Review – Taxi Driver

What would happen if James Bond, Mr. 007 himself, decided to quit tracking down international threats and instead focused his attention on his own community? “I’m sorry, M, I can’t track down those nuclear codes right now because I’m busy helping this teenager deal with the punks who torment him at school.” I mean… if only, right?

What if Batman stopped chasing after criminals in Gotham and instead opened a help-line? “Oh, sorry Commissioner Gordon, Batman can’t help you with that bank heist right now… he’s helping an old woman who got swindled by a mail scam.”

Well, that’s what Taxi Driver is. It’s everyone’s wild dream of justice-for-hire. So get on board!

In Taxi Driver – people who have been screwed over by the system can seek revenge outside of it, by contracting someone to do their dirty work for them. This is yet another show that illustrates how people with money and power have less fear of retribution. At the same time… it’s a show about criminals who ultimately use money and power to create “justice.” Do you see it? Do you see the Batman parallels? I mean, in this show they have a secret base in an underground lair, access to fancy computer systems and a nerd who inexplicably knows how to use them, they have fancy customized cars and motorcycles with gadgets, and they have connections gained from wealth. All of of these things give our vigilantes the power to act.

Welcome to the bat-cave

What is Batman without his bat-cave and wealth? Who is James Bond without his fancy gadgets and his military combat training? Well, Batman would just be a pissed off dude on a rampage – and one that is bound to be quickly rounded up and tossed into the pen. And James Bond would just be a dishy misogynist. The wealth and power is required. So… it can get a little messy when you’re tackling problems like social justice based on inequality – because the answer to the problem shouldn’t be the problem. But whatever. This show realizes there are problems with the premise and addresses them as best it can. It even makes a point of highlighting some of the pitfalls with vigilante justice. Cause justice is complicated.

But sometimes we just want a hero to rescue us.

A theatrical hero who likes to wear a gold hockey mask on occasion. Cause style matters, damn it.

It’s not like this is anything new. Robin Hood. Hong Gil-dong. Ned Kelly. Bandits we love. Played by attractive male actors. Give them a tragic back story, a broody demeanor, an impressive physique, and it’s cat nip for boys and girls alike. This drama reminded me how much I love Lee Je-Hoon (who I had only known from Signal). I was so mesmerized by his performance that I immediately ran to his wiki page to see if there any other dramas I had missed (and was gifted the beautiful perfection of Move to Heaven, as well as the gift I wish I could return of Where Stars Land).

Though I think Taxi Driver would have been great no matter who they cast in the roles, since the writing was fantastic and the plotlines were action packed and exciting, I believe we should all thank the people who decided Lee Ji-Hoon should play the lead. Cause he nailed it.

Without getting into spoilers, let me say there is an unexpected element to this character that really elevated him beyond your usual Batman-hero-type: The vigilante in Taxi Driver wanted to be theater major. That’s right, folks, this butt-kicking badass is a drama club geek at heart. He gave up his dreams of the stage and enlisted in the military for, you know, whatever reason, but underneath his lean muscled exterior beats the heart of a man dying to act. So when he gets to go undercover to root out criminals and sabotage their lives… he’s not just undercover, he is living for these roles. Not only is this unexpected and really funny, but and it adds a whole juicy layer of nuance to the character. Sure, he enjoys his work of vigilante justice, but you can tell he loves his work when he gets to play a character. When he’s playing a geeky teacher, a shady businessman, a lothario gangster… he’s playing to his heart. He’s putting is full game into it. He’s having so much fun, it’s contagious.

This is where I think the choice of Lee Ji-Hoon really paid off, cause he’s able to shift into all these characters and you can tell he’s having a blast doing it, just like the character he’s playing is supposed to be doing. It’s very meta.

Listen, you need to watch this show. Unless you’re put off by violence, this show is going to win you over completely. It’s got it all. A great cast (and every character gets their moments to shine), a unique overarching storyline as well as amazing individual episode plotlines, fantastic production design (it’s beautifully shot, the action scenes are epic, the aesthetics are spot on in every scene), and a killer soundtrack (a cool mix of rock and synth that will have you searching the internet for the OST). You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be invested. The show is based on the webtoon The Deluxe Taxi by Carlos and Lee Jae-jin, and apparently many of the crimes are based on real crimes committed in Korea.

What can I say other than watch it? WATCH IT. Watch it now.

Rating: 10/10. Deluxe Taxi Service Includes Stylish Revenge.

And now for a few spoilery-extra thought…

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Review – W – Two Worlds

Review – W – Two Worlds

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Every once in a while a drama pops up with a premise so outside the box that you can’t help but love it.  Even if it gets caught up in twists and turns and makes a big messy knot of its own plotline.  Even if describing it to friends makes you tongue tied.  Even if just trying to REMEMBER all the random turns and sharp angles and unexpected twists makes you feel crazy.  Even if you could have chopped off the last five episodes and not missed anything.  You forgive it.  Cause… wow.  The plot!  The amazing, spectacular plot!

W Two Worlds is a story about a hero.  A hero the likes of which only exist in our fantasies.  In comic books.  In graphic novels.  In Korean Dramas….

This drama is full of action and adventure.  It’s a mystery.  It’s a thriller.  It’s a science fiction show.  It’s a dark fantasy and a fairy tale mixed together in a blender.  It’s all over the place!  And it’s fun.  It’s really, really fun… cause honestly, there is NO WAY you will guess what’s going to come next.  From episode to episode.  It just keeps changing shape, changing genre, changing our expectations.  It’s a glorious chameleon of superb and complicated writing, solid acting, and no holds barred imagination.

Our hero is the star of this show (in the general sense and in the meta sense).  He’s an Olympic sharp shooter.  He’s orphaned by an unspeakable crime that he’s framed for.  He’s a man on a quest for vengeance.  And he’s inexplicably wealthy, young, and attractive.  Basic hero formula.

Only he’s NOT REAL.

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He is the creation of a writer in another dimension.  He is the main character in a graphic novel.  The world he lives in exists for him and because of him.  And his story line is about to come to an end… the writer is finishing the series and finishing off our hero with it.

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But our hero is not ready to be put down!

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Remember that old video to Take On Me by Ah Ha?

Rating:  8/10.  A twisted, convoluted, extraordinarily fun show that proves reality is what you make it… and what it makes you.

Let’s Discuss!  SPOILERS AHEAD… but not very many….

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