Cruel City

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  • Score: 8.8 (scored by 6,373 users)
  • Ranked: #90
  • Popularity: #131
  • Watchers: 14,191

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mysecretsoul
65 people found this review helpful
Jul 31, 2013
20 of 20 episodes seen
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.0
Every actor hopes his first project after mandatory service will be a hit. Jung Kyung Ho luckily can set his hopes to rest; they've been realized. Cruel City will likely stand as the best drama of 2013. Even if better appears in the coming months, nothing can take away its status as top-notch noir.

Writing for this series remained consistent and strong throughout, even maintaining good pace. Characters rarely failed to behave in an intelligent manner. The much-lauded, flooring twists are just as crazy as you've heard (and better yet, even supported by prior evidence in the story). What is most impressive to me though, is that the script remains faithful to itself and the spirit of the genre. We are shown a seedy, pessimistic world which is…well, cruel. Potential viewer expectation aside, this kind of darkness is what we were promised from the first and delivered at the last.

Nearly every lead was dynamic, from Shi Hyun and Hyung Min to Jin Sook and Safari. Even the hardcore villains had strokes of complexity which made most more than mustache-twirling monsters. These grounding factors may not cease our hatred of them, but at least add some level of understanding. Yoon Soo Min likely is the weakest link of the main cast, her arc included; she needed a bit more weight to contend on equal footing with the other plot lines. The completion of her journey manages to be satisfying nonetheless.

Jung Kyung Ho shines brilliantly as both star and main draw of Cruel City. Decadent charisma pours from him in droves, lending his Doctor’s Son an impossibly fierce magnetism. The most compelling action sequences belonged to Kyung Ho also; I quickly fell in love with his sharp knife skills and cat-like elegance. It's important to note he filmed the final episodes with a nasty back injury; his epic performance is not only a product of talent, but dedication and hard work. This drama was also very kind to Lee Jae Yoon, whose slowly developing Hyung Min I gradually gained affection for. He portrays the team leader as smart, sympathetic, and steady -- with a shot of menace to prevent him being a boring goody-two-shoes. Honorable mentions go to Kim Yoo Mi and Yoon Hyun Min; their respective characters Jin Sook and Hyun Soo are over the top cool and attractive. To say I became deeply invested in the fate of both of them is an understatement.

“Love is dead,” according to one of Cruel City’s most recognizable themes: Kim Young Jin’s “Wound.” My love for the music will never die, though. It is stirring and atmospheric, always well-utilized in show. Even instrumental tracks are memorable, though the rare vocal was always delicious. Many fans here at MDL went crazy trying to find out their artists and song titles before the soundtrack was released.

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joiy
64 people found this review helpful
Jan 15, 2014
20 of 20 episodes seen
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
I'm almost speechless when it comes to this drama, that is how good it actually is. Usually i'm a fan of the romantic/comedy type but for some reason I watched this and oh WOW! It is just pure amazing.

This show made me jump, scream, laugh and cry, my husband asked me if have turned nuts;). One second your thinking Is he a gangster? other your thinking OMG no he can't be, he must be undercover, then ooh no he is sooo bad and next OMG HE IS. It's not limited to the main leads but also to all of the supporting casts, they seemed all to be so very good planned out.

Chemistry between all of them was really nice, the bro-chemistry, the family-chemistry and the love-chemistry. No sloppy violence.
I'm sure i'm not alone thinking that its nice when a show ends in a realistic manner or unexpected. But some shows, you just wish they could end the way you want it, somehow Kdramas and especially this use the ending to make you keep thinking about the show over and over again after its done. I LOVE IT.. can't stop thinking about an alternative ending in my head.

Im out of praises, watch it and you will love, it.

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wolfgirl9
31 people found this review helpful
Jan 13, 2014
20 of 20 episodes seen
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
Ahh, this one, this one is the definition of Masterpiece! I mean if you lookup the definition of "Masterpiece", all its synonyms combined would not give the justice of how amazing this drama is!!

If you can stomach the dark ruthless reality that we tend to ignore, I strongly recommend you to watch this.

There is no filtering the truth here, no flowery feeling that K-dramas usually give. This drama is dark & brutally real. You know how there are usually some politics/not interesting subplot in dramas that you just want to skip, well this one doesn't have that. The story is flawless and well balanced, there is no stupid mistake, no plot hole, nothing that made me flinch for a second.

The characters are complex and well developed. They are not perfect little imaginary ppl; they are real with depth and dimensions. Their pasts and their hopes for future enable us to understand their present and their actions. There aren't any filler characters, no one that you feel he's just there to fill the space/time/episode. Every one of them serves a purpose, and adds something to the story.

What I love about this drama is that it doesn't tell you everything; it gives you enough information and leaves you to be the judge. I'm not talking about one scene or one episode, but rather throughout the entire drama. It never tries to make its audience feel in a certain way ... it just tells you the facts and leaves it up to you to interpret it and to understand the characters/story.

Cruel City is like a good wine, the more time passes from watching it, the more you realize how amazing it truly is. It is a drama that makes its audience ponder upon life, good, evil and the gray between them. I'm sure I will watch this again and again and for this it gets 10 for rewatchability from me.

The choice of music in this drama is phenomenal! I loved all the musics that were used specially the OST, I mean even the music makes me think deeply!!

I don't think I can ever compare this to any other drama or any TV shows in general - well I haven't watched breaking bad, but other than that I've watched all the famous TV shows you can think of, and Cruel City not only doesn't lack in any aspect, but it rather makes the others lose face in comparison. It has created its own space on top of my drama/TV Shows/movie list.

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amrita828
37 people found this review helpful
May 21, 2015
20 of 20 episodes seen
Overall 9.0
Story 7.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.0
This is the kind of drama which deserves the highest possible marks in terms of directing, acting and soundtrack. The reason why I'm "only" giving it a 9, is because despite its high level of tension and the splendid typecasting of some characters, it took me an unreasonable amount of time to warm up to it and when I finally did, my brain was already complaining loudly. Admittedly, Jung Kyung Ho and his superb impersonation of a sensual and tormented Doc's Son DID capture my heart and other parts of my body very early on but, clearly, they can't be used to write a review.

I understand where this plot wants to go, and I even appreciated – to some extent - the never-ending shifts of most characters from one side to the other, when not somewhere in between. However, it gets a little surreal in the long run, to the point that the unpredictable becomes predictable: once you know nothing is as it seems, you're prepared to think the opposite of what they want you to think – hence seeing through the smoke curtain. Therefore, if it weren't for the heartthrobbing Paksa Adil and all the scenes he's in bar none, this drama would be a sequel of police actions going askew either because some corrupted high power butts in or because they are as incospicuous as a baobab tree in the desert. Not to mention the nth old, or fat, or old and fat villain sitting on some baroque chair and acting like a lunatic buddha ordering this or that killing. I need to confess: at times I yawned. And why do the powerful and corrupted always meet at Japanese restaurants? Does sashimi embody the "raw" quality of the Korean politics?

Unfortunately, there's no way to explain the faults of this plot without spoiling it. Suffice to know that I stopped watching it for the plot and just went for the way scenes were shot and acted. Now, if it were possible to rate direction and cinematography in particular, it would be a completely different story, since the drama is visually and technically impeccable. Attention to details, colouring and the use of light – or lack thereof - all are spot on and intensely evocative. I found many of the characters extremely interesting, constantly fluctuating between dark and shade – light is completely absent here – and the acting by Kim Yoo Mi and Choi Moo Sung impressed me no end. Kim Yoo Mi in particular gives life to an amazing character, extremely stubborn as a "boss" and wonderfully human as a woman. My liking of her character is all due to her acting, because, let's face it, the poor actress's actions consist mostly on moving from an armchair to a sofa with a glass of whisky in her beautifully manicured hand. It's therefore the subtle changes of her face that tell her story.

As for Jung Kyung Ho's, it'd deserve a review on its own, so mesmerizing it was. His character is the best written one: you can peel off layer after layer and there's still something to find. The actor's take of it, suavely ruthless and gracefully tormented, makes his Doc's Son into one of those unforgettable characters who are going to stay with you for a very long time. Without him, this drama would be nothing more than a morbid, blurred photograph of an improbable criminal world. His onscreen chemistry with Nam Gyu Ri and his "putative family" is palpable and great to watch, but then again, I think this actor would have great chemistry with a tree trunk, if needed.

On the opposite side of the spectrum there's Ji Hyeong Min, the super cop who got so much on my nerves I want to forget him with all my might. He goes from being as likable as an ingrown nail to suddenly grasping the situation to no avail whatsoever. Truth be told, the whole police force – the official one, that is – could have heavily contributed to the comic if this drama had a comic intention, which it doesn't. The level of corruption and the number of undercovers borders on ridicule.

The soundtrack is classy, powerful, always appropriate. In short, marvelous.

I am not going to rewatch this drama any time soon, if ever. Intense but frustrating, it is the kind of experience which leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth, since the ultimate meaning of it seems to be that justice is a mere word, a utopia for philosophers and dreamers. I have no doubt this is so in real life too, but at least when dealing with the world of fiction, I'd rather be deceived.

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maymaymaymay
21 people found this review helpful
Aug 1, 2013
20 of 20 episodes seen
Overall 10
Story 8.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.0
"Heartless City", you complete me.
((I've always wanted to say that at least once)).
Story: Some of you may be wondering why I've given the story an 8 when I just stated that I love this show. That being said, just because I love a certain drama doesn't exactly mean I'm willing to overlook all of it's faults. The faults here were pretty obvious, but they didn't necessarily detract from the overall experience.
Originally, this drama was to be titled "Undercover" instead of the more poetic "Heartless City". At first, I assumed the previous title was referring to the main character, Soo Min. After you get about halfway through the drama, you begin to wonder WHO is the main undercover. Seriously. Everyone and their grandmother is undercover. It's like the guy pulling all these strings just decided to shove a whole bunch of undercover agents into the drug business and have them chase each other just to get a laugh out of it. The thing is, you'd expect that after the first few times the viewer would get so desensitized to the whole "undercover" thing that when the next character is revealed to be an undercover agent, the viewer wouldn't even bat an eye.
Ha. Nope. Each and every time you're just completely blown away.
"Heartless City" also did a really good job with the antagonist reveal. Just when you think that the "good" guys have defeated the "bad" guys, you realize that there's someone else behind them. I'm putting good and bad in quotations because there's not really an easy way to label all these characters. True, a few of them are easy to label, but everyone's relationships and alliances are constantly shifting here. Mortal enemies may wind up as allies and allies may wind up pointing a gun at you. This drama focuses heavily on those relationships between the people of the drug world and the law enforcement trying to capture them. You would think that relationships also translated to the main romance between Soo Min and Shi Hyun, but it's quite the opposite. Their relationship sort of took a back-burner to the rest of the plot. While that did make the story more believable, it also makes it difficult to put a label on what Soo Min and Shi Hyun felt for each other. I can't say it was love, or even like. Maybe lust or passion? Either way, both characters were very believable and well written. While Soo Min may be overly emotional and unprofessional, she was very realistic. She was an untrained girl looking to get revenge on her older sister, and it shows. Shi Hyun is more than just the cold leader of his drug ring, and little tiny bits of vulnerability show through.
Acting: Wow. Jung Kyung Ho has quickly become one of my favorite actors. His portrayal of "The Doctor's Son" was perfect and apparently garnered him a ton of critical praise. It's well-deserved, since he was just brilliant here. Kyung Ho pulled off the dangerous and vulnerable Jung Shi Hyun perfectly, and I just can't heap enough superlatives on to him to make you understand how much I loved him here. As far as his chemistry with co-star Nam Gyu Ri went, I think I finally have an actor OTP to rival my ChaeKi ship from "Nice Guy". Which sucks, since that means it'll take a while for me to watch their other stuff without hating the onscreen objects of their affections. Anyway, Nam Gyu Ri's character here is a bit... difficult to connect with. I feel like that's more attributed to Gyu Ri's acting than anything else, since it felt like she was emotionally walled off from me, but she was still pretty good in her role. Lee Jae Won and Kim Yoo Mi were really good here, and I especially loved Yoon Hyun Min's Soo here.
Music: God, that OST. It's been a long time since I was so obsessed with a song that I just had to put it on repeat for days on end, and I still don't regret all 300+ plays of Kim Yong Jin's "Hurt". That song was just so perfect for this drama. The instrumentals used to highlight HC's important scenes were perfect too. They felt a bit like something out of a Bond or superhero movie. Dark and broody- perfect for action scenes.
Rewatch Value: Once you've seen the whole thing once, I kind of doubt anything here will take you by surprise. That doesn't mean it won't be fun, though.
Overall: This drama left me emotionally drained and probably ruined me for other noir dramas to come. I wouldn't recommend this if you're looking for something like "City Hunter", since the two are worlds apart in tone despite their similarities plot-wise. "Heartless City" is a drama that's very unapologetic in whatever it does, and by the end of it you'll probably be sobbing, but I would still recommend watching this.

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binguji
25 people found this review helpful
Aug 3, 2013
20 of 20 episodes seen
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 10
Honestly this drama was great, just plain fantastic. I watched this because I heard Jung Kyung Ho was in it, but stayed because after the first episode it just made me want to watch it some more.

I didn't think I'd be able to finish all 20 episodes and even thought about dropping it. But each episode intrigued me and forced me to keep on watching, it's the kind of drama that makes you hooked just like that. The plot is really great and the characters are even better.

The one thing that's really unique about this drama, is that it keeps you guessing. From the first episode all the way to the last, you never know what's going to happen next. You don't know who the good guy is or who the bad guy is. You don't know if you're rooting for the wrong team or the right one.

And it has everything a thriller needs; from violence to drugs to gorgeous guys in suits (and gorgeous guys out of suits kekeke..). It's a drama worth watching and if you haven't watched it yet, what are you waiting for?!

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iindu
19 people found this review helpful
Aug 14, 2013
20 of 20 episodes seen
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.0
I loved 'Cruel City'- every plot turn, sequence and pace of the story, the characters, the relationships and even the ending, though it could have been different.

The story is told brilliantly. Great, beautifully written characters. The casting was perfect. Fresh admiration for Jung Kyung Ho. He hit the ball out of the park as the Doctor's Son. And of course, the drama hugely benefits from the rest of the cast, who were all unique and great.

Loved the OST, especially the one that plays at some defining moments/cliffhangers.

Romance isn't the focus of course, but it carries much charm and impact. There aren't that many scenes between Shi Hyun and Soo Min, but we can feel their connection through most of the drama.

I don't know if the plot is perfect. It probably isn't. There were times in the first half when the actions and reasons of many people seemed silly and um..(can't say more, might be a spoiler). But in the overall plot of things, it's negligible.

About the ending- as I said before, it could have been different but as it is- I could see it happening.

I definitely recommend this drama..to all who won't mind having a little-less-than-perfect ending to a great drama watching experience.

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undert0ne
29 people found this review helpful
Jul 22, 2013
20 of 20 episodes seen
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
Holy smokes! My mind is blown in millions of pieces.

Someone please hand Jung Kyung Ho an Oscar. It's such a shame that I never knew this actor existed. His acting messes with your mind and emotions because the way he portrays "Doc Son" no one else could have. He adds his own element of mysteriousness.

When gruesome fights and drug deals can excite you to this extent you know you got yourself something special. The action is ecstasy. When the fights start it's like you're watching something blissful.

I think the greatest thing about this show is it's realistic factor. I see realism within the characters and their pasts. There is so much complications and emotions going on that you go on the journey along with them.

Less the complications the better? Not in this case. You just want more and more of each thing whether it be complicated or messed up because it still delivers and grabs a hold of your attention.

Our OTP. Action and romance together it has the tendency to get mushy and "throw it all away for the woman." BUT not in this case. Our main lead knows the difference between professionalism and personal business. They're such a pleasure to watch because they compliment each other very well. They add heat. They add comfort. They add soul. This couple is a package between amazing chemistry and realistic expectations.

This show will never stop surprising you. Every cliffhangers has left an emotional scar. When you watch this show you'll be glued to your seat and you'll be literally in the face of the screen because you don't want to miss a single aspect of this drama.

It's dark. It's bloody. It's got drug deals. Power. Corruption. Heat. It's got everything. How can you turn yourself away from this.

I feel like I'm not talking about Heartless City/Cruel City If I don't mention that this the best drama of 2013.

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herojjsachiko
22 people found this review helpful
Aug 2, 2013
20 of 20 episodes seen
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.0
Breathtaking!! Truly amazing.. each episode leaves you speechless!
When you think you've figured out how it works, the cards are mixed again, the allies stab you from behind and in the true sense of the word!

The drama has an intricate plot with equally complex characters, each one of them divided between good and evil..
It's full of action, corruption, betrayal and suspense but this is not all.. even in an environment where you can't trust anyone, there's someone who is still willing to risk or even sacrifice his life for another person..

The romance isn't the focal point, but it was of great importance to complete the plot.. Shi Hyun and Soo Min had an incredible chemistry.. they had an impossible but really passionate and breathtaking relationship!!

About the cast.. Jung Kyung Ho has shone with an intense and utterly believable acting.. he has made a complete change from the past projects.. after light characters which were closer to his personality, I would have not expected this dense and intense acting with excellent action scenes!! Thanks to him, Jung Shi Hyun's character has been totally captivating!

I loved the OST, especially "Hurt" by Kim Yong Jin

Ps: Gun wounds that heal over night? it's possible if you use Pororo's plasters!! XD

Pps: sorry for my English

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mylittledecoy
19 people found this review helpful
Aug 2, 2013
20 of 20 episodes seen
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
At the time of watching, Cruel City was ranked #1 on MDL and I can see why. Cruel City is a visually stunning drama with a captivating plot that keeps you on your toes from the very first episode to the very end where you get to experience a world where the line between good and bad can start to become blurry. The cast did a great job, notably Jung Kyung Ho, whom I’m seeing for the first time because of this drama, in his mesmerizing portrayal as Doctor’s Son/Jung Shi Hyun. The OST was beautiful and fit the drama well as it intensified the viewer’s emotions. I’m glad I was able to experience Jung Shi Hyun’s world and the people in it, and would recommend Cruel City to anyone who loves noir dramas.

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Razar
32 people found this review helpful
Jul 20, 2013
20 of 20 episodes seen
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
A review. My fingers were tingling.

Different doesn't always have to be good, but in this case it's exceeded that level.

I may speak on behalf of a lot of people when I say "Of all those years of watching kdramas It's the first time I'm coming across a show such as this."

We may have seen similar story lines, but what makes Heartless City a "masterpiece" is they created their own element and flow throughout every episode. Their own personal amazing touch to it.

This doesn't even have to be your genre of liking and you'll still be pulled in. It alone is praiseworthy that it's different from the usual kdrama.

I can't even focus one main point that makes this show so good because there's a ton of things that contribute to making Heartless City what it is. There's never a dull moment. This is the first drama that has kept it's momentum. It never breaks the seriousness. It doesn't drag. As you progress one episode after another your addiction sky rockets.

The dark noir feeling. Boy, do they deliver or what and sometimes you just want it to even go darker and grittier. There will be scenes that will give you the chills then they'll be scenes that mess with your mind.

There's not much light scenes to this show which I love because it's consist and stays true to the noir theme.

The action is top notch. I love it. The action alone gives you so many vibes. I fangirl when the action starts! They make it look so effortless and classy.

The music. The music flows in perfectly with this show. It was designed for this show. The music represents the depth and emotions of the scenes going on. It's addicting.

The acting. The cast is genius. The relationships. The complications. The character development. You're invested in every character whether it be a supporting role or a character that is barely there.

I can't get over how amazing the cast is. Every character is thought out and brilliant. This show has introduced me to an amazing actor Jung Kyung Ho. That's a name I won't be forgetting. I somewhat have a girl crush on Nam Gyu Ri at this point.

This drama shows you a lot of time and effort went into making it. Doc Son is a brilliant invention. I don't know how they came up with such a character, but this is a character that pulls you in so hard and how hard you try to understand him you won't be able to.

Heartless City 2013 is yours.

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rachso
29 people found this review helpful
Feb 3, 2014
20 of 20 episodes seen
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 8.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
usually am not into dark and violent things but this one was everywhere on the Internet so i said why the heck not. and my was it a surprise. the bad guy who was portrayed by Jung Kyung Ho embraced this role. the acting was great,he was like the Korean Neo in matrix. well Neo smiled more often. the plot was so simple undercover cop but had so many twists. the fighting was brilliant.overall this drama was superb
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