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The Second Half of The City Hunter.

The first half of the City Hunter series really explores the differences in perceptions of revenge.  The father wants the 5 officials assassinated outright whereas the City Hunter wants them to suffer a fate worse than death by publically exposing their corruption, humiliation and eventual imprisonment.

Episodes 10-20 are essentially a race between the City Hunter and his father to find the identity of the responsible officials and how to deal with them; that is, outright murder as the father wants versus the public humiliation and the subsequent fall from grace leading to a “fate worse than death” as advocated by the son.

There are many sub-plots involving the City Hunter’s love with Kim Na Na, a member of the Korean Secret Service that the father is trying to end (even going so far as to try to kill her) because he believes that it will distract the City Hunter from his mission of revenge.

Also, a young aggressive prosecutor is hot on the trail of the City Hunter and his father, knowing who they are but unable to prove it.  To further his problems, the City Hunter is becoming a Robin Hood type hero of the Korean people bringing the corrupt to justice literally gift wrapping them for the authorities.

The City Hunters methods are meticulous and obviously the result of a highly trained Special Forces soldier.  He always has an alibi at a hotel near any missions he must accomplish and has all angles covered from prepared incriminating materials and multiple escape routes.

Here the City Hunter discovers massive embezzlement by the secretary of education who has been hoarding money meant to be distributed to the students to make tuition more affordable.  Well the City Hunter wants it back so he can return it to the students, but so does his father for other reasons.  The Clip is a fine example of the competition between the two to take revenge.

In this next clip the City Hunter publicly exposes the corrupt official while his son is accepting an award for his efforts.  Talk about a fall from grace, the timing could not have been better.  Humiliating both father and son alike for their reprehensible conduct.

One of the remaining officials has become a captain of industry and operates a chemical plant that is slowly killing its workers while denying any responsibility.  Well the City Hunter is determined to prove that the chemical cornerstone of this corporate empire operates in violation of law and thus give the employees the evidence they need to pursue their claims for the resulting life threatening side effects.  While the City Hunter’s father is using the money as bait for the financially troubled corporation so he can later hang them out to dry.

The father even goes so far as to let the President know that he can get to him.  At a lunch for Korea’s industrial leaders, Steve Lee calmly eats his lunch while the President (who is one of the responsible officials) gets shot with a paint bullet.  Showing just how serious Steve Lee is intent on revenge.

The race between the father son team and their resulting styles continues for the remainder of the episodes.  However, I will not spoil it the ending for you.  This is a must see and even appears on the Net Flix instant watch so it is not a difficult series to watch.

We here at JPFmovies assert that the City Hunter it is a fine example of how Asian programing has clearly surpassed the sludge churned out by our domestic entertainment industry.  How the Asians got there I am not sure, but I have acquired several resources on the subject and will keep you updated as my research continues.

There is no excuse not to watch the City Hunter, you have easy access to the series via Net Flix complete with subtitles and I hope it will confirm my theories about where entertainment is going versus where it has been.

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Movie Reviews

 

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South Korea’s Dramas Have Come a Long Way and May Very Well Lead the Pack in Quality and Originality. Apropos The City Hunter (2012) Part 1.

The “Rangoon Incident” a Little History

On October 9, 1983, then South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan was on an official visit to Rangoon, the capital of Burma.  During the visit he planned to lay a wreath at the Martyrs’ Mausoleum to commemorate Aung San, who founded the independent Burma and was assassinated in 1947.  While the president’s staff and advance team began assembling at the mausoleum, one of three concealed bombs in the roof exploded.  The immense blast ripped through the crowd below, killing 21 people and seriously wounding 46 others.  The explosion killed three senior South Korean politicians: foreign minister Lee Beom-seok; economic planning minister and deputy prime minister, Suh Suk Joon; and minister for commerce and industry, Kim Dong Whie.  Fourteen Korean presidential advisers, journalists, and security officials were killed; 4 Burmese nationals, including 3 journalists, were also among the dead.  President Chun was saved only because his car had been delayed in traffic and was only minutes from arriving at the memorial.  The bomb was reportedly detonated early because the presidential bugle which signaled Chun’s arrival mistakenly rang out a few minutes ahead of schedule.

A North Korean army major and two captains were suspected and caught.  They revealed that they had slipped off a ship docked in Yangon port, and had received the explosives in a North Korean diplomatic pouch.  Two of the three attackers attempted to commit suicide by blowing themselves up with a hand grenade that same day, but survived and were arrested.  The third suspect, a major from North Korean Army, went missing, but was hunted down by the Burmese Army.  The major confessed his mission and links to North Korea to avoid the death sentence receiving life imprisonment.  His colleague was executed by hanging.  North Korea denied any links to the incident and even today in the face of massive evidence continues to deny any involvement in the atrocity.

As a result of the bombing, Burma suspended diplomatic relations with North Korea.  Chinese officials refused to meet or even talk with North Korean officials for months.  South Korea, under pressure from the United States, did not retaliate with anything other than heated rhetoric.

Why is this important?  Because that is the scary, but true, backdrop for The City Hunter series.

The 20 episode series begins at the Rangoon bombing and fictionalizes a South Korean military retaliation hatched by five South Korean official’s code-named “Operation Cleansweep.”  The objective was to enter North Korea and kill several top members of the North’s high military command.  Two Presidential Security Service bodyguards and best friends Lee Jin-pyo (Kim Sang-joong) and Park Moo-yul (Park Sang-min) who were at the bombing, organize a 21-man team for the mission.  While the team effectively eliminates its targets in Pyongyang, the five officials abandon the plan in midstream to avoid an international crisis if the mission is discovered.  They fear that the United States will remove nuclear protection if the mission is made public as Seoul officially declared that it will not retaliate.

Though their mission is a total success, as the troops are escaping by swimming from Nampo to a Navy submarine, snipers from the friendly vessel open fire on their own soldiers.  Park, who is already injured, takes several bullets to save Lee.  Lee, the sole survivor, swims back to shore and returns to South Korea, where he finds out that the assault team’s service and personal records have been erased.

Obsessed with avenging his fallen comrades, Lee Jin-pyo kidnaps Moo-yul’s infant son.  He runs to the Golden Triangle (an area in Southeast Asia second only to Afghanistan in opium production) to raise the child as a trained killer and instrument of his revenge.

Fast forward a number of years later, Yoon-sung, after successfully finishing his college years and attaining a doctorate from MIT, returns to South Korea to implement the plans for revenge against the five officials who murdered the soldiers.  He finds a job at the South Korea’s Blue House as an IT expert.  Obviously making him privy to vast amounts of intelligence and information that could be valuable in discovering and punishing the five officials behind the aborted mission.

The 20 episode series walks us through the trials and tribulations of finding and taking revenge on the responsible officials.

Let’s talk a little bit about why I think South Korea’s (and in general Asian) TV dramas have surpassed the shows pumped out for the U.S. market.

Anyone who knows us here at JPFmovies knows that we quit watching all American live-regular programing (including cable) years ago and went to an all movie all the time format for entertainment-this includes selected U.S. TV series that we do like, but have a policy of only watching via DVD or electronically.  Why?  The reason is very simple.  Several years ago we were watching regularly scheduled programming and realized that the shows were actually making us feel stupider.  Cliché plots, programs that have dragged on way past their useful lives and commercials finally pushed us over the edge, something had to be done.  The switch was made and thus began the search for viable alternatives.

Already conditioned to subtitles, the JPFmovie personnel was forced to migrate to series and films produced in Asia.  Unlike their American counterparts, the Asian’s limit the number of episodes is limited and pre-determined-typically in the range of 4, 10 or 20 shows.  That is it.  The show ends, the viewer gets closure and the series does not suffer a slow painful death.  So you know going in what to expect, the show is not dependent on ratings.  Also, Asian shows are often a melding of history and fiction i.e. The City Hunter, starts off with a real event and moves forward from there.  It is a refreshing change from either America’s cops and robbers or your “fish out of water” stories.  For JPFmovie personnel at least our loyalty has changed.  Ask yourself this, when was the last time an American series went out on top?

Well that ends the complaining for now; stay tuned for The City Hunter Part 2 and more on Asia vs. American TV.

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2013 in Movie Reviews

 

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