Woo-sung Jung, Byung-hun Lee, and Kang-ho Song in the Korean action blast from Kim Jee-Woon

Last chance: ‘The Good, the Bad, the Weird’- Kim Jee-won’s “Oriental Western” on Hulu

Kim Jee-won’s The Good, the Bad, the Weird (South Korea, 2008) is a self-proclaimed “Oriental Western.” That about pegs this treasure hunt right out of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly by way of Peking Opera Blues and Dragon Gate Inn, set in thirties Manchuria and filled with Korean expatriates, Chinese bandits, Japanese occupiers, […]

Bong Joon-ho stars in the gangster thriller from South Korea

‘The Man from Nowhere’ – South Korean vengeance on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu

The Man from Nowhere (South Korea, 2010) – South Korea’s top box office hit of 2010 is as slick and swift an underworld thriller as you’ll find. Matinee idol Won Bin (of Bong Joon-ho’s Mother) is a shaggy pawn shop proprietor in a miserable slum hiding from his past life as a highly-trained government agent […]

Kwak Do-won stars in Na Hong-jin South Korean thriller The Wailing

‘The Wailing’ – South Korean horror on Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Shudder

The Wailing (South Korea, 2016) is a thriller that takes a dark turn into supernatural horror. Kwak Do-won is Jong-goo, a somewhat dim underachiever cop who is way over his head investigating a double homicide in his little town. Jong-goo isn’t too bright but he’s a doting father to his smart little girl and there’s […]

Simon Yam stars in the South Korean heist thriller

‘The Thieves’ – Korean high tech heist on Viki and free on Hoopla

The Thieves (South Korea, 2012) is Asia’s answer to the Ocean’s films, a sleek, snappy heist movie with plenty of working parts, eccentric personalities, and convoluted plotlines complicated even more by a confusing flashback structure more entertaining than elucidating and more twists than you can easily track. The basic premise brings together two separate crack […]

‘The Mimic’ on Amazon Prime and Shudder

The ghost story The Mimic (South Korea, 2017) draws its premise a Korean myth of a tiger that mimics human voices to lure its victims into the forest, but it goes its own way from there. Hee-yun (Yum Jung-ah), still grieving over the unsolved disappearance of her son, moves from the city to her rural […]

Bong Joon-ho's 2006 South Korean monster movie 'The Host'

‘The Host’ – Bong Joon-ho’s monster mash on Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Criterion Channel

The Host (2006), Bong Joon-ho’s South Korean monster movie hit, is neither a parody, subversion, or revision of the often campy horror movie genre. It stirs a stew of genre conventions, from political commentary to dysfunctional family satire to earnest emotional pathos, into an often thrilling monster movie as indebted to the B-movies of seventies American […]

‘A Tale of Two Sisters’ – a South Korean ghost story on Criterion Channel and Shudder

Ji-woon Kim has proven himself one of the most interesting and versatile filmmakers to come out of South Korea in the past two decades with such films as The Quiet Family (1998), The Good the Bad the Weird (2008), and I Saw the Devil (2010). With the haunting A Tale of Two Sisters (South Korea, […]

Korean action epic ‘The Great Battle’ on Netflix

Grandly mounted and filled with sweeping battle scenes, the costume battle epic The Great Battle (South Korea, 2018), retells the true story of the invasion of Goguryeo, a kingdom on the Korean peninsula, by the Chinese Yang Empire in the 600s. Korean pop star Zo In-sung stars as General Yang, the commander of the Ansi […]

‘The Net’ – A Korean political web on Amazon Prime Video

In The Net (Geumul) (South Korea, 2016), a poor, non-political North Korean fisherman (Ryoo Seung-bum) drifts into South Korean waters and the gears of political gamesmanship when his net gets tangled in his motor and he’s picked up and interrogated as a suspected spy. The South Koreans see him as either a brainwashed victim or […]