Saturday, July 6, 2013

What I am currently watching...a Korean Crime-Thriller

Chinese dramaland has been quite boring lately after the resplendent splash Legend of Lu Zhen made on the mainland China rating radar. Therefore, I ventured into another territory - Korean dramaland. After reading so many rave reviews on different blogs and doing a little research myself, I decided to try out the cable-produced JTBC cable-produced crime thriller, Cruel City (Heartless City), starring Jung Kyung-ho.
I am now totally drawn to Cruel City, particularly to the devilishly suave undercover cop disguising as gang boss, Jung Shi-hyun or also known as Doctor's Son in the drug ring. Jung Kyung-ho may not be the drop-dead-gorgeous Korean actor at first sight, but he definitely has heart-throbbing acting skills! As an actor, he has always given me this boyish vibe. I previously watched him played the tormented Prince Hodong in Ja Myung Go and caught glimpses of his performance as as a spoiled brat in Sorry, I Love You. But Jung Kyung-ho's  Cruel City brings his acting talent to a whole new level. He manages to discard his boyish shell and don this debonair gentleman aura for his character, Jung Shi-hyun. I can't help myself but appreciate Jung Kyung-ho for giving life to this fascinating character.
Doesn't Jung Shi-hyun remind you of Mo Shaoqian?
Jung Shi-hyun is a mixed blend of Mo Shaoqian's reserved coolness and Tony Leung's undercover identity in Infernal Affairs. In essence, he reminds me of a mafia version of Mo Shaoqian minus the revenge factor but add in the kick-ass physical prowess. In dramaland, I always have a soft heart for conflicting but intelligently reserved male characters in nicely groomed tailored suits. Hot-tempered and morbidly inane male characters are  major turn-offs.  Shi-hyun definitely fits the profile of a dark, brooding, complex, meticulous character  struggling to survive in a dangerous world and to cope with his conflicting identities. One wrong move can mean death for Shi-hyun. Consequently, his actions are often carefully calculated. He does not have unnecessary pride to cloud his judgement and his temperament is like this...calm even under distressing circumstances.


To add a little extra spice into this crime-thriller, a "forbidden" love story subsidiary to the main plot is also materializing in this drama. "Forbidden" because Shi-hyun's love interest is an undercover rookie, Soo Min. She is going undercover to capture the elusive and mysterious crime boss "Doctor's Son." However, Doctor's Son is Shi-hyun's alias and Shi-hyun is actually an uncover cop as well. In essence, the "forbidden" factor is theatrically crafted. Think there are too many undercover cops? Well...There are more to come!
Groofy and innocent Soo Min never expected the man who saved her life on two accounts is the same man whom she would sacrifice all to hunt down.
Just a little caveat, if you are piqued by the idea of romance existing between "crime boss" and an undercover agent, I strongly advise you to keep your expectations low. The focus of this drama is mainly on the internal power struggle in the underground drug world and the police waggling their way in the hot mess to figure out who to actually arrest. In the first ten episodes, the number of scenes featuring Soo Min and Shi-hyun together is less than the fingers on our hands. Below is a brief summary of their brief interactions:

Scene #1 - Soo Min and Shi-hyun both shows up at the same place but do not even exchange eye contact.
Scene #2 - An injured Shi-hyun saves Soo Min from an attempted armed robbery at a convenient store.
Scene #3 - A vivacious Soo Min stops at nothing to learns more about her mysterious rescuer. She invites himself into his car and invites herself into his life by saving her contact info on his cell phone.
Scene #4 - Shi-hyun runs into a dressed up Soo Min outside a night club. Shi-hyun seems to mistaken her for a female escort.
Scene #5 - Soo Min calls Shi-hyun out for a drink. Somehow their physical attraction is soooo strong that they ended up in bed together.

I don't think I ever watched a Korean drama where the OTP's relationship progresses at such an "unique" rate. LOL. The one-night stand was totally unexpected. I did not imagine the OTP to start their relationship with physical intimacy. But hey, I should not complain since the scene was nicely shot. It's definitely one of the better choreographed bed scenes in Asian television. You can take a brief glimpse HERE.


Soo Min is confused by Shi-hyun's coldness after their one-night stand




"Wound" MV featuring scenes from Ep.1-8


Related Links:
Akiko'S Morning Coffee Episode Recaps
Koala's Playground Review
Samsoon Down the Rabbit Hole Review

You can watch this drama with English Subtitles on DramaFever.

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