoul with the pretty girl from the sidekick’s picture standing unknowingly just behind him.

Shooting a gun accurately: impressive. Shooting a gun with a face full of Bieber bangs: outstanding.

As for what I think of this episode… wow, where to begin. Y’know, I thought that Boys Over Flowers was the measuring stick for melodrama, but I now have a whole new standard. City Hunter really takes the melodrama cake. While I found those moments to be more laughable than anything, this episode remained very enjoyable throughout. The story was intriguing and had nary a dull moment, which is quite a feat for an episode that’s more than an hour long. The opening theme was great and very action-y, and the effects, even in the most melodramatic scenes, were quite good. The characters were very personable and made the story really come to life, so much so that I wasn’t just biding my time until the star showed up. Of course once he did, the episode just went up a level. It’s not that he’s handsome (which he is) but Lee Min Ho has, in my opinion, an effervescent quality to him. He lights up the screen and makes you want to keep watching. And I, for one, certainly will keep watching City Hunter.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Moo
    Feb 10, 2012 @ 01:59:29

    Yeah, Minoz FTW!! So happy you’re digging the it so far…it just gets better and better. And hold on to your pink pants, cause someone’s about to give LMH a run for show hottie 😉


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