[K-DRAMA] Heartless City (2013)

warning: may contain spoilers

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The world is like a mirror. If you curse at it, the world will follow and curse back. But if you smile, the world will also smile with you.

Heartless City is a crime action drama that revolves around undercover agents and drug organisations. Yoon Soo Min is an ordinary girl who works in a convenient store until she learns about the death of her policewoman sister, Lee Kyung Mi. Leader of the special unit force, Ji Hyung Min hires Soo Min to be an undercover agent to find the killer and get revenge. The accused culprit  is named “Doctor’s Son or Paksa Ui Adeul”, supposedly a leader of a drug distributor organisation. As she goes deeper into this world, she realises that the man she loves is the Doctor’s Son. What’s behind the mask of the name “Doctor’s Son”? Watch this drama as Soo Min finds out the secrets of him and among the members of the organisation.

I watched this drama without any idea about the actors, genre and the plot. It’s a good thing that I didn’t skip this because after watching the first episode, I had fallen in love with this drama.

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The script was realistically written and I loved the fact that the conversations were written with depth and content. It’s not a drama that can be watched with a light heart. There’s completely no funny or comedy element in it. There’s romance, but it’s very very minimal. It mostly dwelled on conversations and action scenes. It strongly falls under the action genre. I loved the fact that the characters freely cursed and used guns and knives without hesitation. It’s a good idea that this drama revolved around gangsters and particularly the drug world — an undeniable fact that almost every country has. I mean, we may not know many drug dealers, or drug users, but I’m sure there are more out there than what we know. Aside from the drug world, it also involved politicians, polices and district attorneys. If you really have power and influence, it’s like having everything. People easily get away with money. Corruption is already part of the system and there’s no way you can remove it. It’s actually disturbing to know about these things, but it’s the sad truth. This drama is a constant reminder to us that the world is not all about butterflies and rainbows, but there’s a whole lot more to it.

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This drama requires the audience to think and not to be fooled by the characters. It’s important to pay attention even to the most little detail. Most of the scenes were necessary and not just placed there to kill time like other dramas. I didn’t feel it was draggy nor boring, because it entails one to think about the next happening. I also loved the way how each of the episode ended, because every episode was definitely a cliff-hanger. I always finished the episode with my mouth opened, because of the endless revelations revealed that I didn’t really expect. It’s a good thing that I watched this drama after it aired. It means that I watched it continuously or marathon-mode, and not waiting for the next episode the next day or the next week. Because waiting is an agony.

I love how the scriptwriters come up with each of the characters. It makes the audience confused whether the character is an angel or devil. I’m not familiar with any of the actors in this drama, but I learned to love them all. I don’t know if it was a great idea not to hire “idols” or not. I mean all of these actors are purely actors and not from any idol group or not from the A-list of actors. Popular or not, I knew that all of them did an incredible job to portray their characters. I love all the cast members, from the lead actors to the supporting and even the extras. Yes, even Wooden Stick. If only I can mention them all in here..

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Jung Kyung Ho as Jung Shi Hyun / Doctor’s Son — Wow. All I can say is wow. Why did I not know this guy earlier? Kyung Ho’s portrayal of Doctor’s Son or Pak Sa Ui Adeul is simply breathtaking. He is an amazing actor and I thought that he should have been more popular. He was super charismatic and attractive in this drama with his badass character especially when there were fighting and action scenes. I also loved the close-up scenes when he’s thinking deeply.He’s a fast thinker and he’s always one step faster than the police. Moreover, I also loved the touching scenes during the last few episodes. This guy could really cry, and it doesn’t matter if he doesn’t look good on screen, the emotions were there and that’s what’s most important. I also loved the fact that regardless of his hairstyle, he still looked good. Unlike other actors who must have bangs always, Kyung Ho looks good with or without bangs or fringe! With bangs, he looked cute and like a little boy while when he’s without bangs, he really looked hot and ready for some action! I must say that I became a fan of him after watching this drama. I’m currently searching about his past dramas, and maybe give it a try. Really an underrated actor. He deserves to be in the limelight.

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Nam Gyu Ri as Yoon Soo Min — A love-hate relationship with this female lead. I haven’t seen any of her dramas (yes, I haven’t watched 49 Days yet) but there’s something about her that annoys me. It could be because of Soo Min’s character. Well yeah, a badass drama always comes with a pretty leading lady, but she should be there to soften the heart of Doctor’s Son. I really consider Gyuri as a muse in this drama, as I felt that she lacked something to be a called a female lead. Maybe her acting skills?

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I was kind of hoping that I could see more chemistry between the two lead actors — Doctor’s Son and Soo Min. It’s funny because Soo Min calls Doctor’s Son as Ajusshi (middle-aged man). I mean, just how old is Doctor’s Son? Is he really that old? Or does he really look old? Soo Min never called him Oppa even if she confessed that she likes him. But anyway, Soo Min also calls Ji Hyung Min Ajusshi.

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Lee Jae Yoon as Ji Hyung Min — I really thought that he was the male lead in this drama. He was exactly different from Pak Sa with regards to their looks, body built and even personality. But, I must say that this contrast was a great combination. I really liked Jae Yoon’s portrayal of Ji Hyung Min. A policeman who serves justice. He’s really an angel all along and I never considered him to be a bad guy. He’s really the policeman that we really wish to have in our society. Great acting by the way!

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Son Chang Min as Min Hong Ki — Ugh. The start and end of everything. He used everyone for his own good. I used to think he was all goody goody, but I never thought that he could be as clever as Pak Sa, or even more clever than him. I was really tricked by him. This familiar actor that I’ve seen in other dramas has acted this role in a convincing way.

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Yoon Hyun Min as Kim Hyun Soo — Soo really caught my attention in this drama with his neon-colored slash flashy clothes. All other men wore black chic suits while he’s wearing different coloured suits yet he can still be classy. I really admire his friendship with Pak Sa until the very last episode. It’s really heartbreaking yet touching to see that last scene with the two of them together. It’s one of my favourite scenes in this drama and also one of my favourite friendships in Korean dramas.

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Go Na Eun as Lee Kyung Mi — At first, I really thought that she was the female lead, not until she died on the 4th episode. She isn’t the prettiest, but she’s suitable to be a female lead. I wished that she didn’t die too early, because I wanted to see her interactions with Hyung Min ( I kinda ship these two) as well as her friendship with Pak Sa.

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Kim Yoo Mi as Lee Jin Sook — So by the end of the drama, I wasn’t exactly sure what her role was. Maybe, a pretty lady was required? However, I knew that she’ll always be at Shi Hyun’s side because she loves him. From their conversations, by the way she looked at Shi Hyun, I knew that she wasn’t planning to be only a noona. I liked the fact though that they allowed a woman to join the drug organisation as she was seen as a powerful woman by the men.

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Kim Jong Goo as Chairman Jo “Busan” — A supposedly respected Chairman, but I just hate everything that he does. His character is an example of corruption and abuse of power in the society. He sits relaxingly with the electric fan on his face inside the interrogation room, knowing that there’s always someone to save him. Or he eats blissfully, not caring about the world. Despite of his bad role, he really took the role seriously and I’m really convinced with his acting as well.

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Choi Mu Sung as Moon Deuk Bae “Safari” — Another love-hate relationship with this character. Safari Ajusshi really confused me a lot with his role as I don’t really know what’s he’s up to, whether he’s good or bad, and which side was he really on. I hated him almost during the entire drama, but finally forgave and loved him during the end after knowing his true intentions. I love his satoori accent by the way!

So you’re almost at the end of this review, and I’m mostly giving praises to everything about this drama. Well, I haven’t talked about the ending yet, so if you don’t want to read spoilers about the ending, skip this paragraph.

*** SPOILER***

The ending was kind of what I expected already, as you can see in many other action genre dramas. It took me a long time to finish the last episode, because I didn’t want to end it yet. I still wanted the drama to continue its war and fight amongst the characters. It was an ambiguous ending as we’re really not sure what happened to Doctor’s Son. The last scene during the credits part showed a man’s back talking on the phone. We can all assume that it’s Shi Hyun. I’ve read a post that said that there was a scene where Ji Hyun Min and Shi Hyun talked, but sadly it was cut out. I don’t know the reason behind this, but I wished that they just include it in the ending. Their conversations include Doctor’s Son being dead and Shi Hyun changing his name to Jung Hyun Soo, as well as flying to another country. Well, I assume a chance for season 2? Anyway, I was disappointed with the ending. Shi Hyun didn’t deserve all the pain that he had to endure these 8 years. Moreover, I wished it was wrapped up a bit nicer. I wished there was a more concrete conclusion for everyone. I guessed they ran out of time and quickly ended things, but I would love to have it extended to 1 more or a few more episodes for a better ending. A season 2 if you ask me? Yes please, because I want to see Paksa kickass again.

***END OF SPOILER***

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The music from the last part of the first episode was really intriguing that I instantly want to find out the title of song. It’s dark and rock with the singer’s husky rocker voice — perfect for a badass action drama like Heartless City. I found out that the title of this track is called “Pain” by Kim Yong Jin of Bohemian. Two other songs titled “Butterfly” by Hye Rim and “Everyday” by Jo Jung Hee are ballad tracks and sung by females. I like that it was sung in a relaxing and soothing way. These two songs are unique from other Korean OSTs as its closer to American songs. With the use of a few English words in its lyrics, I even thought it was a english song. There are only three songs and the rest seven tracks are instrumentals. These instrumentals are also well-made and fit for the scenes in the drama. This soundtrack doesn’t have a strong appeal, but once you’ve listened to each of the tracks, you’ll learn to love it as well.

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Heartless City is one of the most underrated dramas ever. If you enjoyed Iris or City Hunter, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this too. It has the almost the same genre minus the romance and “idols” plus cursing and more badass characters. I am a bit biased over action genre dramas, but this drama really showed wonderful execution. I loved everything about this drama, from the plot, characters, cinematography to its music. It’s a drama far different from the usual Korean romantic-comedy drama. It’s realistic. By far one of the best dramas this 2013 and probably in my Top 10 Korean dramas. I sincerely recommend this drama to all of you~

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Rating: 10/10

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Recommended Korean Dramas (2013) | My Asian movie & drama

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