This article contains spoilers. A new hot rod has pulled into the K-drama broadcast schedule. Based on the webcomic The Deluxe Taxi (the Korean name of the show) by Carlos and Lee Jae-jin, Taxi Driver follows Kim Do-gi (Lee Je-hoon), a highly trained Korean Military Academy graduate who went off the rails after the brutal murder of his mother. Do-gi is taken under the wing of Jang Sung-chul (Kim Eui-sung), the director of the Blue Bird Foundation as well as the head of the Rainbow Taxi Company. Do-gi now works behind a cab wheel, but he’s no ordinary taxi driver. When he’s not picking up fares in a normal orange cab, he throws on his shades and bomber jacket and becomes an angel of revenge behind the wheel of a black deluxe taxi. The Rainbow Taxi Company provides a secret service to those who have been wronged and want to get their own back. Desperate souls learn of this clandestine taxi service when they reach rock bottom and spot ads just as they contemplate ending things, whether on the barrier of a bridge or when a pop-up ad interrupts their search for suicide methods. Five new Korean dramas to look out for in April 2021 If they call the number, Do-gi will pick them up and drive them to an arcade, where they’ll be directed to an eight-bit video game explaining the service and offering them the choice of the blue button or the red button – a touch that is sure to please fans of The Matrix . Meanwhile, K-drama fans will be delighted to recognise the voice on the machine, none other than the Lady Vengeance herself, Lee Young-ae, in a cameo role. The deluxe cab is housed in a secret garage under the Rainbow Taxi Company, and beyond Do-gi as the wheelman and Sung-chul as the boss, the revenge cadre also includes the comic-relief mechanics Choi Kyung-goo (Jang Hyuk-jin) and Park Jin-eon (Bae Yoo-ram), as well as the spunky and adaptable dispatch operator Ahn Go-eun (Pyo Ye-jin). Taxi Driver operates on two very clear levels. On the one hand, it’s a fun and cathartic episodic show that follows the deluxe taxi crew as they go about their missions – accepting a new client, scoping out their targets and taking them down – which so far have each lasted two episodes (or one week of broadcasts). On the other hand, there’s also a serialised element which is set into motion as soon as the show revs up the engine. Taxi Driver begins with Jo Do-chul (Jo Hyun-woo), a notorious sex offender, being released from jail early into a swarm of press. He is whisked away into a deluxe taxi, but little does he know that this cab, driven by Do-gi, is not going to bring him to his destination. Do-chul is imprisoned in a secret location by Sung-chul and kept under the watchful eye of the savage and sassy loan shark Baek Sung-mi (a stand-out supporting performance from Cha Ji-yeon). Meanwhile, Sung-chul also has to deal with Kang Ha-na (Esom), a tenacious prosecutor who is trying to track down Do-chul. Sung-chul is close with Ha-na’s boss, through his volunteer work at Blue Bird, and he seems to take an interest in Ha-na. She meets the Rainbow crew several times as she gets closer and closer to figuring out who they are and what happened to Do-chul, yet we get the sense that she will probably join their crew further down the line. Do-gi’s driving force is his own anger stemming from his mother’s demise. Sung-chul has the same raison d’être, as his own parents were murdered, and the show has already hinted that there’s something similar in Go Eun’s past. It is an effective device, but clearly Taxi Driver isn’t digging very deep with its characterisations. Don’t be surprised if the mechanics and Ha-na have similarly tragic backstories. The show has given us two missions to date. The first, about a simple young woman abused in a countryside factory, is sure to stimulate outrage, but it also underplays a real societal problem. Immigrants from poorer Asian countries are routinely forced to endure inhumane living and working conditions in farms and factories, often in the South Korean countryside where they are cut off from support networks and easily controlled. Taxi Driver brings this social ill to the screen, but makes the victim Korean, while tacitly acknowledging that it’s normally immigrants in this situation in a rushed, throwaway line. The second mission, a case of vicious high school bullying, has lower stakes but is more familiar and engaging. By now, the dynamic of the crew is smoother and it’s a lot more fun seeing them set up their revenge scheme, which is more clever and better orchestrated this time around. Oddly, both missions have featured young aggressors peeing themselves when confronted by Do-gi. There’s not much under the bonnet with Taxi Driver and, to date, what you see is what you get. But with the bouncy and high tempo we’ve been treated to so far, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Consequently, it should come as no surprise that one of the key stylistic influences for the show is the ultimate slick hot rod revenge story, the Ryan Gosling-led noir crime thriller Drive – from the shades and mask, all the way down to the cool soundtrack. Taxi Driver is streaming on Viu.