If you need a break from love stories and are in the mood for something heavy and dark, OCN’s done it again. Kill It is a fast-paced, 12 episode Kdrama filled to the brim with the evil side of humanity.
Heart & Seoul’s main goal has always been to give you enough information about a Kdrama/webdrama for you to make an informed choice about what to spend your viewing time on. Unfortunately, this review has to be overly vague so as not to ruin the many reveals throughout the story. I apologize ahead of time for not explaining the plot and describing its characters in more detail.
Elite assassin Kim Soo-Hyun is given the chance to fill in the missing pieces of his childhood through old photographs but only if he kills all the people on his client’s list. His business associate informs him, “Every time you eliminate one, she’ll add a photo. She says you might find out about your past.” A chance meeting with a beautiful police woman has led to her renting a room in the building Soo-Hyun lives in and she seems to have some interest in the shy veterinarian. Although Soo-Hyun does his best to avoid her, he can’t help but feel there’s a possibility Detective Do Hyun-Jin may be linked to his past somehow. Should he keep her close to try and figure out his past or push her away so she won’t learn about his present?
“I hear the person who tried to kill me was my father.” – Kim Soo-Hyun
Quiet, introvert, loner, solitary, recluse… all words that adequately describe Doctor Kim Soo-Hyun. He is a highly skilled veterinarian who goes to great lengths to help injured animals stay alive, all the while hiding a dark side as an elite assassin who has spent his entire life killing. As a child he was hunted down, left for dead, and lost all his memories. Rescued and raised by a Russian hit man, he was taught three important rules – never reveal a client’s identity, never leave a witness alive, and stay alive. Soo-Hyun seems to have emotionally adopted his landlord, a young woman named Kang Seul-Ki whom he treats like a sister.
Lee Young-Eun grew up in Hansol Orphanage. Although the place was hell, for her there was a tiny shred of heaven thanks to paper airplanes and her only friend, a boy known simply as Number 88. Sadly, when she was adopted she became a replacement for the daughter Do Jae-Hwan and his wife lost to leukemia, so much so that she was even given their dead daughter’s name – Do Hyun-Jin. Hyun-Jin studied ballet in Russia until she was in high school. Then, because she wasn’t good enough to continue ballet as a career she decided to become a cop. She entered the police academy with the highest score and volunteered to be on the special forces team. She also holds the world record for dart throwing. Detective Do feels drawn to Doctor Kim and tries her best to befriend him.
The CEO of Saehan FT Group is a ruthless, greedy man named Do Jae-Hwan. Power, prestige, and money are the only things that drive the man. People are all just pawns he uses to get ahead in the game of life. Although he is Detective Do Hyun-Jin’s adopted father he feels not one bit of affection for her and he keeps his wife under control by drugging her. The man is pure evil, believing “The powerful people who are on top of this world kneel down in front of me. They cry for their lives. They ask for my mercy.”
As an orphan, Kang Seul-Ki inherited a small fortune when her grandfather passed away. The poor man was murdered and Seul-Ki, at a very young age, was there to witness the whole thing. She is the owner of the building where she, Detective Do, and Doctor Kim reside. Doctor Kim’s veterinary clinic is also in that same building. She admires and respects Doctor Kim but took awhile to warm up to Detective Do.
Philip has known Kim Soo-Hyun for many years and is the only one who is aware of what Soo-Hyun really does for a living. He is kind of a liaison between Doctor Kim and the clients who hire him. Philip is also a member of an internationally renowned hacking group.
Prosecutor Yoon Jung-Woo teams up with Detective Do in trying to solve what she feels are the murders of a serial killer. He respects her as a detective and likes her as a woman.
To find out about Jang Ki-Yong, the actor who plays Kim Soo-Hyun, you can go to my Come and Hug Me review.
Im Jin-Ah, professionally known as Nana, plays the part of the adopted Do Hyun-Jin. In 2009 she began her entertainment career as a singer with the girl group After School (later being in two of its sub-units). She has also been a model, participating in events such as the Seoul Fashion Walk S/S 2012 and a-nation’s “NYLON” fashion show. Her acting debut came in the form of a cameo role as herself in the 2006 drama High Kick! She is popular in China as well as her home country of South Korea, being cast in a drama, a feature film, and a fashion elimination show there. I’d love to see the Chinese drama she was in called Love Weaves Through a Millennium, a remake of Queen In-Hyun’s Man (on my favorite dramas list). Here’s a fun fact – Nana is a licensed makeup artist. I think she is one of the most beautiful Kdrama actresses out there. Fortunately, I have some evidence to back up that claim – Nana placed second on the Independent Critics List of 100 Most Beautiful Faces of 2013. Then in 2014 and 2015 she placed first on that same list!
As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, this story is full of yuck, with murder and child abuse being among the top three. I can’t tell you the main one because it will spoil the shock but if you don’t handle dark things well, skip Kill It.
I liked the fact that every single cop/prosecutor we become familiar with is a good guy. There’s no dirty cop among them and that, to me, was refreshing. So, you don’t have to wonder if one of the “good guys” is really bad. The cops we get to know are all upstanding police officers.
Kill It’s ending could have gone a couple different ways and I was very satisfied with the one that was chosen. It is an ending that best makes sense with real life, and it’s difficult to argue with reality (even though we may want something different). This particular ending keeps us from seeing the story as completely far fetched.
There are many action scenes in Kill It and each one is excellent. Jang Ki-Yong does a superb job with all his fight scenes. I couldn’t help but wonder if wires were used on some of his jumps or if that was just him. Wow! All the action sequences are well choreographed and the director does a great job with the camera angles.
So here’s my complaint paragraph. As I mentioned previously, Doctor Kim’s veterinary office space is in the building Seul-Ki owns but she seems to know nothing about the secret room behind one of the kennels that is Assassin Kim’s hide-out. How could he hide that from her? If he had added that onto his clinic she would have seen the building going on. And if it was already there… no, there’s just no logical reason for a secret room to have already been a part of the clinic. That room just didn’t make sense to me. The other thing that just isn’t right is when something is explained about one of the characters at the very end. Try as I might, I just wasn’t able to wrap my head around what was said. I couldn’t find any way for it to make sense and that bothered me.
Kill It’s music is mostly instrumental, you know, the kind of stuff that’s used to heighten the tension in a scene. However, there are a few songs with lyrics, three being played a bit more than the others. The first is Forever Love, sung by Min Kyung-Hoon (from the band Buzz). The second is My Everything, performed by Han Seung-Hee. And the third is You, Like, Me sung by Kim Bo-Kyung. All three of those songs have the perfect kind of sound for this drama. There’s just something slightly unsettling about them. The only thing I didn’t like was how much louder the chorus is than the verses. Way too uneven, and all three songs are guilty of doing that. ALi sings the best song, in my opinion, Just Stay. It’s a really pretty ballad that has a sad kind of feel to it. Again, perfect for this drama.
Because of the show’s theme there are a lot of scenes shot in very dark or dim lighting. When we can’t see things clearly it helps to add tension and this story is all about the “dark.”
As far as crime/thrillers/mysteries go, Kill It is a fascinating adventure. Squeamish folks will be grateful there’s not a whole lot of blood and gore (unlike what we experience in Return) but be prepared, its subject matter is extremely dark and unsettling.
Plot keeps your interest
Great action sequences
No graphic violence
The show is dark – visually as well as emotionally