Remaking Shitī Hantā

For the first time ever, I have started following a Korean television show as it is being aired. What this means is that I cannot OD on it, while it stays with me all week. Gosh, it is almost cruel.

I have been hearing of City Hunter for a while now; it was probably one of the most anticipated dramas of this year. Besides the fact that it stars insanely hot Lee Min Ho, it being based on the popular Japanese manga by the same name also added to the eagerness of the fan community.

I picked up the first episode to kill time, with no plans to go through the complete show until it was completed. However, the fast pace, crisp storytelling and mind-blowing cinematography melted my resolve and I jumped on the City Hunter wagon!

The first episode opens in 1983 Burma and sets the premise of the show calling for a cold blooded revenge, lots of action, and of course, suspense. The guy swearing the revenge is hardcore invincible special agent, but he gives way the next generation, who is equally devoted to the cause, but has compassion, vulnerability, and curiosity. What caught my interest (besides the suave Lee Min Ho) was extreme characterization of the main characters, and pacing of the drama.

Despite being addicted to Korean television, I have always found the dramas extremely slow. Not, City Hunter. The story is captivating, cast well-chosen, and filming gorgeous. Be it the shots of the wild Golden Triangle (shot in Thailand), or Seoul, the director Jin Hyeok ensures slickness.

The tone changes substantially with the second episode, but it matches the expectations set by the first. Second episode is frothier, but the script ensures that it does not degrade into a soppy romance.

Actor Kim Sang-Jung performs his bitter and ruthless character well and convinces us to see him as a gray character. You cannot love or hate him, but you always know where he is coming from.

Lee Min Ho does a fantastic job in the first episode as a carefree and emotional 17-year old who transforms into a polished twenty-something with a hidden identity and secret agenda by the end of the episode.

Park Min-Young is a like a breath of fresh air, bubbly, smooth, and yet, emotive. I am a little tired of seeing haphazard cluelessness in the leading girls of the dramas. It is either that or innocent pride and haughtiness. Park Min-Young is refreshing, and I am seriously hoping she stays that way.

Besides these three, the other actors too do their job well. At least for the first two episodes, I cannot complain of any clichéd dialogues and boring characters or clumsy actors.

With the plot thickening in the second episode, I am really looking forward to unravel how the Big Five come down. While this revenge drama may not turn out to be a Kill Bill, my appetite for a well-directed, zippy revenge can never be satiated.


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