I rarely write mid-impressions but I couldn’t help myself with Cruel City. THIS. DRAMA. IS. THE. BOMB. I can’t believe I waited this long before I decided to watch it. I managed to marathon 10 episodes in one day! It’s that addicting. The adrenaline rush and the need for each new episode are true signs of a BRILLIANT drama.
What I love about this drama is how it weaves a complicated web of deceit. There are numerous back deals done to threaten the other parties. It’s great that the tension is sustained even if it diverts to a different case. The police and the bad guys are always at par with each other. Both have victories and setbacks that make the story more believable. It’s never predictable as well thus it keeps you engaged, making you want to figure out the connections between each plot point.
Another strong point of this drama are the characters. They are so layered and rich in conflict. They have admirable traits yet they have flaws and vulnerabilities that make you understand their plight. The actors sell them to me pretty darn good because I feel for all the characters. I’m a Jung Kyung Ho fan and I can definitely say he has elevated his craft as Shi Hyun. Nam Gyu Ri has also improved and is not just another wanna-be actress. The rest of the cast are as famous but they have good acting prowess that must be commended.
I love the action scenes as well. It’s movie quality level! The fight scenes are intense and fluid. It’s great they don’t resort to guns and explosives that go overboard. Not to mention, it makes the production budget go out of proportion. The cinematography has very dark tones that suit the mood of the drama. The way the camera moves is pretty nice as well since it doesn’t focus on just one actor but instead immerses us in the world of Cruel City.
This noir piece was described as a revenge piece that revolves around Soo Min acting as an undercover to get back at Doctor’s Son for killing her unni, Gyung Mi. Hyung Min, Gyung Mi’s fiance is helping Soo Min out in this mission. That’s how it was marketed from the get go but it’s really more than that. I suggest if you have not yet watched up to episode 10 to avoid reading the stuff below because there’s lots of spoilers. You have been warned. Anyway, I just want to put some points that I found quite striking out in the open. 😀
I actually didn’t know where to begin writing this portion. There’s just so many details that are so carefully laid out. But of course, it still has some flaws. I found the timelines when Chief Min and Safari dated Jin Sook unclear. They both did love her at some point but I’m not sure if there was overlap. I also don’t know why Jin Sook decided to raise Shi Hyun. Why was Shi Hyun that valuable to her? And if he really was, why was there a point in time he had to go to the orphanage? I don’t dwell too much on these questions because that’s the set-up. Also, there’s a lot of content to keep you from focusing on these minor quibbles.
Shi Hyun’s character might be one of the best written ones ever. I thought was playing the bad guy in the beginning. An anti-hero who wants to change for the better. Errr, no. I was totally thrown off guard to find out he was an undercover cop. Such genius! He’s a good guy who has to bend to evil just to get a greater good. The mission assigned to him is so difficult to handle. Not just protecting his identity, but the extent that the choices he makes goes. He is entangled in the darkness because of his connection with Jin Sook and Soo. Even if they met in rather shady circumstances, he treats them as true family and friends. Inasmuch as he wants to keep protecting them, he can’t do so all the time because what both of them are doing is wrong. He wants to them to leave so he can eventually leave that the darkness he is in.
Just when you think this dude has enough problems already, Soo Min’s budding friendship and potential romance comes in to distract him. It’s great how Shi Hyun does not fall into the dichotomy of first love with Gyung Mi. Instead Gyung Mi serves as an unknowing connection between the two. Shi Hyun and Soo Min are one of the best OTPs I’ve come across. They are so similar to each other that their lives practically mirror each other. They are both orphans who both think that the world is unfair. They are both in undercover missions. Although their difference is how Soo Min can be considered an incomplete version of Shi Hyun’s persona right now. Soo Min is rather clueless and still inept for an undercover agent whereas Shi Hyun had years of training and infiltration before he could make the name Doctor’s Son known. At the same time, Soo Min still has that cheery and optimistic outlook in life which Shi Hyun has totally lost. I think Soo Min is the path he has to redemption and getting out of this mess if she doesn’t lose herself along the way. When they slept with each other for the first time, I could feel all the loneliness bottled up in the both of them. They’re both very lonely people trying to sort out their problems.
I really want Shi Hyun and Soo Min to fall in love but I think Soo Min is actually in love with Hyung Min. It’s just awful how Hyung Min uses her as tool for his revenge. He’s really jerky and irresponsible for letting his pain over the lost of Gyung Mi cloud his decision. On the other hand, there are hints that Shi Hyun and Jin Sook’s relationship is not the typical adoptive mother-son. There’s some sexual chemistry but I think it’s nothing more than the fact that Shi Hyun grew up in an environment where playing the entertainer was the only way to survive. He cares for his aunt a great deal because they were together in such tough times.
At this point of the drama, there is still a lot that can happen to change all these perceptions of mine. But one thing’s for sure I can’t wait to see how this all ends. I heard that it was a talked about ending. I hope it’s for all the right reasons. I would hate a good drama get ruined by some lame ass ending.