Top 10 must-watch Action Korean Movies

South Koreans have pretty good action movies! In most cases, they are not as good or innovative as their thrillers or romances, but they are good enough to enjoy.

New World

Take The Departed and Godfather, mix it in a blender, add a dash of Korean gangster and you've got a slick thriller that offers a bit of the brutal violence Korean cinema is known for as well as some humor. While not as polished as the Berlin File, it's arguably a better movie when it comes to plot. The acting is top notch. Every single major characters have been portrayed by the actors flawlessly. Min-Choi is 'just' and 'corrupted' just like a the 2 sides of a coin, and he gives a solid performance.

A Company Man

"A Company Man" is an average, not especially original, but mildly entertaining, story of the everyday life of a hit-man, who (you can imagine) will rethink his lifestyle. From the very start to the end this is yet another example of the Korean way of making action movies. On one hand, a lot of bloodshed and fighting  and on the other hand touching moments and a gentle exploration of the characters. For me this is quite an interesting recipe and a breath of fresh air from the clich├ęs of the "classical" action movies. "A Company Man" will be an enjoyable one hour and a half for fans of this genre, but it offers absolutely nothing new.

A Bittersweet Life

A Bittersweet Life is an dark and moody gangster film. This movie is straight forward and delivers the pure revenge theme. A bittersweet life is simple plot, filmed and played exactly how it is meant to be, exactly how you want it to be. Every scene is fresh with  suspense which is so rare by today's standards.Give this movie  a try and hopefully you will find it more overall satisfying than I did.

A Dirty Carnival

One of the quote in this movie describes and sums up this movie "You just need to know two things to be successful. Who you need and what he needs" and that basically sums up the gangster world. The movie really does show the nasty and dirty parts about being a gangster and trying to move up in the world. But the thing is the movie just have anything that really immersed you and can get a bit tedious at time. This is a depressing gangster movie that shows the progress of a gangster who has morals but his direction causes conflict for his loved ones, although that is not his intention. This isn't really a movie that glorifies the gangster life but it doesn't really bash on it either but it does show that it's a sad life full of hurting others and backstabbing.

War of the Arrows

War of the Arrows is not your typical set battle piece - it is a superbly realized take on the classical idea of one man, a true hero in skill and virtue, being chased by a band of elite archers. The story of a brother looking to rescue his sister and her husband from invaders is well-handled. The last two-thirds of War of the Arrows is simply outstanding - here we have thrilling film with snipers - but snipers who use bow and arrows rather than guns - who give chase to each other - and what a chase! This is a film that does transcend its genre and is clearly one of the better films of the year, bar none.

Hwayi: A Monster Boy

Director Joon-Hwan Jang (Save the Green Planet) is characterized by two things: Excellent film making and graphic violence. Hway is a drama/thriller , revolving about a boy raised by a gang of kidnappers/thieves/killers-in short: Not the most moral people of society. But it's not so simple- there is no black/white -only shades of grey. This is the cornerstone and what carries the film -complex characters and their relationship between each other. Brutality ,compassion , hate ,love , avengement, an so on.


"Secretly, Greatly" tells a captivating story of three young man, trained to be killing machines, sent to South Korea as spies and assimilate into the local society. While they await further instruction from the party, they forge a friendship with the local community. The first half of the film is comedic, with the lead character acting foolish and funny. The second half of the film turns into a adrenaline fuelled action film, with much brutal fist fights and valiant defiance of orders. It is presented so well, that it keeps people captivated with the three men's psychological struggle and physical struggle. The plot is profoundly powerful towards the end of the film, when everything culminates to an emotional and action climax. "Secretly, Greatly" is a great gem that deserves to be seen.


The plot is simple : ecologist freaks have pushed governments to unleash a gas in the atmosphere to control global warming, this proved so effective that the world is now a standalone, snow-covered giant ice cap. The only survivors are all aboard a revolutionary train that goes on and on making loops around the world. It's like Noah's Ark, but including the politics that come with it : first class, second class, workers, fraudsters, the ticket is your fate - for generations. And the consequences are extreme, to such and extent that you can't conceive. Prepare to be shocked at times. Every car they go through bears its grotesque and mind-bending surprises. And tells us more about how this society actually works and what it relies on.

The Suspect

This is a solid action/thriller that should engage and entertain fans of Korean action cinema. The story revolve around Ji Dong-cheol (Gong Yoo), a former North Korean super' spy who defected after being betrayed by his superiors and nearly killed. Working in South Korea as a chauffeur for a millionaire CEO, he finds himself framed for murder when his boss is assassinated by masked intruders. Ji goes on the run, being hotly pursued by a relentless government agent, Col. Min, who bears a grudge relating to a previous encounter between the two during an operation in Hong Kong which resulted in Min's being demoted. In Short it all adds up to "fine Movie", which means a fun time can be had anyway. The super-charged pace, with its non-stop assassins and fights and intrigue and car crashes, will certainly never bore.

The Man From Nowhere

" The Man From Nowhere", widely known as "Ajeossi" in South Korea, essentially depicts a man who has withdrawn himself from the society and lost his sense of worth and living due to the lost of his loved ones. However, he finally began to show affection and fondness in the little girl lives down the street; it was just like how tin man finally found his heart. They were each other's only friend. So when she is taken away, he fights with all his might and wit because he cannot possibly handle the loss of his only beloved friend. This simple plot is very well executed. There was not a single part of the movie that is boring. Your tension is constantly kept at high, and you will be sometimes treated with some tidbits of laughter. Overall this movie has an old plot but stands out because of the tone, pacing, and wonderful acting. I recommend this movie to anyone who loves good revenge flicks. You won't be disappointed!

(Source: MyDramaList, Wikipedia)

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