Phew! After three months of struggle, I finally managed to watch all 20 episodes of City Hunter. No, no, I wasn’t short on time. I just ran out of interest. I started watching City Hunter (or shall I say Sheeti Unnter because that’s how every character on the show says it) immediately after finishing Boys Over Flowers. Sadly, six episodes later I started finding it increasingly difficult to make my way back to the drama. Each time I saw one episode I would be impressed by it but then there was hardly anything to make me want to go back to it. There was something lacking in the show and I think I know what that is.
City Hunter (2011)
City Hunter is a 20 episode long revenge drama about a young boy named Lee Yoon Sung (Lee Min Ho) who has been living with his father Lee Jin-Pyo (Kim Sang-Joong) in a village named Golden Triangle in Thailand. Jin Pyo is an ex-army officer who, along with 20 other officers, was involved in a secret military mission for the country. However, five government officials in charge of the mission decide to abandon the mission mid-way that causes the death of 20 officers. Jin Pyo is the only member who survives and vows to take revenge for the death of all the officers including his close friend Park Moo-Yul who saved him by taking the bullet for him.
Jin Pyo visits Moo Yul’s house, kidnaps his infant, and raises him as his own child to use him against his enemies in the future. Jin Pyo trains Yoon Sung to become a tough and swift fighter. Simultaneously, he also runs a drug trafficking camp that earns him the money he needs to fight against his powerful enemies. One day the camp is attacked and Jin Pyo loses his leg while trying to save Yoon Sung. He then reveals the truth about Yoon Sung’s biological father and tells him how he was unfairly killed on government orders and how he trained him to seek vengeance for his fathers’ death.
Yoon Sung leaves for America and returns to South Korea after seven years of studying advanced technology. He is now prepared physically and mentally to fight his fathers’ enemies. Before starting the revenge plan Jin Pyo warns Yoon Sung to not fall in love as he cannot afford to trust anyone. However, Yoon Sung is already is love with a girl named Kim Na Na (Park Min-Young) after seeing her picture seven years ago. He joins the Blue House for the National Communication Network Team as an IT engineer and meets Kim Na Na who works with the security department. Yoon Sung falls hard for Na Na and is torn between his aim for revenge and need for love.
Let’s weigh City Hunter on our show beam balance and see what makes it watchable and what makes it ignorable.
Lee Min Ho: If you don’t already know this then let me tell you that I am a big Minho fan and supporter. I started watching this show only because I was supremely impressed by Minho’s performance in Boys Over Flowers. I do not want to sound biased but it is a fact that Minho is one of the reasons that will keep you interested in the show. His acting is spot on, his actions scenes are not perfect but are reasonably smooth, and he looks like a fashion model walking out of a runway.
I mean who looks this good in magenta pants?
Now I know why his fans call him Lee Min ‘Hot’. He can even make pink look hawt!
Had it not been a Minho starring drama I wouldn’t have watched beyond three episodes.
Music: The OST of this show is superrrrb! It blends perfectly with the show’s thrill and action theme. Its theme song ‘Its Alright’ is catchy and powerful while ‘Suddenly’ is the sweet romantic number that will remind you of the sweet moments that Yoon Sung and Na Na share in the show.
In case you like the song can read its lyrics and meaning here.
Action: The drama revolves around revenge so the action has to be first class to do justice to the storyline. And City Hunter’s action scenes are power packed. Min Ho is not swift like other action heroes but he does a fair job at it. The action scenes may have been choreographed to hide Min Ho’s limitations but are not sloppy in any way.
The video below is a compilation of the best action sequences in City Hunter with some behind the scene footage. Min Ho, his silky hair and looooooong legs! Beware! The video is full of spoilers so if you haven’t watched the show yet then do not watch this video.
Dragged Revenge: Who waits for 28 long years to exact revenge on someone? The main idea or concept itself went over my head. The show has shown Jin Pyo to be a calculative and persevering man but still! Who has the patience or even the determination to wait for almost three decades to get the perfect revenge? It is a little difficult to believe that people can go this far to punish someone.
Farfetched Schemes: Some of the ways in which the government officials are punished are slightly over the top and difficult to believe. Of course, this is drama world and yaha kuch bhi ho sakta hain (anything is possible) but that doesn’t mean the audience will accept anything. Every revenge target was tackled over 3 to 4 episodes which is just too long.
Lack of Romance: Lee Min Ho and Park Min Young have sparkling chemistry and I was expecting some really serious romance between them. I know this isn’t a romantic show but when you have two actors sharing such great chemistry then the audience will obviously want to see more of that. Sadly, the story is such that Yoon Sung has to restrain his love to protect Na Na which is why romance is marginal to almost non-existent in the last few episodes. This is a major reason why I lost interest in the show. When you have the sexy Lee Min Ho and the cute Park Min Young you must turn on the heat and not tone down the love.
The show beam balance has an equal number of good and bad weights but since it took me so long to complete the show it means that there was something lacking. This isn’t one of the best action dramas but it does have some good moments. It shines in certain areas and diffuses excessively in other areas.
I give the show 3 out of 5 rating. City Hunter may not keep you on the edge of your seat but it surely is gripping and interesting. If you like suspense and action dramas then City Hunter is a relatively good choice but if you are a romance lover then skip this one it isn’t very high on love.
You can watch City Hunter with English subtitles here.