SBS is seriously dominating the discussion when it comes to shocking kdramas this year and they’re coming in strong with “Taxi Driver,” a new type of revenge kdrama that we have never seen before.
“Taxi Driver” is special and despite the overly used plot device of ‘revenge’ and ‘personal justice’ it manages to stand out among all the other kdramas with similar topics due to how horrific the crimes are and how our protagonists take revenge.
Let us begin discussing SBS’s drama “Taxi Driver”!
Note: this is a subjective review. I will share my personal opinion while keeping in mind how others might perceive it. This is a spoiler review
The unique take on revenge
Like I said in the above paragraph, “Taxi Driver” easily stands out among its peers due to the way it tackles the overly used cliché of seeking justice after being let down by authority forces.
I am reviewing the drama as a standalone project, I haven’t seen the webtoon so I went in blind, my judgment of the script will solely depend on how the screenwriter adapted it.
The more I see Korean webtoon adaptations, the more I like the idea of adapting webtoons, while some are overly fluffy and easy to digest, Koreans can write horror and when they’re allowed to write without much restrictions, we get to witness something amazing and since webtoons are usually the work of one artist who usually has control over their material, you’ll see a lot of creativity and brutality.
First impressions matter, especially for a drama project and “Taxi Driver” is an example of an introduction done right, I was expecting to have fun watching it but I wasn’t expecting to be surprised and on many occasions.
The drama had 19+ ratings in the first four episodes and appropriately so, and I am glad they went with this direction, such type of content shouldn’t be stripped down too much because what makes it stand out is how graphic and absolutely shocking it can be, not to mention the way they enact revenge.
In kdramaland, even if the criminal has connections, the ultimate goal of our protagonists is to hand him in to justice with incriminating evidence, however, “Taxi Driver” bypasses that idea entirely and exposes of the criminals in the most epic and cruel befitting way possible and its cathartic to see.
I was stunned when in the first episodes, they didn’t hand in the terrible guys to police but instead severely injured one and shipped the two others overseas. It was epic and it was when I knew I was in for a surprise.
Throughout the first half of “Taxi Driver,” this trends continues and each perpetrator receives punishment in a way befitting of their crimes and you just can’t help but love it.
“Taxi Driver” ensemble has completely and utterly given up on the traditional route of justice and its so sad to see because so many of these crimes are not highly unlikely, they could happen to someone you know and love, they feel personal, they tackle crimes that actually occur even the one with the crazy CEO, I looked it up and there is actually a case of a Korean CEO captured by police for treating his employees similarly to what happened in the drama, the most disturbing part is it takes from reality, and I hope it remains like that, grounded in reality and taking inspiration from real cases instead of overly exaggerating the revenge aspect.
Esom and the use of her character
This is something that has been pointed out over and over again but it has to be said. Esom plays the first female lead but often times she feels like a supporting character and not a very likeable or interesting one at that.
I like Esom, she’s terrific but I am surprised by the lack of her appearance especially early on in the episode, I expected her to move towards helping our crew avoid justice but it appears she’ll stick by her principles which not only bores the audience of her character but makes them see her as this very annoying stickler for the rules who doesn’t know shit.
Kang Hana sticks to the rules and thinks everyone should be handled with law and order which is all cool and everything but whats annoying about her as a character is her lack of empathy and understanding as to why so many people don’t trust her establishment.
The crew is cruel in the methods they handle these criminals and I don’t condone such behaviors but I can’t help but admit I find it cathartic when it happens because its something so many of us relate to and have to deal with, authority lacking action and terribly dealing with criminals, it’s almost a universal grievance and Kang Hana’s lack of realization as to why she’s ultimately not that helpful is quite honestly annoying to see.
We do get glimpses of her past self, her growth and resilience but she’s still not likeable as a character and not only that, but she presents a threat to the crew we all love to see teach bad guys trouble.
I know we’ll get to see growth, but I kinda hoped she’d join them and cover up for them, that would’ve made for an interesting combo. This is only a review of the first half but as a character Kang Hana doesn’t feel like a lead character but a supporting character, its not only a shame but will also hurt the drama if not tackled properly in the near future.
We’re half way there and I just wished we saw more growth of her character, at least a better realization that some things might be left untouched. She feels so stiff and unapproachable because of her moral compass that is basically tainted because her superior who calls lots of the shots will always loom around and when higher ups want something, she has to eventually cave in. Some self-realization would go a long way.
Character growth for the “Taxi Driver” crew
I am so glad we’re getting the main and supporting characters of “Taxi Driver” properly fleshed out and interestingly so.
I think this is an important step for the drama and while I often complain about screenwriters not properly fleshing out important characters, I am glad the screenwriter here took time with these characters making us not only understand their pain but also understand their actions and why they’re so ruthless.
There is a lot of exposition but its done well and the stories it tells are not only heartbreaking but also very interesting, there is a lot of focus on mental health as well and how the victim’s family have to live with the pain of losing their loved ones to terrible human beings and I especially liked how it didn’t paint that the emotional pain could be easily overcome, mental health issues can’t always be easily dealt with or overcome and its a nice message to have in a drama.
So far, “Taxi Driver” has been so much fun, and I am looking forward to the second half of the drama, my only hope is it keeps up this pace and explores Esom’s character more.
So these are my thoughts on the drama thus far, what about you guys? do you like it or not?