City Hunter (‏ (2011Review by Chelly Wood

I discovered City Hunter through Stephanie's "Best Lee Min Ho Kisses" YouTube video. Stephanie runs the blog called Hallyu Back, which offers all kinds of witty information on Korean life and entertainment.

Blurb: Lee Yoon Sung (played by Lee Min Ho) is taken from his biological mother at birth and raised in the camp of a Korean drug lord in the Golden Triangle. Believing the drug lord to be his father, Yoon Sung is trained to avenge a gross injustice done to his so-called father by the South Korean government. His training from his years in the Golden Triangle makes him an excellent marksman with a gun, a fantastic martial artist, and an impressive opponent for the bad guys he captures.
The subplot is a romance that blossoms between the characters of Kim Nana (Park Min Young) and Lee Yoon Sung. The two leading romantic characters work for the Blue House (South Korea's version of the White House, which, in City Hunter, provides special forces assigned to protect the president), and this setting leads to high-tension, fast-action plot developments.

Review: The action scenes in this impressive series can best be described as ninja-style Batman meets James Bond. No wonder this show has been well-received. I find myself re-watching favorite episodes over and over again, because there's so much fun action, clever dialogue, and elegant filming.

Actors: I can't even begin to describe how well Lee Min Ho portrays this action hero. He's one of those actors you can't get enough of. I love his facial expressions in scenes where emotions run high.
Park Min Young's Kim Nana has a tough side that you see very rarely in Korean heroines. I enjoyed scenes where she used her impressive judo skills to protect herself and those she cared about. Park Min Young pulls off this female action heroine with a feminine side that not many actresses could accomplish so effectively.
I should also mention Kim Sang Joong, who creates a character with dangerous charm, as Yoon Sung's surrogate father. I found myself sometimes hating his character and sometimes admiring his tenacity, which speaks volumes about Kim Sang Joong's talent.
Last, but not least, I'd like to mention Lee Joon Hyuk, who plays a handsome and intelligent prosecutor who wins our hearts in the end, though at a very high cost. I'd like to see Lee Joon Hyuk cast in future leading roles, as I believe he's a very capable actor.
Overall, this is a most impressive cast for a single series.

Recommendations: If your kids already play violent video games, they'll be okay with this TV series. There's a lot of blood and carnage in some scenes, and at one point, Yoon Sung is forced to shoot at the woman who has been a mother figure to him. Drug dealers are also glorified as having a high-class lifestyle, so bear in mind how this might affect young minds.
By American rating standards, it might be rated R for persistent violence, but my 13-year-old daughter (who also goes hunting with her father and has taken Hunter's Safety, so she's familiar with guns) was allowed to watch it because I feel I've raised her to understand that drugs are bad. I was a little hesitant to let her watch it because of the violence, but I trust that she'll talk to me about any violent scenes that might upset her. (None did though.)
No sexual scenes or blatant nudity are found in this TV series.

Biggest Drawback: As I said above, the lifestyle of drug dealers is sort of twisted to imply that wealth can be acquired through drug trafficking. However, in the end, Yoon Sung chooses a different lifestyle than his father figure, becoming more of the true, moral hero, so the end result is positive.

Rating: (*) (*) (*) (*) Four Stars (meaning it's well worth watching multiple times)


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