Disclaimer: Hi there! As usual, I need to inform you guys that, this list is based on my point of view and if you think I missed some of the titles from this genre, please do write on the comment section and later on I will try my best to add to this list. Ciao!

My Wife Is a Gangster (2001)

KMazing – The Korean film began to get a lot of attention after a series of film of the titles successfully entered the international box office. But in addition to these famous titles, there are still various types of films that deserve attention. Like the film industry from other countries, South Korea has quite a variety of genres. Starting from the romance genre which became one of the biggest markets. The “slice of life” genre that describes everyday life and all its problems begins to get the same attention. Not to forget, the horror genre that is definitely widely known. But besides that, Korean cinema also began to raise many films with the action genre.

Films with action genres from South Korea often come in a variety of different themes. Starting from supernatural to criminal. These many variations and coherence of this genre make the films with action genres have their own special characteristics. One of them is a strong storyline. This faction is certainly a differentiator of action films from South Korea with other countries, which often only rely on martial arts to the effects of explosions. Here are the 5 best film with action genres from South Korea you need to watch right now!

Also Read: 5 Horror Films That are Inspired by Real Life Story

My Wife Is a Gangster is our first option on the list that is worth your time. The film, released in 2001 was directed by Cho Jin-Ryu, not only carries the genre of action, which is conveyed with a mesmerizing martial arts choreography. But there are also elements of drama, comedy, and romance which made this film become very memorable.


The film tells a story about a woman, who is the head of a gangster. Eun-jin (played by Shin Eun-Kyung) lives apart from her brother for years. When they met again, she learned that Yu-jin had cancer. After refusing to be treated on, Yu-jin just asked Eun-jin to get married.

Not wanting to disappoint her brother, Eun-jin then decided to marry Kang Soo-il. The simple and kind man originally intended to help Eun-jin, without knowing she was the boss from the gangster group. Both of them finally got married. But of course, marrying a gangster boss is not an easy thing.

A Bittersweet Life (2005)

Action film enthusiasts who love fighting and shooting scene really need to watch this film. The film, directed by Kim Jae-woon, stars well-known veteran actor Lee Byung-hun. Even though it is full of action, this film still has those drama elements that are quite thick on the plot which then creating a storyline to become more interesting to follow.

Also Read: Top 21 Best Korean Movies 2017 – 2018, All Time Greatest

A Bittersweet Life tells the story of Kim Sun-woo (played by Lee Byung-hun) the accomplice of Kang (played by Kim Yeong-Cheol), who is a cold-blooded criminal. Kim Sun-woo is known to be loyal and ready to defend Kang whenever needed. Even when it means that he has to deal with another dangerous criminal gang, Baek Dae-Sik (played by Hwang Jung-min).


Kim Sun-woo’s loyalty faltered when he was asked to guard Kang’s beautiful girlfriend, Hee-soo (played by Shin Min-ah). Kang suspects Hee-soo has another lover. For this reason, he assigned Kim Sun-woo to guard and follow the lover. At one time, Kim Sun-woo found Hee-soo with another man, and there the conflict continues.

The Man from Nowhere (2010)

The Man from Nowhere doesn’t get that much attention as it deserves. For the general audience, the story and conflict in this film are considered too heavy. Besides that, the story telling also has a slow flow. But actually, The Man from Nowhere has an interesting story about violence against children, organs selling on the black market, and drugs trafficking. Moreover, the film directed by Lee Jeong-beom who handpicked the top actors from South Korea, Won Bin as the main protagonist.

Also read: 5 Korean Movies That Touch The Humane in Us

The film tells of Cha Tae-Sik (played by Won Bin) who is a quiet, lonely and mysterious man. He doesn’t have friends or relatives per se but keeps on having this interaction with a little girl who lives next to her house, So-mi (played by Kim Sae-Ron). The kidnapping that happened to So-mi finally revealed Cha Tae-sik’s identity. As well as taking him on a dangerous mission to save So-mi from the gangster who wants to sell her organs on the black market. It’s quite dark-ish and extreme so proceed with caution on this one!

The Suspect (2013)

There are lots of interesting things from this film aside from the fact Gong Yoo – the Goblin – is the main character on the story. Director Won Shin-Yeon applied various shooting techniques as if through it was shot on an unstable camera. The technique gives a cinematography that feels real, close, and create a more intense atmosphere for the audience.

The Suspect tells the story of a former soldier who previously fought in North Korea, Ji Dong-Chul. The death of his kids influences Ji Dong-Chul to dismiss his position in the army. But the misfortune doesn’t stop there. Ji Dong-Chul is then suspected as the killer of his company leader. He tried to prove that he was innocent and dismantled the mystery himself. The Suspect has a darker plot with a far more tense action. That being said, this movie is one of the action films from South Korea with the best cinematography I have ever seen.

Shiri (1999)

First released in 1999, this film became the most famous blockbuster in its home country. Shiri was directed by Kang Je-Gyu and raised a quite sensitive issue, namely about smuggling into North Korea. Besides that, Shiri relied on the female protagonist played by Yunjin Kim. The film itself has a pretty slick story with lots of tense action. Not to forget, the plot twist that caught us by surprise.

Shiri tells the story about agent Yu Jong-won (played by Han Suk-kyu) and Lee Jang-Gil (played by Song Kang-ho) who are in charge of blocking the entry of intruders from North Korea, Park (played by Choi Min-Sik). Park reportedly did not come empty-handed, he carried a liquid bomb that was planned to ignite the rebellion movement in South Korea. The actions of the two agents were further complicated by the presence of Yi Myung-Hyun (played by Yunjin Kim). The dynamic conflict might have started at a slow pace, but the movie is successfully carving the foundation of the ending perfectly.