Tag Archives: awesome drama

Cruel City: Episode 10-20/ Overall thoughts

17 Oct

Cruel City was an unexpected treat that allowed us to find our love of dramas again after a dormant summer of indifference.

So good!

We won’t be blinded by the hotness that is Jung Kyung Ho and declare this drama a masterpiece. We’ll be honest, although the first half of the drama was significantly better, the conclusion felt rushed. The script ran out of steam and concluded in a lazy way.

This drama is better than that; we saw it in the first half. We know exactly how tight and well crafted the drama’s script can be, so we’re a little disappointed that it couldn’t maintain that standard all the way through. Don’t get us wrong, the second half was still strong and we don’t regret tuning in or completing the drama. It’s just that when you’ve use to eating steak, it’s hard to go back to spam!

Things that didn’t work for us:

Soo Min and Shi Hyun’s relationship:

As hopeless romantics of the worst kind, we were hoping for something epic, with lots of angst and drama. However, we got a romance that didn’t quite feel natural. They had the potential of having amazing chemistry and despite the fact that they slept together pretty much immediately, the rest of their relationship fizzled out quite quickly. We think that their relationship could have been utilised better but it sadly got bogged down in all the action. In the end, it felt rushed and dare we say it… pointless. The drama didn’t really focus enough attention on them and by the end of it; we didn’t really care about how they felt for each other. We think that if this was a lesser drama in other aspects, we would have been more disappointed and maybe not have even bothered completing it. However, the characters were so well developed and the rest of the storyline was so engrossing that we’re able to forgive and forget.

The Big bad:

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Oh dear. We had such high hopes for the conclusion and the revelation of the big bad of the drama but instead we were left thoroughly disappointed by the convenient and rushed finale. The sudden and drastic downfall of Hong Ki felt so forced. Literally every episode leading up to the episode 17+ showed him as cool, calm and collected and then suddenly he turned into a complete lunatic out to kill. The writing is better than that. In our opinion, the drama should have slowly shown his character/ actions unravel and built on his villain status but instead it came out of left field and left us rolling our eyes in disappointment. It was like the writer went with the easy, safe option and wrapped the drama up in a pretty bow that aimed to please the masses.

Things we loved:

The complicated relationships between EVERYONE!

The drama did so well in developing so many gray relationships that were complicated, intense and incredibly fascinating. The characters were all unique and well developed in their own right. There were few characters that were pointless or made you want to scream at your TV screen.  Frankly for a K-drama that is quite impressive alone as there is ALWAYS one character that you want to die a horrible death! For us, the ability to build so many relationships and make us viewers care about all of them is a true testament to the quality of the writing in this drama.

We loved being thrown into this very believable and authentic reality of drugs, gangs and of course undercover cops. The bleak but realistic representation of this world was developed so well. As viewers we could see the good and the bad sides of living this type of life. The drama did well in presenting a reality which didn’t just show the stereotypes of violence, drugs and murder but also showed how these people are a unit, loyal and protective of their own. We also like how the drama presented an alternative type of family, love and friendship to what we’re use to seeing. For a crime drama with a dash of romance, Cruel City sure had a lot of heart. The relationships may have been complicated and ugly but we knew that they were important and these characters loved/ hated each other fiercely – sometimes at the same time.

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A key example is the epic relationship between Shi Hyun and Safari. In terms of relationships, theirs couldn’t get more complicated. Safari was a father figure that saw Shi Hyun grow up and become a man, they were also love rivals in a twisted, sad way and importantly they were both undercover cops that were in so deep that as viewers we knew quickly in the drama that there was no happy ending for either of them. Safari represented all that Shi Hyun wanted to avoid becoming. We love the fact that they were both on opposite sides of the fence; rivals and enemies but at the same time they had this openly personal relationship that was shown in the drama. They cared for each other on a fundamental level. It hurt Safari to see Shi Hyun get beaten up but this was the world that they lived in to survive. Due to their multi layered relationship, Safari’s death was emotionally charged and really resonated with us. The thing that got us at a gut level was that: Shi Hyun’s life was so pathetic that he loved and grieved for a man that spent the majority of the drama trying to kill him.  We just adored the fact that their feelings weren’t black and white. More dramas need to have relationships like theirs.

Thank you Drama for respecting us:

The drama was complicated with different perspectives, angles and multiple storylines and at no point did we groan because the drama was treating us like dumb idiots that couldn’t keep up with the pace. It’s a rare drama that respects its audience enough to just go for it and tell a story.

We also appreciate the fact that all the key players in the drama were playing on an even playing field. Hurray, for a drama that allows the good guys to keep up with the bad guys. Not only were the police right in the middle of all the action, they even won a few times and we have to say we were so pleased. It’s so stereotypical for the cops to be constantly chasing the bad guys. We like how they were intelligent and efficient enough to keep up and earn our respect.

Yes, we fangirled all over Jung Kyung Ho’s portrayal of Shi Hyun but we also loved Lee Jae Yoon’s Hyung Min. He was wonderful as the the emotional, ethically ambiguous and smart cop out to get revenge of the death of his OTP. Time and time again, we were impressed by how awesome he was in the drama. We cared for him on a gut level. We saw him do a 360 degree transformation as the broken, emotional cop that became colder, smarter and more ruthless.

A woman in a man’s world:

Criticism that we’ve heard about this drama is the fact that it lacks the presence of any strong women. In our opinion we have to disagree. Jin Sook is a prime example of a strong female holding her own in a very male dominated world. She was presented as someone that was feared and respected by her rivals without sacrificing her femininity. In fact her appearance meant that she was constantly underestimated and had to show her worth on a daily bases.

Her relationship with Shi Hyun was ambiguous in the sense that we were never quite sure what she wanted it to be. Was she a mother figure or did she love him in a romantic way? Ultimately she wanted the best for him and was his constant support in a world that had few allies.

A scene we adored most in the drama was the moment where Shi Hyun confessed that he was an undercover cop and she simply held him and acknowledged how hard it must have been for him. Between watching Shi Hyun emotionally break down and seeing the extent of how much Jin Sook loved him, we were left with a lump in our throats. It was such an intense but uplifting moment that was simply wonderful viewing.  

She’s so badass!

Her relationship with Soo Min was also really interesting to watch. It felt like Soo Min was on a tightrope and at any moment Jin Sook was going to push her off if she made the wrong move. We often found ourselves sitting at the edge of our seats wondering exactly how their interactions would play out. Maybe it’s because we’ve been programmed to expect the worse but we kept waiting for Jin Sook to betray Soo Min and when it didn’t happen we were pleasantly surprised. We loved how their relationship slowly developed and even when she realised that Soo Min loved Shi Hyun, she accepted it and put aside her happiness for the sake of those she loves.

Bromance: Come on, it’s not a drama without some!

Shi Hyun and Soo had such a lovely bromance. Considering the OTP’s romance was inadequate and rushed, we felt the writers did well in developing and showcasing a really sweet friendship between these two characters. Shi Hyun loved Soo like a brother; enough to risk his life again and again in the drama. We liked how Soo was his confidant, his support network and his best bud all rolled into one. They had each other’s backs and despite Soo finding out that Shi Hyun had lied to him for years, he still protected him with his life.

Loved them!

Although what was up with Soo’s fashion sense?? 

Final thoughts:

Despite the fact that we could ramble endlessly about how awesome the drama is, we think it’s best we stop while we’re ahead.

For us, this drama was addictive, slick, smart and emotional. We adored the amazing stunts, the acting, and of course the wonderful script. Forget the fact that it’s a revenge/ cop drama. This drama is really about two men that loved and lost the same woman and their desperate desire to ensure her death wasn’t in vain.

This drama is all heart.

How good it is: 9/10

How much we liked it: 9.5/10 – Soooooo close.

Would we recommend this drama? Heck yeah, what are you waiting for!?