The Women Of City Hunter
The women of City Hunter have always played supporting roles but this fact has never been more apparent than it is in the final two episodes. Sae Hee, who’s been missing-in-action for a while, turned up so that:
- She could be saved by her love interest which is a requirement in City Hunter and;
- She could make Young Joo’s exit from the world more painful.
I do wish they’d kissed instead of just hugging after he untied her. But I must say that it’s a shame that the drama didn’t really know what to do with her so they made her clean up Yoon Sung’s wound, disappear, then return to reconcile with her husband. The same can be said about Da Hye’s role. What exactly was it other than to give Young Joo an opportunity to get close to his biological father?
And as for Nana, her role in these last two episodes was to give him information that led to him discovering his true parentage but other than that, she didn’t really shape his decisions (or the plot) or even make him waver in any way. She’s supposed to be a main lead but in reality, both Jin Pyo and Young Joo have bigger roles than she does.
Kim Young Joo The Martyr
So for the larger part of 18 episodes, our dear prosecutor has been walking around like he’s got a huge stick in his butt. Most of us wondered why he acted like the City Hunter was a criminal when he was in fact doing his job for him and cleaning up big messes. Episode 19 finally explained it – he was ashamed. He was ashamed that the law he so believed in wasn’t the all and be all of everything righteous. He hated the fact that the City Hunter was beating him at his own game and that his methods were more effective. But in the end, he put the greater good over his own pride and left the City Hunter to his work.
But as someone who loves the law, in the end, he risked his life for it. I don’t think Cheon Jae Man would have killed him if he hadn’t kept trying to stop him. He knew it was futile as he was outnumbered but he needed Yoon Sung to get those documents without interference so he risked his life. I wish he’d valued his life over bringing justice to the men of 1983 but perhaps he wouldn’t have been able to live with himself if he’d done that.
His death did revitalize his department and the boss who’d been prone to turn a blind eye to certain crimes by high-ranking officials swore to continue Young Joo’s work with his same conviction. It also gave Yoon Sung another reason to ensure that justice was served regarding the sweep mission.
Lee Jin Pyo The Avenger
It may sound like a strange statement to make but I think everything Jin Pyo did was for love – love of a woman, love of a friend, love of a country and finally, the love of a son.
When Yoon Sung returned the bullet, he knew that the jig was up and even though they hadn’t been on the same side in a long while, it would be impossible for him to carry out “the cruelest revenge ever” so it would be entirely up to him to finish the job.
While on the surface, he appeared to be a cruel, evil bastard, from time to time, the humanity in him would threaten to surface which is why he’d look at Moo Yeol’s photo to keep himself on track. At the end, even though Nana shot him, he still had enough energy to take out the bullet clip and point that gun so with Yoon Sung on the floor, if he really wanted to, he could have tried to shoot at the president again. But I think seeing his son bleeding at his own hands was what finally pushed him off the revenge track.
And with revenge no longer on his mind, there was no reason to live and before leaving the earth, he did the only thing he could do for the son he’d fucked up and that was to clear his name. I always knew that Jin Pyo loved him despite his parentage and was glad that he was finally able to show it.
Lee Yoon Sung The Masked Crusader
Young Joo asked him if revenge was this true motivation and justice was just a side effect and he said he didn’t risk his life solely for revenge. He also said that if those four men hadn’t been corrupt, he would have forgiven them. Well, that’s an odd statement to make because regardless of if they were all good men in 2011, wouldn’t it still have been necessary to bring them to justice for the sweep mission? I think that was just thrown in there to give Yoon Sung a reason to still go after his father now that the personal reason no longer existed.
When Nana tried to stop him and asked if he would seek revenge against his own father, he told her that he wouldn’t make the same mistake Young Joo made and conceal it. To be honest though, the situations aren’t the same. For him, the president is more like a sperm donor than a real father so the emotional connection isn’t there. Unlike with his mom, he hadn’t spent his whole life longing for him and even when he found out the truth, he was more hurt that Jin Pyo had lied to him than at anything else.
So when he jumped in front of the bullet meant for his dad, I don’t think it was from filial or familial love. Even though Cheon Jae Man is an evil psycho, he had tried to stop his father from killing him so if that man had been standing there instead of the president, I feel he would have done the same thing. Now, speaking of Cheon Jae Man, Yoon Sung accused Jin Pyo of being a cold blooded killer and it’s true but in all fairness, if he’d been more like him and had killed Jae Man instead of tying him up and delivering him to the prosecution, Young Joo would still be alive. I’m not blaming him for his death but the truth he refuses to acknowledge is that sometimes, killing some of these evil bastards saves lives.
Anyway, in the end, no matter what other people thought and no matter how angry he was at Jin Pyo, he always knew that man loved him. Which is why he turned that gun around on himself because he felt that was the only thing he could do to make him listen. When they had their guns pointed at each other, he knew he would never shoot at him and he also knew his father would never kill him which was why turning that gun at himself was symbolic more than anything else. A symbol of all the sacrifices Jin Pyo had tried to force him to make and also because it was the only way he could think to stop him.
And of course, Jin Pyo’s heart broke when he saw who he’d shot. I feel bad for him because Jin Pyo really died in 1983. We all have choices and he could have chosen to live a different life but I almost feel that if he’d not focused all his energy on revenge, he’d have been haunted by the sounds of screams and gunshots for years before running mad. So the dream Yoon Sung had of living happily with his father could never be.
My Overall Thoughts
The last two episodes were not as action packed as I would have liked. I guess there’s no harm in watching Yoon Sung try to figure out what the sound on the recording was but I missed my American shows where some expert will run the clip through a machine and immediately figure out that it’s the sound of a junkyard. There were many “research and discovery” scenes in the final episode that it felt a little slow till the last 10 minutes that were jam-packed.
I think that’s a problem with the entire series to be honest. There were a lot of slow scenes, especially when it came to the various cases and I think they probably could have presented them in a more interesting way. Also, there’s the problem of Yoon Sung and Nana who didn’t even really appear to have any romantic feelings for each other till the last few minutes of episode 20. I think that’s the problem the fans had because they focused a lot of time on them in the first half of the drama and then it disappeared at the end which is strange as their bond was meant to be stronger then since they were in love.
I think this is because they made them get together too early. I used to be a huge fan of the American TV series Bones till I got too tired of the couple’s will-they-won’t-they dance that was leading nowhere. Many TV fans say they are being kept apart for as long as possible so they don’t fall into the same pit Moonlighting had. Apparently, that show lost its spark once the couple got together. Most Korean dramas end when the couple gets together and frankly speaking, for me, when they get together in like episode 12 like in Coffee Prince, random boring conflict is thrown at them to fill in the remaining episodes. I’m no expert but I think the writers didn’t know what else to do with their storyline which is why it was kept in the background and only brought back when it was time for someone to be saved or to give our City Hunter some angst.
Why was Young Joo killed? I disliked the good ol’ prosecutor and one reason I kept hoping that someone would kill him was because I thought it would never happen. I was reading a review of some action movie and someone said something like, “It’s a good movie – the body count is high.” I was initially a little horrified that a criteria for a good action movie is supposedly a high body count but the more I think about it, the more I think it’s not such a strange idea. Bad guys need to die in stories like this but because of Yoon Sung’s refusal to shed blood, it was kept to a minimum. Good guys also have to die to make the story more poignant and touching but all they did was flirt with the idea (Nana and Ahjussi). Jin Pyo’s death was a given so in the end, IMO, they decided to go with the least expected and thereby the most shocking person who was Young Joo. Sadly, I wasn’ t particularly touched by it since I didn’t like him too much but I know others cried buckets so maybe it worked.
All in all, I found the drama interesting. Not as much as I did in the early to middle episodes but it was a fun ride nonetheless. The ending could have been better and it wouldn’t have taken that much more time to have Yoon Sung and Nana hug with someone saying, “Welcome back” but oh well.
One thing I do know is that Lee Min Ho is hot as hell and I can’t wait to see him in another drama.
Leila8mae’s Personal Thoughts:
I actually agree on what clockwatcher said.. except about Prosecutor Young Ju because I personally love him to bits. His death caused me to curse this drama for a bit.. Of all the people who could possibly die, why kill someone like him, drama?!? That aside, the ending was open and leaves room for questions indeed.. Would season 2 suffice? I’m not sure if I’m still up for that.. though Lee Min Ho has a power to change my mind 🙂
In all honesty, this one has heart amidst the violence and its theme. From Episode 1 until the end, they’ve managed to give us situations that never failed to tug my heartstrings. I have to say, even Jin Pyo’s death was heartbreaking.. especially when I saw him smile at Yoon Sung.. That said, I wasn’t hooked to this series even if Lee Min Ho is the star here. I have to say, I’m not into “action-drama” type of series and I’ve find it heavy for my taste.. it must be the season as well.. Moreover, seeing Lee Min Ho get hurt, with blood oozing out is far from what I imagine I’d see him.. though he’s uber hot doing all those stunts so smoothly is a bonus. His fights scenes are daebak!! but I’d always have a heart attack once he’s badly injured or shot or almost loosing breathe.. Dude, it’s really painstaking.. So Min Ho Oppa, next time please do something else.. Hehe..
The story itself is really engaging. I love that it reflects most society we are living in and that there are people like Prosecutor Young Ju and the City Hunter who’d go out of there way to uphold what is right. That there is a glimmer of hope and chance of treatment in this cancerous world. One only has to choose what side to take as well, so as not to spread the disease.
I’ve always known that Lee Min Ho is here to do wonders. There’s no doubt, he’d be staying and will continue to awe us all. I know that I’ve only seen him since the Boys Over Flowers days.. but I’ve been following him eversince. That’s why I can say that his change has been gradual but overwhelmingly astounding. He has shown such great acting skills as Yoon Sung in City Hunter and I won’t be ashamed of saying again and again how proud I am of him and his achievements. Surely he is the main reason for the success of this series because he can bring on the numbers. But I am thankful that this series really honed Lee Min Ho to become better. And atlas, I don’t have to blame the Director and Writers for wasting him! This is such a relief.
Lee Min Ho, until I see YOU again!!
Clockwatcher’s Additional Thoughts:
Yes, if we want to talk about acting, Lee Min Ho did a phenomenal job. Not only was he sexy (the stylist did a great job with his hair), he also made all his stunts look easy as hell. Kim Sang Joong (Jin Pyo) was phenomenal as well. Lee Joon Hyuk did a good job of making me want to slap him upside the head – I hope that was intentional. Park Min Young didn’t have as much to work with but she did a good job with what she had and her chemistry was Lee Min Ho was sizzling. In general, the cast was well chosen and to me, most of the flaws lie in the pacing (some parts were rushed, others too slow) and perhaps the editing. But all productions are flawed and overall, I would say the cast and crew did a good job. I look forward to their future corroborative and/or individual work.