Wouldn’t be great if every community had a Neighborhood Hero – a Shadow that went around helping people, righting wrongs, and keeping the peace? Well that’s exactly what this exciting, action Kdrama is about. The neighborhood hero kicks ass, just like the show.
Baek Shi-Yoon is an ex-intelligence agent fresh out of prison and ready to avenge his junior partner and friend who was brutally murdered when a case they were working on was compromised. Shi-Yoon buys Neighborhood Bar, where ex-agents hang out, in hopes of learning something that may help him in his personal quest for justice. While he’s looking for answers to the case from three years earlier, he decides to help out the little business owners in the culture district who are being muscled out of their stores to make room for a huge mall. Using his amazing fighting skills, Shi-Hoo becomes The Shadow and contends with the villains on behalf of the little guys. But it’s definitely not easy, especially when he discovers the new mall is directly linked to his partner’s death.
Park Shi-Hoo is Baek Shi-Yoon. He was imprisoned for three years because he went against the order he received to abandon the mission that violently took his partner’s life. He’s friendly but still keeps to himself as much as he can.
Jo Sung-Ha is Im Tae-Ho, a police detective who loves his wife and three kids but feels the heavy weight of providing for them on a cop’s meager salary. He gets caught up in a shady business when he tries to make some extra money, trusting an old high school buddy who uses him as the president for a fake company.
Lee Soo-Hyuk plays Choi Chan-Gyu, a young man aspiring to be a cop but who failed the entrance exam. Detective Im notices his determination and athletic prowess and recruits Chan-Gyu into his new questionable company, promising some much needed cash for following certain men and submitting reports on their daily activities. One night, Chan-Gyu accidentally observes Baek Shi-Yoon during one of his Shadow moments and begs him to teach him how to fight so he can be a Shadow too.
Kwon Yuri is Bae Jung-Yeon, affectionately referred to as Writer Bae because of her avid attempt at script writing. Her plot? The dangerous and exciting life of a spy. When Shi-Yoon comes to her aid, while wearing the hat Chan-Gyu accidently left at the bar, Jung-Yeon gets the mistaken idea that Chan-Gyu is really the one masquerading as The Shadow.
Yoon Tae-Young plays Yoon Sang-Min, an evil to the core man whose only goal in life is to be the owner of the tallest and brightest building that looks down on the rest of the world. He employs corrupt henchmen who do his bidding which helps him get closer to his selfish goal. He will stop at nothing to get what he desires, even if it means getting his own hands dirty.
Jeong Man-Sik is Jung Soo-Hyuk, the senior agent who worked with Baek Shi-Yoon and his team on several different cases. He was in on the failed mission that killed Shi-Yoon’s partner. He bought a little restaurant in the culture district and gave it to the dead agent’s mother so she could have a way to earn money.
I was impressed with several different things in this drama. First and foremost is the fight scenes. The show is chock full of them and they’re all nothing short of spectacular. There’s one where Baek Shi-Yoon beats several guys using just his shoelace! No kidding. An entire fight scene choreographed using a shoelace as a weapon. It’s amazing. He fights one on one and many against one, winning every time. The guy puts Jason Bourne to shame! And it all looks so real. I just wish they had shown parts of the fights in slow motion. That would have been cool. A big, fat A+ goes to the choreographer of all those fight scenes! I was also in awe of Park Shi-Hoo’s strength. The guy does pull ups in an “up, over, down, over” motion and flat on his back with his feet straight out in front of him. It’s truly incredible. I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing! Crazy impressive! The make-up is wow as well. So many times we see what make-up artists create for actors who have been beaten up and can tell it’s fake. But the folks who did the make-up for this drama are truly worthy of being called artists. Choi Chan-Gyu gets the crap beat out of him and the way his face looks afterwards is so authentic. The make-up skills displayed in this show are worthy of an award. But, one thing I didn’t like was Baek Shi-Yoon’s hair. When it’s combed flat it’s very flattering to his face, but the fancy style they do to make him look classy was just plain yucky. Park Shi-Hoo is way too handsome to have silly hair.
The soundtrack is great and goes along perfectly with the spy idea of the show. Several pretty ballads tone down the excitement and lend themselves to some melancholy emotions we feel coming from our hero. Tightrope is a pump-up sort of song that allows us to feel, through music, the dangerous and dirty life of an intelligence agent and the bad guys that surround him.
I loved the scenery in this show! The Neighborhood Bar is a classy-looking place with very few customers for how large it is. The bar is never busy but does have a few regulars who often show up to while away some lonely hours. The fancy office of evil Yoon Sang-Min is a great contrast to the small, dingy office of the thugs that work for him. And the police station shows us the flip side of the humble businesses in the neighborhood area – all well thought-out backgrounds for the unfolding of a spy drama. Aside from South Korea, a small part of the show was filmed in Macau, a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. That’s where the mission that kills Shi-Yoon’s partner takes place.
Natural storyline progression
Lots of amazing fight sequences
Shi-Hoo’s workout scenes
Shi-Hoo’s “fancy” hair style