Taxi Driver S02 K-Drama Review
Cast: Lee Je-hoon, Kim Eui-sung, Pyo Ye-jin, Jang Hyuk-jin
Despite disbanding after Do Gi’s successful revenge, the Rainbow Deluxe Taxi crew, including Seong Cheol, Go Eun, Gyeong Cu, and Jin Eon, can’t resist the call to reunite with their former leader. Though each attempts to live a regular life with a typical job, their innate desire to fight against injustice draws them back to one another.
The group even welcomes a new member, a kind-hearted but clumsy young man named On Ha Jun, who stumbles upon the secret basement of Rainbow Taxi. Now fighting for more clients than ever before, the crew continues to battle on behalf of those wronged by an unequal society.
However, their work draws the attention of a mysterious organization, which makes its presence known by killing one of Do Gi’s targets before disappearing without a trace. As they try to uncover the organization’s identity and motives, the Rainbow Taxi crew faces their toughest challenge yet.
Taxi Driver S02 K-Drama Review:
Those familiar with the first season will notice that by episode 12 things had taken a lighter turn. With the change in writers mid-season because of artistic differences, the resolutions to the later cases brought the drama into less dark territory. The “lighter” tone (lighter being relative since the series is still very much about heinous crimes) continues in this second season.
The show is especially good at making its villains more villainous and giving them a satisfying end without making the Rainbow Taxi crew look ruthless. “Let the punishment fit the crime” is the MO and the team allows fate and karma to play their roles. You’ll need to suspend your disbelief several times though, as the team’s revenge plots get even more complex and audacious.
But since we already knew going in that getting revenge is itself a wish-fulfillment fantasy, it’s not that much of a stretch to believe that the team can get away with practically everything. It is still a satisfying watch, made even more entertaining because the chemistry among the cast just keeps getting better.
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In the first season, we grew to love the crew as their loyalty and concern for each other became more evident. This time around, we see them have fun with each other, too. We even dared to hope that our favorite taxi driver could have a love life.
There’s more room for the co-stars of Lee Je-hoon to shine, each one getting his/her turn in the spotlight as he/she dons different personas to con criminals. Kim Do-ki (Lee Je-hoon) and the Rainbow Taxi Company faced their biggest threats this season, working their way through dastardly episodic villains until they were confronted with underworld puppeteer the Bishop (Park Ho-san).
The Bishop is the leader of a gigantic criminal cabal active in a range of nefarious deeds, several of which have been negatively affected by Rainbow Taxi’s activities.
At the beginning of this season, the taxi group welcomed a new employee, the fresh-faced cab driver On Ha-joon (Shin Jae-ha). Ha-Joon wasn’t privy to Rainbow’s secret missions, but he was doing his best to find out, as he snooped around the company grounds.
This is because Ha-joon was actually sent by the Bishop to eliminate Do- ki was fooled into thinking he was one of the good guys when he first appeared. Perhaps he would eventually join the team or maybe he was an undercover police officer.
The truth turned out to be much more sinister than that as he was eventually revealed to be a bloodthirsty stooge hell-bent on killing Do ki. Several times in the back half of this season he appeared as though he might complete his task.
One episode even ends with Do-ki’s black cab being blown off the road and erupting into a ball of fire. As we later learn, Do-ki sniffed out that attempt to snuff out his life in the nick of time, hurling himself out of the car moments before it lit up.
But his life and that of his colleagues come perilously close to ending several more times near the finale when Do-ki finishes the season just like he started it — behind bars Both times, Do-ki inserted himself in prison on purpose to help a client, but this time his voluntary incarceration has been engineered by the Bishop, who has the whole prison, prisoners and guards alike, in his pocket.
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The Bishop is a mighty adversary, but despite being so well acquainted with the exploits of Rainbow Taxi Company he underestimates them in one crucial way: he doesn’t anticipate the emotional aspect of their plan. Our early faith in Ha-Joon, before we discovered he was a killing machine, is rewarded when Jang Sung-Chul (Kim Eui-sung), the head of Rainbow, digs up information on his parents.
He thought he was abandoned and taken in by the Bishop, but that proves to be very far from the truth. The manipulative Bishop’s most loyal servant discovers his master’s betrayal and suddenly becomes the ace up Rainbow’s sleeve, providing the season with a suitably cathartic, action-packed, and emotional climax.
In between its prison bookends, this season of Taxi Driver has treated us to another colorful array of vile criminals, some of whom it turned out were connected to the Bishop’s empire. These included a con man using abducted children to help young couples score flats in Korea’s real estate lottery system, and an alcoholic surgeon delegating dangerous and unnecessary operations to an unlicensed doctor.
There’s also the case of the Black Sun nightclub where women are drugged and offered up to high-paying VIPs, a direct allusion to the “Burning Sun” scandal that erupted in South Korea in 2019 that encompassed prostitution, drug trafficking, and police corruption and implicated several major entertainment figures.
Halfway through the season, Namgoong Min donned his checked suit and sunglasses again for a reprise of his One Dollar Lawyer, who bumps into Do-ki and gives him a few tips. He also offers to split his one-dollar retainer with him if he happens to send any clients his way.
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In the season finale, the Rainbow Taxi Company gets a surprise and explosive helping hand from a former employee, who was the first person to drive the Deluxe Taxi before Do-ki. Dressed in black and played by The Penthouse villain Kim So-yeon, she riddles a warehouse and a battalion of goons with gunfire.
Though humor is in generous supply throughout, often thanks to the genial comic support of Rainbow mechanics Park Jin-eon (Bae Yoo-ram) and Choi Kyung-koo Wang Hyuk-jin), Taxi Driver 2 wasn’t quite as funny as its predecessor.
It’s not that the jokes weren’t as good, but the show took on higher dramatic stakes and needed room for a season-long villain which intensified the competition for screen real estate. The main draw of the show continues to be the vicarious thrill afforded to the audience by this crack team of vigilantes. The schemes they cook up are enjoyable but at times a little sloppy in their execution.
There’s nothing the team can’t do, but it’s not always clear how they do it. For example, Do-ki, Jin-eon, and Kyung-koo have no trouble sneaking items into prison with them, and their tech support Ahn Go-eun (Pyo Ye-jin) is somehow able to see and hear them on the inside.
Each time something goes wrong with their plan, we’ve become used to the fact that Rainbow has a secret plan to one-up the villains. It’s fun seeing how this table-turning comes together, but it softened the tension in what should have been the show’s most thrilling moments.
Taxi Driver 2 takes what was already a successful K-drama and made it into a successful franchise. While we won’t be holding our breath for a third season (as these are so rare in K-dramaland), you can’t keep us from crossing our fingers. They have a good thing going here and I’d love to see more of Lee Je-hoon and the Rainbow Taxi gang kick (more) criminal butts.
The producers have announced that there will be indeed a third season. (YAY!) Whether or not the same characters return remains to be seen.