"All lives are precious until they become a target."
Kill It is an action/thriller drama currently airing on OCN (Orion Cinema Network), a cable channel notorious for producing content outside the regular ol' box of tropes most enjoyed by Korean audiences, with dramas like Voice, The Guest, God's Quiz and Life On Mars, to name a few.
It was, therefore, a no-brainer that I, a serial binge-watcher, would be tuning in week after week to witness this particular drama's action unfold in all its glory. If you're familiar with even one of the titles mentioned above you can rest assured that a solid story line, great cast, and equally great cinematography await you in Kill It, a drama that was much hyped about for weeks (perhaps even months) before its first episode was released.
Did it live up to its hype? I'll let you be the judge of that as I (try my best to) objectively comment on the nitty gritty (episodes 1 to 6) that makes this drama worth the watch for yours truly, and whether it is worth your time or not. As always I shall try my best to dodge any and all spoilers.
Strap your seat-belts for the roller coaster ride that is Kill It!
Kim Soo Hyun is your average nice guy, psych! He is, in fact, a trained assassin, a killer-for-hire, a murderer, and all those other lovely phrases. He was brought up to become so by Pavel, a Russian assassin (that's all the audience gets to know about him for now) who for reasons known only to him, had saved the then eleven year old Soo Hyun from the clutches of death, and had taken him under his wings "much like an abandoned dog" according to our protagonist himself.
Fast forward to 2017, Soo Hyun is on a mission in the Russian Red Mafia's villa in Busan (South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea), when circumstances cause his plan to go haywire and he has to resort to blowing up the entire villa to smithereens while seeking refuge elsewhere to hide his identity.
Two years later, our handsome assassin Soo Hyun now goes by as Dr. Kim Soo Hyun, a veterinarian who specializes in dealing with wildlife. However, an enticing offer that is directly related to his dark, forgotten past, emerges in the form of a mysterious client. It is someone who wishes to avail his services as an assassin in exchange for information about Soo Hyun himself that he has been searching for his entire life.
It's an offer that is impossible to resist and our protagonist soon finds himself brandishing the same weapons that he had done so two years ago. His most recent target (one the audience actually gets to see) is Yoo Dae Heon, an influential and corrupt man involved in drug trafficking. Being the skilled killer he is, Soo Hyun gets the job done, setting the stage for the entry of our female lead, Detective Do Hyun Jin, a woman determined on solving the serial murders predicted by a reporter's diary, another very important puzzle piece in the grand scheme of things.
Fate and circumstances continue to throw these two into each other's paths, and a game begins between a hunter and his prey. To make things interesting, and messier, the past has returned to haunt our leads against the tumultuous setting of murder, dirty politics, and gruesome hidden secrets. Will our killer escape this mess unscathed? Or is it time for the hunter to become the hunted?
Jang Ki Yong as Kim Soo Hyun
A seemingly cold and ruthless man, on the hunt for the missing pieces of his lost memories; ones that were monumental for his entire past and are the reason for him being the man he is today. Soo Hyun was devoid of affection his entire life, with no one who could be considered a kindred soul to lean on, hence he is awkward in social interactions and his stoic demeanour and quiet disposition appear as off-putting to most.
Our tall, dark, and handsome protagonist is an expert in everything he decides to delve into, is a meticulous and organized person, and eerily exhibits the same qualities as that of a lone wolf, operating all by his lonesome, avoiding unnecessary interactions, maintaining an enigmatic, stone-cold aura and most importantly, his very interesting skill set that won't be revealed to the reader as you need to see it on your own to fully enjoy it (No, he's not a superhero. Or is he?)
Nana as Do Hyun Jin
Perhaps one of the calmest female leads to ever grace the silver screen in my humble opinion. Do Hyun Jin, besides everything else, is smart; a trait that she has not lost throughout the drama so far. She is quick on her feet and toes (*wink wink* ballet reference), is observant and knows how to speak her own mind. The solitary female in an all-male task force, she knows how to counter adversity from all fronts, without creating a scene.
I find her character admirable because of this. She may be adept in her field (with some other talents as well; case and point, her world record in darts) but she does not feel the need to shout about it from rooftops or go out of her way to show that she is capable of holding her ground. Her mannerisms, gestures and actions, though might seem conceited and obnoxious to some, are all proof of her unique personality.
Noh Jeong Eui as Kang Seul Gi
Like everyone else in this drama, her arc is a major contributor to the dark and twisted mix of stories that culminate into one grand plot.
Note: 401 is Soo Hyun's apartment number and 402 is Hyun Jin's apartment number. To find out how this situation comes about, watch the drama. Smooth segue eh?
Lee Jae Won as Philip
Philip is an expert with computer systems, is Soo Hyun's hitman broker and partner, as well as the one in charge of arranging everything and gathering intel regarding potential targets for him.
David McIness as Pavel
Jung Hae Kyun as Do Jae Hwan
Despite considering himself to be ten steps ahead of everyone, he is gravely mistaken and is ultimately on the path to becoming a pawn for someone else.
Ji Il Joo as Yoon Jung Woo
Prosecutor Yoon Jung Woo is a very smooth man. Smooth with his actions, mannerisms and (mostly cheesy) one-liners, he is a fun character who appears to be a goofy game addict and an open book, but judging by the story he is bound to be so much more than just that.
Jung Jae Eun as Jung So Yeon
For this reason, she is shown to have obsessive tendencies towards her daughter, always wanting to be informed of her whereabouts, the people she interacts with, and even going so far as to pay people to report Hyun Jin's every move to her.
Ok Goo Won as Yoon Ji Hye
Her character is a bit of a walking spoiler, therefore, it is difficult to fully comment on it. She is, however, one of the big players in this story alongside some others who have been kept under wraps in this article.
Avoiding spoilers for this drama is like trying to survive in a field full of landmines, therefore I concluded that it would be interesting to deviate completely from spoiler-prone topics and discuss more in depth about several of the notable relationships (friendly, platonic, familial, potentially romantic etc.).
This comes as a nice surprise since one would hardly expect to watch so many scenes dedicated to the bonds forged between humans as they encounter very different―yet similar at the most detailed level―people who are important in shaping their personality. More specifically, this particular section is about Soo Hyun's relationship with four very important people.
4. Frenemies- Kim Soo Hyun & Ahn Philip:
If I were to sum up their relationship in one picture, this would be it. One's all smiles, cracking lame jokes and flirting with every pretty woman he sees, and the other just constantly rolls his eyes with an annoyed (or exasperated if he's in a good mood) look on his face. Their banter is endearing (well, whatever qualifies as banter when Soo Hyun is one of the two arguing parties) to watch. Would they hesitate to throw the other under the bus if the need arose? Absolutely not.
3. A Father/Brother Figure- Kim Soo Hyun & Kang Seul Gi:
Note: The above-mentioned screencaps are from a conversation and/or argument between Seul Gi and Philip (another interesting relationship) with Hyun Jin and Soo Hyun as the silent observers.
Little Seul Gi has a knack for getting her demands fulfilled by everyone. Even the cold Soo Hyun is not immune to her attacks. She guilt-trips, scolds, pleads and acts cute in order to get her way and its hilarious to see Soo Hyun silently and reluctantly obeying her. He often lightly reprimands her and she goes into sulk-mode, which is tarnished when Soo Hyun bribes her with food.
2. A Killer (Father) Who Raised a Killer (Son)- Kim Soo Hyun & Pavel:
Perhaps the only time the audience will ever get to see Soo Hyun so happy and devoid of all worries. Pavel may not be his biological father, but he sure raised him as his own and taught him everything that he knows. To say Soo Hyun's continued existence is due to Pavel would not be an overstatement.
Honourable Mention- Do Hyun Jin and Kang Seul Gi
Both of our ladies bear scars from the past and have had little to no friendly interaction with someone of the same gender, therefore they quickly become fast friends despite a rocky start. Just seeing Seul Gi casually spend the night on Hyun Jin's sofa and the two later going for a walk with Gray (Soo Hyun's adorable Husky) where Hyun Jin bestows some of her wisdom as an Unni upon Seul Gi, her newfound Dongsaeng, was a very heartwarming scene to behold. If there's one thing this drama knows how to do right, it is the healing aspect of the human psyche, what makes one's soul hurt, cry out in pain, exude childlike happiness and so forth.
AND OF COURSE, FINALLY...
1. It's Complicated - Kim Soo Hyun & Do Hyun Jin:
Pictures (and GIFs) are indeed worth a thousand words.
Behold! The iconic grab and twirl.
Stare Offs (Not that we're complaining.)
Best of three wins!
Friends always have each other's backs. On a side note, if looks could kill...
Oh, the parallels...
A little something to look forward to...
The heading seems befitting for this one doesn't it? Two very similar yet very different people brought close by an obvious connection yet they're both on opposite ends of the spectrum, with opposing interests, and opposing loyalties. Sounds awfully tragic, but their interactions are thought-provoking and important. What brings them close to each other isn't your generic attraction but rather an affinity for what lies inside the other person, that tugs at their own heartstrings. If not for the glaringly obvious action-mystery tag, this would have made a believable slice-of-life/melodrama.
Music always plays a crucial role in setting up the mood and overall atmosphere of a drama. It allows the audience to better comprehend and relate to a character's inner turmoil or to join in on his triumph.
Therefore, fellow music fanatics can rest at ease. This drama has grand OSTs, dark, sad, tempestuous, melancholic, hopeful, and of course romantic. A perfect blend of high and low notes so effortlessly sung by some very talented people. As of now, only three OSTs have been released (more might be coming along soon), and boy do they hit you right in the feels!
Here are my unbiased final two cents regarding this drama. I personally am really enjoying it and the various plot lines (that I, unfortunately, cannot mention here because spoilers duh!) continue to wow me. I especially appreciate the fact how some rarely discussed issues are brought to light here, and corruption is highlighted in places one wouldn't even dream of.
Questions regarding ethics, morals and the law are raised and the moral high ground (which serves as a security blanket) that influential people claim to have is snatched from them, and stomped to death, which is highly appreciable. My only qualms with this drama are some plot-holes that can be easily resolved with a little clarification and the episode count. I would really appreciate it if there were 16 or even 14 episodes to this so that every reveal, every dialogue, and every scene, would flow much more smoothly. I find myself rewatching every episode just so I can fully grasp the unfolding events.
This drama is HIGHLY recommended to:
Those who enjoy a difficult, out-of-the-box storyline, with a non-linear narrative. This drama has a lot to tell and it does so in a very quaint manner wherein the audience gets to know everything at the same time as Soo Hyun. Everything else is hidden and the flashbacks only serve as a device to show Soo Hyun's recollection of his memories.
Those who enjoy slow burn romances. Should the drama decide to actually go down the romance route, it will most definitely be a slow and arduous journey.
Those who are okay with little to no romance. Let's be real, OCN isn't really famous for its timeless romances, is it? Jang Ki Yong and Nana's on-screen chemistry may have set everyone's hearts aflutter, but it is best to give equal weight to both probable outcomes.
Those who enjoy watching action movies. The action scenes in this drama are some of my personal favourites. Walking away from a burning building may sure as heck be cheesy but I find it fun. The sequences are highly detailed and well shot. A particular scene in episode three that involves a minivan was also enjoyable for me.
Those who enjoy watching a wide variety of contrasting characters, each contributing to the bigger picture in some way, no matter how small it may be. I've said this in my previous Currently Watching article too. If the plot of a drama has multiple players contributing to it in small yet significant ways, they will ultimately combine like puzzle pieces into a full-fledged larger than life image that serves as the backdrop to a solid story line.
P.S.: To give readers a much better idea about the vastness of the plot, let me tell you that the information covered in this article is not even equivalent to 20% of the storyline shown so far in order to avoid spoilers as best possible.
There are also several theories circulating across various platforms regarding the drama that I am impatient to discuss, therefore anyone interested in having a little chat about said theories with me is more than welcome to do so. I'll be very grateful xD.
And, there you have it. My attempt at convincing readers to give 'Kill It' a shot. Did I succeed, or did I fail miserably? Please let me know. I really appreciate the comments and enjoy reading and replying to them. Thank you so much for reading! ❤