Another thrilling ride just came to an end yesterday. Lookout, with its star-studded cast was one awfully psychotic journey which had its viewers on edge for most of the show. A wild goose chase involving a corrupt judiciary and a group of vigilantes seeking vengeful justice made for a very exciting premise for the show. With a basic story involving murders and suicides, it was not at all one of those typical Korean dramas with a happy ending, since it proved to uncover the brutal underbelly of Asian societies.
Now for the star cast. First up, we have the formidable Kim Young Kwang, leading this team of nobodies, while playing the role of a prosecutor, earning the deep trust of those he’s out to destroy. Casting for his character was perfect for a number of reasons. His tall height, accentuated his position as the group leader. His perfectly tailored suits, just made him all the more dominating in the presence of other prosecutors. From his long legs to his broad shoulders, everything added personality to the internally broken person that he was. I’ve always liked Kim Young Kwang but his role as Prosecutor Jang Do Han was just out of this world. All the nuances he gave in his various moods from the abnormally low bows that lasted for at least a minute, to the look of contempt in his eyes. It was all so well acted, especially the haunting smiles on his face towards the end of the show. I believe this role of his is possibly his best for now.
Next up, is Lee Si Young, who played Detective Jo Soo Ji, who is so committed to her job that she is unable to give her daughter, Jo Yuna the time she wants to. Therefore, on one occasion, while Yuna is out with her grandmother to a children’s show, she gets lost and the next thing we see is her dead body lying on the ground of a building. Soo Ji, convinced that the person who caused her daughter’s death is the son of the Seoul District’s Prosecutor, Yoon Seung Ro, is out for vengeance. This is when she gets scouted to work with the rest of the gang because of her understanding of criminal strategies and her immense stealth. Lee Si Young’s experience as an amateur boxer helped her greatly in this role, which could be seen with how incredible all the fight scenes were involving Soo Ji. Her slim figured helped her in times where stealth was required, and the solemnity and pain etched on her face was just heart wrenching to watch, even though she made up for the pain by giving us amazing fight scenes.
After Jo Soo Ji, we have Kim Eun Joong, played by Kim Tae Hoon, who serves as the foil to Kim Young Kwang’s Jang Do Han. A prosecutor who plays by the rules, Eun Joong is one of those absolute perfectionists who do not waver from the ‘rightful path’, as laid out by the law. While Do Han manipulates the law, in order to get back at the higher echelons of the judiciary acting the same way, Eun Joong is bent on defeating corruption by righteousness. From my own experience, such people are idealists, unable to survive in the real world, which Eun Joong goes on to prove by his actions.
The absolutely remarkable, Kim Seul Gi comes next. She has never failed me in any of the roles I have seen her in, from her hilarious parody with Jay Park of Love the Way You Lie for Saturday Night Live Korea, to her roles in Flower Boys Next Door and Oh My Ghost. This woman has so many tricks up her sleeve, and the fact that she comes in such a tiny package makes her all the more endearing. She always reminds me of firecrackers that can pop any minute. Nevertheless, this was Kim Seul Gi’s most introspective role, laced with such bitter pangs. She looked regal as Seo Bo Mi, with the perfect hair, but her story was as bad as any of the others. Bo Mi stays locked up all day, since she is fearful to enter the world in which she saw her parents and elder sister get murdered right in front of her eyes. The job she is allocated due to her almost potato-like existence is that of managing all of the footage from CCTV cameras around the city of Seoul. She is able to track the route of any vehicle, and see the directions possible suspects are taking or who all they are meeting.
The last part of this phenomenal gang is Kong Kyung Soo played by SHINee’s Key, in his second role in a drama. He had already won me over with his amazing acting in Drinking Solo, but Kyung Soo was just another level of coolness. A hacker by profession, Kyung Soo owns the hideout that ends up becoming the home to the rest of the gang. His stealth and technical prowess make him pretty awesome. Added to that is the same childish playfulness reminiscent of Kim Ki Bum from Drinking Solo. He is the only member of the team that is able to find humour in the most strenuous situations, and yet, despite all of this, he also has an equally sad story, having lost his mother at a young age due to judicial malpractice.
Coming to our antagonists, both father and son were phenomenal actors. Choi Moo Sung, the regularly soft, fatherly, jolly figure in dramas like Reply 1988 and Uncontrollably Fond, was a delight to see in this new light. His role as Yoon Seung Ro, was so brutal that it sent shivers down my spine at times. The coldness in his eyes and the unwavering facial expressions, were signs of a professional actor. I loved how the same silent behaviour in Reply 1988 that had been interpreted as fatherly, became so fear-inducing in this show. Secondly, Park Solomon, who played the role of his son, Yoon Shi Wan, was THE BEST. As evil as the character was, it would have been incomplete if Solomon was weak at conveying the psychotic personality. He nailed it, though. It was so perfect. All the facial expressions were like he was doing magic on screen, from the smirks to the whimpers. I have incredible hope with him.
Over here, I’d like to make a special mention of Shin Dong Wook’s return to show business. Having watched his dramas like Soulmate and Stars Falling From the Sky, I had found out what a promising actor he had originally been. Knowing how he has been suffering from a serious illness for the past seven years, accounting for his long hiatus from the industry, I was so happy to see him back on screen. I would have liked his character to be a little more important, given the way his story was knit into the rest of the script. Still, just seeing Shin Dong Wook back makes me feel very happy and I hope he gives us great performances in the future to make up for his missed time.
Even though I have talked a lot about how much I loved the acting and the actors of the show, there were definitely huge scripting errors which made the show a little difficult to digest in retrospect. The characters were outlined perfectly, but their arcs were not that well-built, which caused some serious issues in the show. I didn’t realize these issues till I ended the show and discussed it with other people, but these errors were hard to ignore once I realized them. Many loopholes were left behind regarding the mystery that were never addressed and there was just something lacking as far as viewer satisfaction goes. Nonetheless, the show was a great watch simply because of this amazing cast, and the beautiful chases and fight scenes. Lee Si Young has earned a lot of my respect after the drama, and the same goes for Kim Young Kwang. Both were phenomenal!