Its generally very popular for people to watch Korean dramas just because there’s such a variety. But Korean movies are also just as exciting (and they don’t take 16 episodes to finish) and just as big of a variety. I’m going to share some of my favorite Korean movies that I’ve watched that you should see.
King and the clown (2005)
This was a movie I got interested when I kept seeing the rendition of the song sung by Hee Sun Lee called “Fate“. So I decided to watch it and it lived up to the hype. Starring Lee Joon-Gi as “Gong Gil” and Kam Woo-sung as two performers who run away from their troupe. Only to be performing for the King Yeonsan (played by Jung Jin-young) and Nok-su Jang (played by Kang Sung-yeon). It has the comedic/historical drama feel that captures Korea in the 16th centurey Joseon era. The whole cast got me intrigued from the moody, ecstatic King, jealous mistress Nok-su that catapult the performers. To Joon Gi who portrays effortlessly the feminine gong gil while Woo-sung plays this masculine and protector of gong gil. It definitely tugged at my heartstrings; it’s a movie worth watching. It was also the highest historical movie grossing at 12.3 million up until the The host surpassed it in 2006.
200 Pounds beauty (2006)
This movies stars Kim Ah-joong that plays Kang Hanna, Joo Jin-mo as Sang-Jun this is about an overweight singer (Kang Hanna) who gets plastic surgery to improve her personal appearance. A funny romantic/comedy that showcases Ah-Joong’s amazing voice where she sung all the tracks including ‘Maria‘ (skip to 1:23 to hear the song). The humor in this movie makes me crack up and Kang Hanna is so wonderfully warm hearted. I enjoyed the songs in this movie and the rest of the cast including Amy (Ji Seo-Yun), Jeong Min (Kim Hyun-Sook), the plastic surgeon (Lee Han-Wi). I never found it to be lacking with an important message. If you want a light hearted movie filled with comedy 200 pounds beauty is the one to watch.
War of the arrows (2011)
This action movie set in the second Manchu invasion of Korea who Nam Yi (Park Hae-Il) the best archer in Korea goes up against the Qing dynasty to save his sister Ja-in (Moon Chae-won) from Mongolian invaders. Beautifully shot cinematography and captured again the Korean scenery displaying the 16th century. From the clothes to the fight scenes and the action shots of the arrows; all done well. Ryu Seung-Ryong plays the commander of the Qing army Jyuu Shin-ta that ends up hunting down Nam Yi, who I personally loved as an antagonist. The characters are driven each to overcome and achieve their goals. I personally thought this was one of the best historical/action films I’ve seen. And no doubt it won many words for best new actress/actor, cinematography just to name a few. Highly reccomend people to watch this film in particular.
The client (2011)
This thriller/law/drama stars Jang Hyuk, Sung Dong-Il, Ha Jung-Woo and Park Hee-Soon. Han Chul Min (Jang hyuk) finds out his wife is missing after he comes back with flowers for his wedding anniversary. He’s accused of being the only the suspect in his wife’s murder case without a body. Each side of the Prosecutor and Attorney both believe either that Han Chul min is the killer or isn’t. I really love law/thriller movies and dramas because I find there’s something exciting about how the courtroom is a battlefield of ending a life or saving one. This movie does such an amazing job with creating the mystery around the plot. It had me guessing until the end like a total shocking plot twist. You’ll have to find out what happens because I can’t spill it haha.
This is probably my favorite movie on this list starring Gong Yoo, and Jung Yu-mi, which is based on a true story. Inspired by actual events that happended and was put into a novel ‘Dokan’ written by Kong Ji-Young (published in 2009). It was a vert powerful film that combined the human compassion of a teacher (Gong Yoo) that defies the school’s system and overcomes the obstacles. I’ve cried really hard for the end especially with how they portrayed this realistic problem that unfortunately happens in real life. Gong Yoo’s character arc becomes a driving force to gain his confidence to go againts authoritative systems such as the school and the police. I definitely went through this emotional rollercoaster as the film did such a great job with the rawness and portrayal of these characters, especially the deaf childre (whom I very loved).
Secretly greatly (2013)
One of my favorite casts in this list of movies an action/comedy starring Kim Soo Hyun, Lee Hyun Woo, and Park Ki-Woong. A North Korean spy (Soo hyun) tries to adapt to life in South Korea while being a spy. Sometimes I’m not sure how action/comedy movies work just because they seem like big extremities on the spectrum of genres for movies. But it balances out with the multi-personas of the North Korean spies. Soo Hyun, Hyun Woo and Ki-Woong all had such amazing chemistry onscreen that I wished there could have been a mini movie for each of their characters. Overally great script, an equal good amount of action and comedy that entertained me. Especially if you love these three actors its a must watch for fans of these actors.
Like for likes (2016)
This Romantic/Comedy stars Yoo Ah-In, Choi Ji Woo, Kang Ha-neul, Lee Mi-Yeon, Esom, and Kim Joo-hyuk. It follows 3 intertwining pairs that hilariously land them into problems with each their own obstacles. From the deaf songwriter Soo-Ho (Ha-neul) that meets drama producer Na-Yeon (Esom), recently discharged idol Jin-Woo (Ah-in) that keeps wanting to meet screenwriter Gyung-A (Mi-Yeon). And then restuarant owner Sung-Chan (Joo-hyuk) who ends up sharing his apartment space with flight attendant Joo-Ran (Ji-Woo). All these different stories are just as hilarious and heart warming. And the fact that it uses Facebook to advertise within the movie is also kinda funny. But nonetheless it got me cracking up without fail.
Fabricated City (2017)
And the last movie on the list is one I just recently watched which stars Ji Chang Wook, Shim Eun-Kyung, Ahn Jae-hong, Oh Jung-Se, Kim Ki-Cheon and Kim Min-Kyo. Kwon Yoo (Chang Wook) plays a gamer who online is known as a great leader but in real life is unemployed and once a great national athlete. He then is framed for murder and has to struggle to find out who is behind this. This was released just this year and honestly anything with Ji Chang Wook I’ll watch because his one of my favorite actors haha. I really liked the technology aspect especially with the game influence that not many Korean films I know of incorporate. It was different seeing how Chang Wook plays a vulnerable character but as his character’s arc shapes he becomes more of the leader he plays online in the game. With some comedic timing I found the antagonist to be cunning and well developed as with the rest of the main cast.
And there you have all my Korean movies you should watch, a variety of genres and tones that’ll appeal to different types of audiences. I hope you enjoy watching these films and as always like, comment, share, and follow my blog for more updates!