First Impression: Taxi Driver

We have a new justice-seeking team in K-dramaland.

Drama Profile

Title: Taxi Driver / Deluxe Taxi (literal title)
Main Cast: Lee Je-hoon, Esom, Kim Eui-sung
Writer: Park Joon-woo (Doctor Detective)
PD: Oh Sang-ho (Fabricated City – movie)
Timeslot: Friday and Saturday / 22:00H
Network: SBS
Episodes: 16
Genre: Action-crime

Plot Synopsis:

Based on a webtoon of The Deluxe Taxi by Carlos and Lee Jae-jin, Taxi Driver follows Kim Do-ki and his life as a member of Rainbow Taxi Company. It is an ordinary taxi company by day but offers a special ‘revenge-call’ service to those who are unfairly treated.

Major trope: Vengeful hero

Maknae’s Impression:

It seems like the trend of justice-seeking heroes isn’t going out of style any time soon. In this new SBS offering, we are thrown into the world of a vigilante group disguised as ordinary taxi company employees.

At first glance, Taxi Driver’s plot look like the usual story of a vengeance-seeking hero. But there’s something about its execution that made it look like a new story to watch out for. And there’s no other way to describe the said plot execution other than ‘fascinating’. The premiere week is mostly an introduction to the operations of the Rainbow Taxi Company than the characters themselves. I think it’s because they want to hook in the audience with the world of our characters before introducing them fully. And Taxi Driver’s world-building is excellent. It’s like they’ve shared with us a coveted underground operations that could happen in real life even though we know, at the back of our mind, that’s impossible to happen.

I think that’s partly because of how Lee Je-hoon is portraying Kim Do-ki. He looks deadpan when he is in his ordinary taxi driver persona but his aura changes when night falls. He has this killer look in his eyes that convey his pure hatred to evil people. I wish though that I saw more of his story so I can totally stand behind his cause. He’s the main character but his background is just shown in snippets. I wonder if they’ll show every story of each character: Do-ki, Jang Sung-cheol (Kim Eui-sung), Go Eun (Pyo Ye-jin), Choi Kyung-koo (Jang Hyuk-jin), and Park Jin-eon (Bae Yoo-ram). Because clearly, I don’t think they just go doing revenge missions just for fun, aren’t they? There must be a similar event that happened in their past to do this.

Speaking of snippets, the premiere week also doesn’t show Esom’s character that much. Kang Ha-na (Esom) is described as a tenacious young prosecutor. And well, she does look and act as tenacious and rebellious for a prosecutor. There isn’t much interaction between her and other characters but that’s because they’re moving in different worlds for now. But I’m sensing Ha-na and Do-ki will have good banters in the future if judging from that less-than-a-minute encounter at the end of episode 2.

Another female character to watch out for in this series is Baek Sung-mi (Cha Ji-yeon). She’s connected with Sung-cheol’s revenge-for-sale group but it isn’t clear yet how deep is their connection. Her character left a lot of unanswered questions that need to be answered in the next episodes. Or else it will look like a ploy to create mystery when there’s not much to reveal.

Taxi Driver’s premiere, as a whole, is a decent introduction to what they have to offer in the next few weeks. It doesn’t have the usual compelling character intros we’re so used to in K-dramas so one might think it lacks the emotional string that’s needed to pull us in and support the cause of the main characters. But I think they are just getting started.

Afterthoughts:   

– I’m not sure if my ears are playing me but there’s a tinge of Stranger Things-esque going on in the music scoring. Or maybe it is the 80s-sounding theme of the scoring that reminds me of Stranger Things.

Image credit: (1)

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