Episode 1 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 2 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 4 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 5 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 7 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 8 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 9 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 10 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 11 – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 12 – | Review Score – 4/5
Episode 13 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 14 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 15 – | Review Score – 3/5
Episode 16 – | Review Score – 3/5
There’s a lot of evil in this world. From murderers and rapists through to corporations exploiting workers, this wave of despair threatens to consume the world into a pit of misery at any moment. However, there’s also a lot of good too.
Whether it be charitable donations, acts of sheer bravery or even something as simple as helping someone in need, these moments of hope help to balance out this symbiotic relationship between good and evil. What then happens when someone good has been pushed to the point of pursuing evil methods for revenge?
Step forward Taxi Driver. SBS’s latest revenge thriller is a simple, effective series that explores this very concept in an interesting way.
At the heart of this lies Do-Ki, an ex-military man with a big chip on his shoulder. After being forced to watch his murdered Mother die in his arms, Do-Ki joins forces with a man named Sung-Chul to set up Rainbow Taxi foundation. Their intention is simple – help those in need to gain revenge against their oppressors.
Joining Do-Ki are a host of supporting players for each operation, setting up “Deluxe Taxi” as their covering alias. Along the way Do-Ki helps various different clients gain the revenge they crave. Whether it be a company forcing its workers into slavery or a sex trafficking scam, Do-Ki and co. arrive to try and swing the balance of power in their favour. Any boy is it satisfying when they do.
It’s not all smooth sailings though. Hot on Do-Ki’s heels is prolific prosecutor Ha-Na, who figures out something is wrong and remains vigilant in finding out the truth. As the season progresses, these two opposing forces come to blows with Do-Ki forced to try and outsmart and outmaneuver the police.
This all comes to a dramatic conclusion, where most of the big plot points are resolved and the show leaves the prospect of a second season wide open. Although to be fair, there’s enough here to prevent that becoming a necessity.
Where Taxi Drier excels though is through its characters and individuals cases. Each case spans multiple episodes, allowing for good growth for each player and a different level of evil to be faced. Even Ha-Na, who gets a good chunk of the screen-time here, is faced with the same dilemmas the other characters have, which revolves around the law and when to take matters into your own hands.
This whole push/pull between the police force and the freelance Rainbow Taxi firm is partly what makes this show such a fascinating watch. As a personal gripe though, it would have been nice to see this elaborated on a little more late on in the show, but ultimately Taxi Driver does a good job keeping things engaging until the very end.
Interestingly, the writing team changed part way through production of Taxi Driver, leading to a subtle tonal shift late on. Instead of the grounded cases of old, Taxi Driver does tend to fall into makjang (melodrama) territory but it’s not too much of a deterrent to what’s otherwise a solid watch.
While there’s nothing particularly outstanding or unique with this revenge thriller, it is a highly stylized and polished effort nonetheless. There are echoes of John Wick with the way Do-Ki shrugs off his enemies, amusingly lending itself to a somewhat comic-book tone.
However, the cases themselves are dark and a few of them feature some scenes that are very difficult to watch. This balance between light and dark is ultimately what makes Taxi Driver such an enjoyable thriller. This is a tightly written, nicely paced drama that’s a solid addition to the revenge thriller roster.
Verdict - 8/10