Recently we have been getting a lot of action and crime based dramas with shows like Vincenzo, Beyond Evil and Mouse. And another currently airing one is Taxi Driver. I originally started this show expecting... honestly, expecting nothing. I did not really know the actors, and I thought it was just going to be any other revenge-driven action drama. It was also not produced by OCN, my favorite crime drama channel up to this date, but by SBS, which I mainly know for rom-coms. So, yes, I went into this drama with very low expectations. But the drama took me by surprise, and I even decided to write a Currently Watching article on it, so that we can experience the joy of this drama together!
Taxi Driver is a currently airing 16-episodes drama on SBS (also available on Viki), adapted from a webtoon. It stars some pretty known names, with Lee Je Hoon from Signal, as well as Esom or Lee Som, who you might know more from films rather than dramas, and Kim Eui Sung, who you might recognize from Arthdal Chronicles or other dramas where he had a supporting role.
To defeat evil, is it justifiable to become evil yourself?
The drama revolves around Kim Do Gi, a special forces soldier who one day comes home to see his mother murdered. After the justice system fails him, he goes on a downward spiral until he encounters Rainbow Taxi and its CEO, Jang Sung Chul. Together, and accompanied by a range of supporting characters, they start providing revenge services for people who were wronged by the justice system and who are not able to take revenge themselves. At the same time, prosecutor Kang Ha Na starts suspecting these strange "revenge services" and goes on a hunt herself. Soon, all of them are caught up in a net of right and wrong and how far one can go to perform justice in an unfair world.
Revenge done right... or wrong?
What sounds like a normal revenge-driven plot, with the addition of taxi drivers, soon proves to be a lot more than can be seen: Taxi Driver will let you know early on that it does not revolve around the usual revenge plot but is all about how the justice system can fail people and produce victims who are unable to save themselves or those they love. While they do show flashbacks to how the main characters came to be who they are, the show does not linger on it. It is set in the current time, and this is what it is all about. No never-ending flashbacks, no "all characters were wronged by the same guy", and no "this person is special and therefore I will give up my revenge for them". Taxi Driver gives you an inkling of why everyone is so hell-bent on revenge but decides to stay away from the usual clichés. The drama avoids any intriguing bad guys but gives you despicable villains who you will hate enough as they are and plainly refuses to clearly justify the ways of the main character. The drama knows that its main characters would be bad guys if the villains weren't even worse. Overall, Taxi Driver explores how far someone would -and should- go to achieve revenge for oneself and others.
The story is quite fast-paced and works according to the one-case-at-a-time structure we know from other dramas, although sometimes a case takes more than one episode. Also, a lot of the cases seem to be oriented (but not based) on real-life events and occurrences, which sometimes makes it even more aggravating, and you will see yourself cheering for the revenge plot to succeed.
Kim Do Gi (Lee Je Hoon)
Kim Do Gi is a former special forces soldier who had given up on the world but got another chance to make things right. And he is convinced to do just that. He is good at fighting and driving (of course) and is something like the second brain of the Rainbow Taxi team. Despite being such a badass and being blunt about what he thinks, he has more of a timid and friendly character. He is close to the CEO Jang Sung Chul, and they have an equal understanding of their roles as well as of their conviction regarding the whole revenge plot, making them the perfect team.
I really appreciated the dynamics between the CEO and Kim Do Gi. Different to other revenge dramas, our two main characters have a bond of trust between each other, a build-out of honesty, transparency and the simple fact that both of them are actually normal and nice guys who were just wronged by the world so badly they let shadows into their heart.
Kang Ha Na (Esom)
Kang Ha Na is an upright prosecutor and has the backbone of a bulldog. If she is suspicious of someone or wants to investigate something, she will. Whether it is her supervisor or a dear friend telling her to leave it be, she will still follow the clues.
At the same time, she is not naive in any way. She knows exactly how corrupt the system is but decided to just not play by its rules but go her own way.
She immediately clashes with Kim Do Gi and also has some questionable interactions with our other main characters, but despite her being oblivious to many things, she is never once portrayed as dense or stupid for not knowing, but you always have the feeling she just does not know YET. This simple word will keep you in your seat in every scene.
Jang Sung Chul (Kim Eui Sung)
The CEO of Rainbow Taxi and the Bluebird Foundation, a foundation build for victims of injustice and loss, is a complex person. While he seems like a nice old man who managed to build a helpful foundation and who went through trauma himself but rose above his revenge dreams, he is actually a very revenge-driven and eager person. He knows exactly what he wants, and he keeps pursuing his goals without hesitation.
But do not think he is someone with two faces; he is not. Even when plotting with the Rainbow Taxi team, he is nice and polite, as well as giving everyone an equal role. It is apparent how much his team means to him, and while he does want revenge, he is only ready to sacrifice himself and not his whole team. He knows well what his team is capable of and leads them well in their capabilities and skills. As mentioned before, it is noticeable he is a nice and warmhearted person who wants to help people, but due to the unsolvable injustice, he experienced he is also eager to help others in their revenge plans.
Go Eun (Pyo Ye Jin)
Go Eun is the hacker and IT specialist for Rainbow Taxi and also the voice in Kim Do Gi's ear when he is on a mission. She is sassy and only does what she wants but is a definite believer in their missions.
She has a soft spot for Kim Do Gi and is brutally honest with her teammates and the CEO, and immediately clashes with Kang Ha Na.
The characters from Taxi Driver are very well written, and all of them will somehow intrigue you or make you immediately like them. At the same time, Taxi Driver does not hesitate to tell you exactly how far its characters would go for revenge. Just when you think the main characters are the good guys, you will find yourself watching a scene where you start doubting it all. And it is not necessarily because of the bad guys' actions they apply but more because of the apparent lack of guilt or regret they assume afterwards. Usually, I can judge pretty easily if a drama will end with the revenge-taking guy being in jail or dead ("too many evil deeds will land you in hell"), but with this drama, I have absolutely no clue. Not the slightest. That's the intrigue of this drama :)
Action and Stunts
Taxi Driver provides a good range of action and stunts. The scenes are well done and provide some coordinated choreography. The show underlines it with some great music and even combines it with good comedy at times. What I really like is how the show takes it all as if nothing is going on. A talking scene is smoothly taken from a calm context to an action-loaded fight and back. A car crash is shown for a few short seconds before going back to normal surroundings. The drama makes it clear: the action is the cherry on top but not the main dish. The main dish is the feelings of the characters, the injustice dealt with them and the other victims.
To put it all together, Taxi Driver deals with a simple but hard-to-answer question:
How far would you go to avenge your loved ones?
Would you be willing to do evil deeds? Would you try to take revenge yourself? Would you try to forgive and forget? Taxi Driver is a drama about what injustice and loss can do to a person and how sometimes people are just taken too far to return to where they were. At the same time, our main characters seem to quite well aware of the saying:
"When you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves."
This drama will keep you on the edge of your seat, hoping for their revenge to succeed but questioning yourself if this is really the right thing to do. Prepare your conscience, it will be a bumpy ride!
Thank you for reading! Will you check out Taxi Driver? Do you like revenge-driven dramas? Leave a comment down below and share your opinion!
Edited by: YW (1st editor)