Saturday, February 8, 2014

Top 30 Favorite Korean Movies (11-20)

The Host

       Park Gang Du  slow-witted man who runs a small snack-bar with his father. A monstrous creature emerges from the Han River, killing several people and dragging Gang Du's daughter away. He teams up with his father, his sister who is a national medalist archer and  his alcoholic unemployed brother to find his daughter before it's too late.

        I absolutely hate giant monster films. I have seen tons of Godzilla movies and I find them extremely boring, badly acted, poorly paced and the giant monsters usually receive less than 10 minutes of screen time. The Host succeeds where most the aforementioned films failed-excellent acting, solid story and the monster is featured prominently.

Punch Lady

        Ha-Eun’s husband Joo-Chang is a mixed martial arts champion who beats her daily for the smallest mistake. Ha-Eun is eventually pushed past her breaking point after her husband strikes their daughter and kills an opponent in the ring, She publicly challenges him to a duel and begins to train for the event.

             This was an amazing film, I found myself actually cheering Ha Eun as she finds the strength to leave her husband and her determination in training. I laughed, cried, and ultimately felt uplifted when watching this movie.

Chilling Romance

          Yeo Ri is a woman who has the ability to see ghosts causing her to lead a miserable and lonely existence. A magician named Jo Goo hires her for his new Horror Magic Show. She eventually reveals her ability and although Jo Goo is initially scared, he puts his fears aside as he starts to fall for Yeo Ri.

          Similar to Shaun of the Dead, Chilling Romance is a romantic comedy that successful blends horror into the mix. I became a huge fan of Lee Min Ki after watching Shut Up Flower Boy Band and he did not disappoint in this movie. I was really surprised at how great Son Ye Jin was in this, I had previously seen her in Personal Taste which is one of my least favorite Korean dramas of all time. She just showed me that the horrible writing in that drama led to her terrible character and not her acting.

Innocent Steps

           Na Young Sae is attempting to make a comeback after a he suffers an injury. He sends for a talented dancer only to receive her younger, completely untalented sister.  Chae Min knows nothing about dancing but Young Sae decides to train her for 3 months to compete in a national dance championship.

           This was a really sweet and romantic movie. The actors had great chemistry and the dancing scenes were fun to watch.

A Werewolf Boy

         Kim Suni is an elderly woman in her sixties who travels from the US to South Korea after learning that her family home is being sold.  She recalls how 47 years ago when she was a teenage girl and she first moved into the house with her mother and sister.  She had to move to the remote home due to health issues and her family is forced to rely on the wealthy landlord's son who loves her.  She discovers a feral boy living in a shed on the property who cannot speak and behaves like an animal.  She forms a friendship with the boy and tries to teach him human behavior. 

         This such a beautiful and sad film. Song Joong Ki was very impressive as the Werewolf Boy, he had to convey so much through his eyes and face because his character could not speak. I did enjoy this film but the disappointing ending ruined what could have been a masterpiece.


         Officer Yeo Kyung Jin is an ambitious young female police officer serving on the Seoul police department. One day while chasing a purse snatcher, she accidentally captures Go Myung Woo, a physics teacher who was actually trying to catch the thief. The two eventually form a relationship but their happiness is not destined to last.

         A sort of prequel to My Sassy Girl, Windstruck is every bit as funny, romantic, sad and intriguing as it's predecessor. Jin Ji Hyn has a real knack for taking on unique and interesting characters and giving them depth. 

My Tutor Friend

          Su Wan is a 21 year old college sophomore and works as a tutor. She is hired to help Ji Hoon, a young man who is the exact same as but still in high school, pass his Senior year. Jo Hoon is an immature guy who is more interested in fighting than getting out of high school and gives Su Wan a hard time. He then starts to fall for her and makes an effort to win her affections.
          This is probably one of the funniest Korean movies that I have yet to watch. I am not a fan of Kim Ha Neul and find her acting to be lacking in most of her films and dramas but she was really enjoyable in this role.


           In 1988, businessman Oh Dae Su is kidnapped the night of his young daughter's birthday and placed in solitary confinement for 15 years. Dae-su soon learns through news reports his wife has been murdered, and he is the prime suspect. With no human contact, Dae Su passes the time shadowboxing, planning revenge, and secretly attempting to tunnel out of his cell. After being released he sets out to find out who imprisoned him and why with the help of a sushi chef named Mi Do.

          Oldboy is probably one of the most popular and most well known Korean movies to international audiences. It has a great story that is suspenseful and intriguing, as well as great characters. I have read the Japanese manga on which this is based and I didn't really enjoy it, especially the ending. The film takes the central concept but makes it better but adding more twists and depth. I was truly shocked by the end and any film that manages to surprise me rates highly in my book.

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance

          Ryu is a deaf-mute man working in a factory to support his ailing sister, who is in desperate need of a kidney transplant. As Ryu is not a match, he contacts a black market organ dealer, and agrees to exchange his savings and one of his own kidneys in exchange for a matching one. The dealers disappear after taking Ryu's kidney and money, leaving him in a desperate situation. In need of money for the operation, Yeong-mi, Ryu's radical communist girlfriend, suggests kidnapping the daughter of the man who fired him. Things begin spiraling out of control after the kidnapping takes place, leading to multiple deaths.

          Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is the first in the Vengeance trilogy followed by Oldboy and Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. The story and characters were intriguing and Korea once again proves that they are at the top of their game when it comes to revenge movies.

A Bittersweet Life

          Kim Sun-woo is a high ranking enforcer for Kang , a powerful crime boss to whom he is unquestionably loyal. Kang assigns Sun-woo watch over his young mistress, Hee-soo, whom he fears is having an affair. He orders Sun Woo to kill her if she is caught.  He performs his duty but finds himself slowly falling in love with the young woman and his loyalty to his boss starts to falter.

          Lee Byung Hun is a fantastic Korean actor and I have 3 of his films in my favorite Korean films list. His engaging as a cold killer who begins to question his life after becoming emotionally attached to a woman he can't have. Although Shin Min Ah is one of my favorite actresses she didn't have a lot to do in this film, mostly she was just a normal and pretty girl making questionable decisions.

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