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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