Review. City Hunter had focused, intricate episodes with many surprises in the series. This series was billed as a prequel to the Japanese City Hunter manga series written and illustrated by Tsukasa Hojo.
City Hunter was a tale of revenge with key bromances that were the lynchpins for the series:
1. Dad (Lee Jin-pyo played by Kim Sang-Joong) and City Hunter (Lee Yoon-sung played by Lee Min-Ho)
2. City Hunter and Prosecutor (Kim Young-joo played by Lee Jun-Hyuk)
3. City Hunter and the sidekick (Bae Shik-joong played by Kim Sang-Ho)
City Hunter stalked, trapped, and turned over 5 men that had done Dad wrong many years ago. The revenge was satisfying for targets 1-3, but the death of target 4 was too long in coming and didn’t seem enough after brutal death of the prosecutor, the impeachment of the President (target 5) seemed like a slap on the wrist, his term was almost up.
The romance between City Hunter and Kim Na (played by Park Min-Young) built steadily then was iced by the City Hunter so he could focus on the final targets and revenge. This left the City Hunter alone and the story weaker by him not relying on Kim Na and Bae Shik-joong his sidekick (both characters were effectively neutered for the remainder of the series).
City Hunter had well written episodes that completely hooked me but the pacing, the writing and wrap-up decisions of last 2 episodes bothered me and downgraded my overall feelings of the series to “missed it by that much” (very good but not great). The series wrapped with a whimper not a bang. The epilogue scenes were ambiguous and left me saying – that’s it?
Problems with the final two episodes:
- The final target, the President, was weak and anti-climactic. All the other targets had done dastardly things for greed and power. The Presidents’ misdeeds did not have any impact. The President was neither villain nor hero, but rather blah and non-descript. If a villain isn’t compelling it drags the story down. The story the President told of stealing lunch money and not being able to admit the wrong doing when confronted, seemed to repeat itself.
- The reveal that the President was City Hunter’s biological father was a non-event. This should have strongly rippled and impacted the characters – but no, it didn’t.
- Having target 4 (Chun Jae-man) escape (who was the inside man that did that?) after City Hunter delivered him to the Prosecutor Kim Young-joo was annoying. Revenge on target 4 took too long and consumed too much of the series energy.
- Killing the prosecutor Kim Young-joo was unnecessary and harsh. It seemed to leave a shell-shocked pall on all the characters in the finale episode. The out-side-the-law City Hunter needs his sworn-to-uphold-the-law counterpart Prosecutor (e.g. Batman and Commissioner Gordon).
- The epilogue was short and ambiguous, leaving a negative last impression of the series. Why did the mother and Bae Shik-joong move to America? Did City Hunter and Kim Na Na get together? Throughout the series City Hunter stated he wanted to be able to achieve a normal life after the revenge was complete – did he? The City Hunter said that he’d come back to Kim Na Na and Kim Na Na said she’d wait for him. Did City Hunter continue as a vigilante with Kim Na Na waiting at home with dinner for him? If so, was his father’s sacrifice, declaring himself City Hunter, wasted?
It’s Alright by Yang Hwa Jin Band
- You and I by Rainbow
- Suddenly by Gim Bo Gyeong
- Sa Rang by Im Jai Beom
- I Only Look For You by Bag Gyu Ri
I Love You, I Want You, I Need You by Apple Mango
- Can’t Stop by Son Han Byeol
- The Man You Want Me to Be by Hunter
Favorite Songs from the OST in my YouTube Playlist (link or embedded below)