[Recap] City Hunter Episode 1

Here is the link for the City Hunter Episode 2 Recap

[Recap] City Hunter Episode 1

Hello everyone, this will be my first drama recap! Honestly I was anticipating “City Hunter” for a while as a big fan of the original manga/anime. For me Korean dramas were usually what my mother would be watching as she finished up laundry, plots filled with deaths, cancers, secrets of someone’s birth, and love triangles. After “Iris” though I began to think differently because that show was pretty much a movie in its own right! “Athena” wasn’t as great… Anyways I’ll stop talking about me and get on with the analysis!

First of all, a brief background on “City Hunter.” Imagine a perverted Han Solo as a gun for hire set in the 80s of Tokyo and you have “City Hunter’s” main character, Ryo Saeba, a mercenary with a heart of gold and a weak spot for beautiful women. What we knew before the first episode of the “City Hunter” drama is that, kind of like Batman Begins, it would be a story about how the main character becomes “Ryo Saeba.” After watching the first episode I was intrigued by the contrast, this new TV series was much darker and more sinister than the original manga/anime. Now let’s get on with the recap!

Because the names will get long and annoying, I’ll be using abbreviations for the characters.

Lee Yoon Sung (Played by Lee Min Ho): Yoon Sung

Kim Na Na (Played by Park Min Young): Nana

Lee Jin Pyo (Played by Kim Sang Joong): JP

Bae Shik Joong (Played by Kim Sang Ho): Bald dude

Park Mu Yeol (Played by Park Sang Min, The guy who is Lee Min Ho’s biological father): PMH


The first scene is of a pregnant woman giving birth (Probably to Lee Min Ho’s character Yoon Sung). This scene interchanges with scenes from Burma in 1983. Now a brief history for you guys, the setting in Burma was an actual incident called “The Rangoon Bombing.” There was an assassination attempt against the then South Korean President Chun Doo-Hwan allegedly orchestrated by North Korea.

Two agents (PMH and JP) are together and they seem to be waiting for the president. The cars that were arriving looked authentically 80’s and RUH OH! A bomb is in the building!!

The moment the car got close, BOOM! The bomb went off killing many. An explosive start if I should say so myself, you can never go wrong starting off with a bang.

Yoon Sung is born while the two agents are shocked and looking on at the dead bodies. As the once-pregnant woman was being sent to recovery, the news was being played in the background, talking about the Burma bombing incident.

The once pregnant lady was in shock, pointing to the fact that PMH or JP was the father of the child. There were “real clips” of the past that were tied into the episode, giving it more authenticity.

Scene change again, with 5 important looking people planning on what they should do. (Hereafter, the “Group of Five”) They figured out that the assassination attempt was orchestrated by North Korea. They were all angry and yelling, and then finally Choi Eung Chan grimly said “let’s retaliate!” (One member didn’t seem to happy)

Choi Eung Chan appeared again now in front of the two agents telling them about the “Wipe out Mission.” Not even the president knew about this plan, and it would have agents infiltrating North Korea and killing thirty (military?) officials.  

As the two agents were driving back, JP asks PMH “Are you going to do it?” and PMH replies, “We just can’t stand by.” JP told PMH to lay off this mission, as he had a family to think about.

The two finally arrive at the hospital and PMH sees his wife and son. JP gave the wife flowers basically saying good job. She said, “Thank you for coming back alive.” She was worried after hearing the news, and JP said, “You didn’t worry about me at all did you?” with PMH answering, “Why would my wife worry about you.” With a little bit of more banter, JP said he would leave while PMH said that he would join him. (RUH OH) PMH told his wife that he would have to go somewhere, she was concerned asking if it would be dangerous. PMH said “Don’t worry, I will come back to you and our son.” (-_- A promise he obviously doesn’t keep)

The next scenes depicted the planning part of the mission. The two agents started to assemble a team of Korean bad boys. Now they were starting to explain the battle plan. The plan was basically to dress up as North Koreans kill everyone and return by submarine.. The main dude (Choi Eung Chan) appeared again sending them off by instilling them with national pride. He promised that he would “put his life on the line to ensure that everyone would return safely.” 

The team infiltrated Pyongyang and the killing spree began. Everyone seemed to be using knives.

Amidst all the killing the scene changed back to Seoul with Choi Eung Chan looking agitated (RUH OH!) The president seemed to disagree with the plan and it looked like the mission members wouldn’t return safely.

During the mission PMH got stabbed but JP was right there to save him.

The scene changed again to Choi Eung Chan being angry with the other 5 people. Blah Blah Blah Blah, giving political reasons and Choi Eung Chan being angry. Basically the other five were worried about the repercussions and also the political implications. The final line, was that if the world learned about their devious plan, Korea would probably have to sacrifice more. (Meaning, Korea would probably lose more than just the people on the mission)

Scene changes back to the mission, with both JP and PMH at a beach. Their rescue submarine arrived and the mission team began to swim towards it. But surprise surprise the moment the door opened, shots began to fire. They began to get shot one by one, with JP screaming “Why?! Why?! We’re on the same side!!!”

As the members are getting shot by South Koreans (People on their own side), PMH meets eyes with the shooter and shoves JP down into the water to get shot instead. PMH said the moment he was stabbed he knew he would die. PMH asks JP to take care of his wife and son. He says his last words, “I loved you my friend” and dies with a last sigh.

The CG or special effects were pretty cool, deep inside the water. JP touched PMH for one last time before pushing his body away. JP gave his salute to the body drifting away. JP swims back ashore with eyes that scream “MURDER!!!”

The scene changed back to the five important people, with Choi Eung Chan sinking in the news of the death of all those people. He was probably feeling guilty as hell as well. Next he was shown sitting down with another one of the “Group of Five.” He was being told that all the evidence was destroyed.

As the other “Group of Five” member left, Choi Eung Chan suddenly had a knife at his neck. JP had returned! A line he said was pretty memorable, he had seen all these national flowers everywhere that his nose became all irritated. (Alluding to the fact that he felt betrayed by his country)

JP says, “I have come to take the life you promised.” Choi Eung Chan was obviously sorry and he gave a few excuses but later told JP to just kill him.

The moment JP was about to stab him, somebody was calling for Choi Eung Chan. JP vanished with a note left on the desk, pinned with a knife. It read, “I will come to reap the twenty lives lost due to my nation’s betrayal.”

JP went to visit PMH’s wife and son, he was watching them.. Dogs were barking and as she looked, her son had disappeared. JP had abducted him. He left a note with the truth about everything that had happened. “PMH died, I will take the child, you will only be happy without him. Have a new start, please be happy. (Kind of strange that he just abducts the kid, but we knew this would happen through the different previews)

JP takes the child and leaves on a boat. As he looks at a picture of him, PMH and the wife together he thinks to himself. ‘I will call the child Lee Yoon Sung, and I will commit the world’s worst vengeance, because that will be the only reason for living. Up to this point, we witnessed the background of Yoon Sung’s birth.

Jump ahead 10 years in a Southeast Asian country in the Golden triangle. JP had become a drug lord. (Probably to finance his vengeance plot) JP is shown to have changed and become merciless. He shoots a guy who sold drugs to Korea, because he broke JP’s rule.

We finally get to see young Yoon Sung, as he is practicing shooting a gun. JP is extremely stern and harsh on the kid.

Another scene with Yoon Sung practicing martial arts, and as it rains JP screams “Is that all you got? Do it correctly!”

When Yoon Sung is back home, he opens a drawer to look at a picture (the picture of the JP, PMH, PMH’s wife, and Choi Eung Chan. JP goes, “What are you doing, give it to me” and Yoon Sung asks, “Is that my mom? I wish I had a mom, why don’t I have a mom.”

JP says, “I told you that she died” and rips apart the photo.

Younger Yoon Sung runs all over the place and stops where he sees a mother with her child. The mother seemed to be saying come here, and he was lying in her lap.

The next scene shows Yoon Sung playing with an elephant and riding on top of it.

Finally the boy grows up to be the Lee Min Ho that everyone loves.

Back at drug lord JP’s base of operations, a  bomb bursts and over the radio he hears that a monkey stepped over a mine, he screams “Poo CHAI!!!” As he looks for his adopted son (Yoon Sung’s name in that country)

Yoon Sung was with other boys visiting a larger village, stealing fruit, and checking out the sights.

Yoon Sung hears someone screaming in Korean, the bald dude was about to get cut up untill Yoon Sung began to throw deadly apples!

We see the mischievous side of Yoon Sung as he beats up the thugs. He goes to the bald guy and says “Ajushee you’re Korean right? Wow so neat, I’ve never seen a Korean before.”

The bald guy is surprised as well and both of them ran away. (I think the scene with bald dude running into a snake was unnecessary and not really funny at all bleh)

Back at the crack-house-base, Yoon Sung is getting slapped by JP. The bald guy is freaking out next to him, when JP asks if the bald guy has any skills. The bald guy can cook Korean food.

Next they are shown eating Korean food. JP tells him, “The moment you try to run away, you’ll die.” Yoon Sung takes out the picture in the bald guy’s pocket and WA LA it is Kim Nana. (Park Min Young)

Yoon Sung is out shooting again when a lady is put against the target. The woman is the one who let the young Yoon Sung sleep in her lap before. Supposedly her husband stole drugs.

Yoon Sung makes a deal with JP, if he can hit the targets the lady will go free. Yoon Sung hits em and throws his gun on the ground and leaves angrily. Back at his bed he looks at the picture of Nana and talks to her. (Guess our boy was lonely)

In the next scene, the thugs that were trying to get the bald dude have returned! The moment Yoon Sung hears the click of guns, he goes all Jason Bourne and protects the bald guy.

He plays dead for a while and as the thugs close in on him, he gets up and goes all Rambo on the thugs.

The thugs end up killing the lady that Yoon Sung cherished and he briefly loses it. JP comes just in time to save Yoon Sung.

Yoon Sung runs out on his own to chase down the thugs, but oops, he steps on a mine. (Kind of silly somebody told me that mines usually just explode the moment you step on it, anyways)

JP arrives to save Yoon Sung, but the mine goes off and JP loses a big chunk of his leg.

JP is dazed but orders Yoon Sung to pull out a bullet. That bullet was the one which killed PMH, penetrated him, and was lodged into JP’s shoulder.

JP finally tells Yoon Sung the truth, “17 years ago there were 20 people who were betrayed by their country. Then your dad saved me by taking a bullet.” The reason JP lives is because he wanted to avenge the death of PMH. JP asks Yoon Sung to avenge both of them.

Yoon Sung asks JP, who killed my real father. JP answers “five people.” Yoon Sung asked, “If I kill these five people can you and I live happily together where nobody knows us?” JP nods. Then Yoon Sung asks, “I will ask one last question, is my mother alive?” JP answered, “She is alive.”

Yoon Sung has now changed his outset, he is determined. He says “Now I’m going to change, that is my destiny.”

Jump ahead 7 years later and Yoon Sung is at Incheon international airport in one of his “hunter looks.”

Once he is in his car, he receives a call from JP explaining his first target.

Yoon Sung asks the driver to stop in front of Kwang Ha Gate. He is taking everything in as JP’s voice plays in the background “Don’t love anybody, if your identity is found out, you and everyone around you will be drenched in blood.”

Behind him we can see Kim Nana giving out stuff, the two are obviously destined to meet. The end of this episode was especially rewarding for me because I got to hear Lim Jae Bum singing the O.S.T! It looks like tomorrow’s episode will be more interesting!

Final Comments

I always like seeing Kim Sang Joong act. (The guy who plays JP, the one who kidnapped Yoon Sung at a young age) He always gets that dark charismatic character spot on. This show is very intriguing because it has a vengeance plot. I guess there are going to be new targets and we will see how Yoon Sung approaches the target and takes them out. I was amazed at how the characters were developed in just one episode. Now we know how complex Yoon Sung’s character is going to be, inside he is still a young boy who wants his mommy, but he’s been raised up by a top agent with an axe to grind. Yoon Sung is also now faced with the truth about his past, how the Korean government betrayed his father and JP. That’s a lot to deal with.

I enjoyed the action scenes and liked all of the slow-motion effects, no qualms here, the quality is as good as “Iris” or even better. But, the episode was pretty slow throughout because it was setting up the background. That is understandable I guess, because the characters are pretty complex. Looks like this drama is turning out as a mix between “Bourne Identity” and “Old Boy,” I know everyone loves a good ol’ revenge plot. (Ah hah! Another similarity with “Iris”, lol) 

Here is the link for the City Hunter Episode 2 Recap

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