This drama is good, very good. So good, in fact, I’m baffled as to why there’s not more hype surrounding it. If you like crime/action/thrillers Lookout (aka Guardians) is a definite must see – 100% entertainment. Did I mention it’s good?
When the law can’t, or won’t, punish the criminals responsible for the death of their loved ones, three victims decide to take things into their own hands to see that justice is served, vigilante style. With the help of “the Boss” Soo-Ji, Bo-Mi, and Kyung-Soo become an unstoppable force to be reckoned with. Bad guys beware.
When Detective Jo Soo-Ji’s seven year old daughter is pushed from a rooftop, she is determined to catch and punish the person responsible for her child’s death. But when the perpetrator turns out to be the teenage son of the head prosecutor, she discovers he’s untouchable. Several people who have sworn to uphold justice run interference and the young killer is free to go about life as if nothing happened. However, Soo-Ji is determined to keep the promise she made to her daughter to make sure the “bad guy” pays for his evil crime, even if it means becoming an enemy of the law.
When Seo Bo-Mi was a young teenager she watched in horror as her parents and older sister were brutally murdered in their own home. As the only witness to the crime, she testified to what she saw and heard, identifying a suspect, but no one ever paid for that crime. Bo-Mi is scared for her life and has become a hermit, locked up in her house, never venturing outdoors.
Gong Kyung-Soo is a street skater and a genius at hacking computers. When he was in high school his mother disappeared and he’s been trying to find her for years. Although his father and brother have given up hope of ever locating her, Kyung-Soo is determined to bring his mother back home.
Prosecutor Jang Do-Han is willing to do anything to get in good with Head Prosecutor Yoon. Corruption’s no problem if it gets him what he wants. He comes across as a self-centered, ego maniac who knows how to work the system but is that the real Do-Han or just a facade? It’s difficult to tell whether Prosecutor Jang is a good guy or one of the bad ones.
Are there any upstanding prosecutors in South Korea; anyone who hasn’t been corrupted by their own greed and lust for power? Absolutely – his name is Kim Eun-Jung. The man goes by the book, follows the law, and does what’s right. He honors his chosen profession and believes good will prevail, eventually. He’s also very much in love with a fugitive – Detective Jo.
The main bad guy in this show is Head Prosecutor Yoon Seung-Ro. The man is totally twisted and truly believes he is above the law. He’s a master puppeteer, pulling strings to make people do his evil bidding. Only a few people know the real man. Most think he’s above reproach.
I’m not sure if I should say Lee Si-Young is an actress/boxer or a boxer/actress as she has won just as many awards for boxing as she has for acting – seven! The woman is amazing. She began training in boxing for an acting role she was to fill but the movie was never made. However, she enjoyed the sport so much that she kept training and eventually began competing under an amateur athlete title. She sustained several injuries (knee and shoulder) which resulted in her having to resign from formal competitions. She still has it, though, showing off her fighting skills in this drama as Detective Jo Soo-Ji. I recommend you check her out in Wild Romance, Poseidon, and Golden Cross but skip Loving You a Thousand Times, not because her acting is bad in that, it’s just that it’s a horrible show with very unlikable characters. Congratulations to Si-Young who was married last month (September 2017) to Jo Seung-Hyun, a businessman who works in the restaurant industry.
The role of Prosecutor Jang Do-Han is played by model turned actor Kim Young-Kwang. His Vietnam veteran father passed away when Young-Kwang was in the sixth grade so he began working at a gas station and delivering newspapers to help with the family’s finances. When he was 19 he was given an opportunity to model for an advertisement and later became an award-winning runway model. That lead to him being an award-winning actor who has performed on TV, in film, and on the stage. I loved him in Pinocchio, Go-Ho’s Starry Night, and The Man Living in Our House. I’m so glad he’s already fulfilled his mandatory military assignment because now we won’t have to worry about the Kdrama industry being without this handsome, talented actor.
Kim Seul-Gi, who plays the part of Seo Bo-Mi has been in lots of things, including two dramas I’ve awarded a ten rating to and one that got a nine – Oh My Ghostess, Splash Splash Love, and Second to Last Love. You can read about her on my Second to Last Love review.
The character of Gong Kyung-Soo is played by Kim Ki-Bum, better known as Key. He began his entertainment career in 2008 when he debuted as a member of the Kpop boy group SHINee and then in the sub-unit Toheart. I first became familiar with Key from his time on the global edition of We Got Married where he was paired up with Japanese model Arisa Yagi. I really liked his outgoing personality which complimented his “wife’s” more reserved one. They were a darling couple. Aside from singing, Key has acted in TV, film, and on stage. He is a fashion designer, designing SHINee concert outfits among many other things, and is considered a male fashion icon in South Korea. He models for Jill Stuart Accessories and became a special editor for the Korean Elle magazine in which he has a personal lifestyle column entitled Key Story. He has a degree in Film and Musical and is working on a graduate degree in Culture and Education Contents Development. His thesis is titled The Influence of Styling Education on Appearance Satisfaction and Self-esteem of Korean Adolescents. He does a lot of charitable work such as – he and his fans donated 2.12 tons of rice to World Vision to feed undernourished children and the elderly; for his birthday fans raised two million won to establish a well in Cambodia to be used as medical aid for underprivileged children; and he sold sweatshirts with pictures of his dogs on them garnering 12.5 million won which was donated to the Animal Freedom Union. He sounds like an amazingly cool guy. (I have to admit, I own a pair of Key socks!)
The man who plays Prosecutor Kim Eun-Jung is Kim Tae-Hoon. Like his four costars, he has been in all three acting genres – stage, film, and TV. He played the magical time conductor in the wonderful, romantic fantasy Operation Proposal; was the controlling, manipulating husband in My Love Eun-Dong; took on the role of the kind, intelligent, sympathetic, philosophical doctor in Fantastic; and played a frustrated, at-the-end-of-his-rope but loving husband in One More Happy Ending. Kim Tae-Hoon is an excellent actor.
I was amazed at the highly skilled action in this drama. At the very end, as the credits are rolling, we get to see some of the stunts from behind the scenes. It’s incredible to watch these actors doing (at least some of) their own stunts. After watching Lookout I’m convinced Lee Si-Young is a female Korean Jackie Chan! She hangs on the outside of a van as it’s speeding down the street, climbs like Spiderman from window to window on the outside of a multi-story building, jumps off a balcony and breaks her fall by swinging on some clothes lines, dangles off the edge of a building, drives a motorcycle, and beats the crap out of several men. Wow! And Key actually does a couple skateboard stunts, like jumping a flight of stairs! Action fans will definitely like this show.
One of the coolest things about this drama is the fact that Si-Young, who plays Jo Soo-Ji, found out she was pregnant during the time she was filming Lookout but didn’t tell anyone until after the filming was complete! All that amazing stunt work was done by a pregnant woman! Wow! Her superb acting and action work in Lookout won her a place on my favorite actresses list. Happily, we don’t have to worry about loosing this amazing actress to at-home motherhood status because she stated she plans on returning to acting once the baby is born. Yippee!
The filming is interesting. The writer chose to inform us about certain things through flashbacks and the director chose to help us realize they’re flashbacks by having those scenes be in darker color tones and, quite often, choppy filming. It’s kind of like there’s a film on the camera lens that takes the color down a few notches and keeps things from being vibrantly clear. I wasn’t a fan of it at first, but then it grew on me.
Lookout makes us think – just what exactly am I willing to do to protect someone I love? The main characters come up against terrible situations where they have to question their own beliefs and values. Could I take an innocent life if it meant by doing so I would save the life of a loved one? Hummmmm? This drama let me see that what I may think I’d do in a certain situation, may not necessarily be what I would do.
The ending is perfect but the writer forgot to tell us how the characters ended up where they were. I can’t explain that any better without ruining the ending for you. So if you want to discuss it further, just drop me an email and I’ll be happy to go into more detail.
Lookout is based on rookie writer Kim Soo-Eun’s script which took second place in the 2016 MBC TV Drama Screenplay Competition in the Miniseries category. The first place winner in that competition was Radiant Office which isn’t anywhere near as entertaining as Lookout is. And that’s not just my opinion. Apparently, many others agree with me. Just look at the ratings – Radiant Office received a national average high of 5.2% while Lookout‘s was 7.4%. I look forward to seeing more things come from the imagination and pen of Kim Soo-Eun.
Amen is my favorite song on the soundtrack and performed by Damiano and Jenyer. If I said to you, “Imagine what Lookout‘s plot would sound like,” your brain would probably come up with Amen – edgy, having a sort of “tough neighborhood” street sound to it. Superb rapping! Takada Kenta and New Town Boyz perform Wanna Be With You, a slick sounding song I’d love to see the Super Junior guys dance to. Han Gaeul sings a ballad called I Need a Light. I don’t know the words (it’s sung in Korean) but the song puts off a sad kind of vibe that is full of regret. At least that’s how it made me feel. Hip hop artist Kebee raps/sings Watchman of Dawn which is the song most often played at the end of the later even-numbered episodes. The whole soundtrack is excellent.
There are so many interesting backdrops in this drama – a church, the vigilantes hideout, the police station and prosecutors’ office, the high school… lots of great places for this particular story to unfold.
I’m so glad I saw this crime/action Kdrama. It’s 32 episodes add up to 16 hours of your time and a whole lot of entertainment. This is definitely a show you should Lookout for!
Superb original plot
I wish the writer had told us how the characters ended up where they were at the end