After years of waiting, “Taxi Driver 2” is finally here! So how were the premiere episodes?
I was admittingly excited for the 2nd part, we’re currently in what I’d called a kdrama calm season due to it being the early months of the year, so I am glad something similar to the premise of Taxi Driver is here at last. However, the premiere was definitely choppy in many ways. More than I had expected walking in. let me discuss!
Note: this article is a first-impression review, it doesn’t mean this is the writer’s final thoughts on the drama. This is a spoiler review.
Firstly, I was very confused so I had to rewind to the 1st episode of this season and watch the last episode of the 1st season again just to be sure I wasn’t missing something. The 1st season ended with prosecutor Kang joining the force but in the 2nd season, Mr. Jang talks to her via a phone in the present and mentions she’s studying abroad, however, this mention doesn’t particularly explain why she wasn’t in the past. If the screenwriter wanted this arc to be dealt with correctly wouldn’t it make sense to include it two years in the past?
I know Esom decided not to return for the 2nd season due to scheduling conflict and I also know the screenwriter for the latter half of the 1st season was also changed, but I believe it would have been nicer to wrap up prosecutor Kang’s arc better by featuring her as a cameo saying she’s going abroad or something. I guess it wasn’t possible.
The same screenwriter who worked on the 1st half of the 1st season is returning for this one which is a somewhat source of concern to me because I felt he couldn’t construct a narrative properly last time due to many reasons.
In this season, we’re two episodes in but the narrative is stretching the suspension of disbelief to a notable degree already, I wonder how much more ridiculous it’ll get. The premise is nice, but I’d like it better if the screenwriter is able to keep it rather grounded in reality so the ‘revenge’ aspect feels more plausible or earned, but again, if you just watch without questioning at all, I highly doubt you’d find it an issue.
But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t bothered by just how nonsensical many aspects of the premiere episodes were and on so so many levels.
The 1st and 2nd episodes were lots of fun, as I’d expect from them. They have the same tried and successful narrative stream we’re used to seeing in the 1st season which I think will bring joy to anyone who enjoyed the 1st one.
Another issue I had was the editing which felt extremely choppy, to the point I wouldn’t believe this was a major production by a household hit drama like that.
I understand the screenwriter aims to create a level of suspense and curiosity with the 1st episode, but the first 20 minutes had many issues with the editing and quite honestly were confusing. But in episode 2, there were also other notable instances but this time, it felt it was a setup issue rather than a writing issue, it was one of the fighting scenes in the final round when the big guy just disappears from the picture. I was so immersed and expecting Do Ki to get wrecked by that guy who was double his body size but he disappeared from the scene and reappeared oddly.
I wouldn’t expect this from a drama this popular is all I am saying.
The director behind this drama is an unknown name, her name is Lee Dan. I tried searching her name but she has not done any other project, I assume at least not as a lead director. This makes the editing and directing missteps make more sense because this is likely her 1st major debut project. It shows.
Overall, I’d say the “Taxi Driver 2” premiere episodes were hella fun to watch but also confusing from a narrative and editing perspective. If I see such errors early on in any kdrama project, I suspect it gets worse but I hope it won’t happen with this one.
If “Taxi Driver 2” keeps up with this level of suspense and heartbreaking backstories, I think it will do immensely well, domestically and internationally. The premiere episode did extremely well and I suspect they can aim for the 20% mark if the screenwriter can raise the antics and suspense in future episodes.
Excited to welcome the team back and also excited to see if Shin Jae Ha fits in with them well, he doesn’t seem to appear in the present shots so I hope it didn’t turn out horrible for him.
Have you seen Taxi Driver 2 yet?
Thank you for the review.
I totally agree with the choppy editing at times, but overall the first two episodes were very enjoyable for me. I feel like rather than progressing the plot, these episodes were directed in a way that aimed to please fans of the previous season: characters are re-introduced in different skins, minor plot, badass action scenes, showcasing cinematography, etc. Thus I expect to see more starting from episode 3, and the preview for the next episode seems to support this expectation.
FYI, Lee Dan is a female director! I was pleasantly surprised when I saw her in the table reading video. I had a glimpse about what she wanted to do with the series while watching the premiere episodes, but we just have to wait and see what she can do.
I’m very excited to see Shin Jae Ha’s role indeed, but already I don’t think his character is simply a new recruit for the Rainbow Team, haha.
Lastly, I loveee the shots in Vietnam – the way they are executed really did justice to the scenery, the people, the culture. However, I was really taken back by the unfamiliar city of “Cotaya/Kotaya”, in a bad way. Like, what. I understand the writer needed to create a fictional city in order not to offend Vietnam and its citizens in case of any controversies. But the name chosen is very odd and shows a lack of research coming from the writer. It’s very out of place in the context of Vietnamese names and reminds me of Thai language instead. Perhaps because both countries are no different in the writer’s eyes? :/ For easier comparison, it’s similar to seeing a city called “Takashimaya” in England.