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My favourite Korean flicks

Jared M
The list author says: "OK, I would be the first to admit that this isn't a list for the film connoisseur; I have a bent for "popcorn" flicks - the action or thriller blockbusters, filled with explosions, gun battles, chase sequences and so forth. Movies of this ilk dominate my list, but don't hold this against me: there are a few films of proper quality (at least I think they are quality!) in my list as well. I have ranked this list according to my favorites, beginning with my all time favorite Korean film, Shiri, which also happens to be the very first Korean movie I saw. Enjoy!

PS By way of background, I lived in South Korea in 2001/2002, and have been back several times since hence my interest in Korean movies.

PSS For some reason I haven't seen "Old Boy", although I do have the DVD. Given all the good things I have heard about the movie, I'm sure once I have seen it, it will be on the list."
Shiri
Shiri
"The one that started the "Korean wave", the first true Korean blockbuster.  Gun battles and explosions galore, and extremely well presented.  Some will probably pick it to bits for its faults (which I always overlook given my nostalgic fondness for Shiri), but I think it is still well worth a look."
Presidents Last Bang
Presidents Last Bang
"After an absence of several years from the big screen, Han Suk-yu stars in this film as a KCIA agent involved in the assassination of President Park.  Well acted, and suitably tense."
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring
"One of the quality films in my list.  A thought provoking film about the circle of life and the nature of man, set in a beautiful Buddhist temple that floats about a lake.  From controversial director Kim Ki-duk, who hasn't managed to better this film despite several attempts!"
Attack the Gas Station!
Attack the Gas Station!
"An enjoyable comedy with an anti-establishment theme, made in 1999, and starring Lee Sung-jae."
Memories of Murder
Memories of Murder
"Another quality film that came out of Korea in 2003.  This is probably the best Korean serial killer movie, which is based on a series of actual killings in the mid 80's that were never solved."
J.S.A. - Joint Security Area
J.S.A. - Joint Security Area
"A thriller set in Panmunjom, along the DMZ between North and South Korea.  One of Song Kang-ho's more dramatic roles as a North Korean sergeant."
The Good, the Bad, the Weird
The Good, the Bad, the Weird
"An Asian Western - Lee Byung-hun (from JSA) steals the show from Song Kang-ho in a blazing action-fest set in Japanese controlled Manchuria in the 30's. A total riot!"
Tae Guk Gi - The Brotherhood of War
Tae Guk Gi - The Brotherhood of War
"This was the blockbuster film of 2004, this time focusing on the Korean War.  Jang Dong-gun and Won Bin play brothers whose lives are drastically affected the war."
Guns & Talks
Guns & Talks
"The plot revolves a trio of assassins, plus a wannabe and their attempt to dodge the law while fulfilling a contract with a newsreader with whom they are infatuated...a very cool comedy that is worth checking out."
The Chaser [Korean Movie, Special Edition]
The Chaser [Korean Movie, Special Edition]
"A nicely done Korean serial murderer flick - stands out for its characterisation of the "good" guy, and the "bad" guy puts in a notable performance as well."
The Host (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
The Host (Two-Disc Collector's Edition)
"Korea does a monster film, and does it well.  Song Kang-ho stars, but the kid who plays his daughter does a terrific job in this flick."
2009 Lost Memories
2009 Lost Memories
"Another Jang Dong-gun action blockbuster, which really launched his career into the stratosphere.  The story takes place in an alternate universe in which Japan maintained control of Korea after WWII."
Mother
Mother
"A gem from the director of "Memories of Murder".  Slow paced, but definitely worth while viewing."
Public Enemy
Public Enemy
"A downtrodden and corrupt cop pursues a slick office worker, who murdered his own parents."
Typhoon
Typhoon
"Yet another Jang Dong-gun blockbuster in which he takes the role of terrorist, pursued by Lee Jeong-jae (from Last Witness)."
Friend (Widescreen Edition)
Friend (Widescreen Edition)
"A gangster film, which was a serious hit at the box office in 2003, and starred Jang Dong-gun."
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
"A revenge movie, which has been well received by the critics.  Spawned a sequel, "Lady Vengeance" (aka "Sympathy for Mrs Vengeance")."
Epitaph
Epitaph
"A creepy horror movie as only Korea can do."
A Bittersweet Life [DVD]
A Bittersweet Life [DVD]
"A Lee Byung-hun film from 2005, in which he plays a gangster who wants to go straight.  A very slick production."
Silmido
Silmido
"A Korean version of the classic "Dirty Dozen" movie.  Based on a true story, in which the South Korean created a unit of soldiers intended to carry out the assassination of Kim Il-sung in the 60's as retaliation for a North Korean attack on the Blue House (the President's residence) in Seoul."
Crossing the Line
Crossing the Line
"A documentary film about James Dresnok, the last surviving American defector living in North Korea, and still trying to justify his defection.  Narrated by Christian Slater.  Definitely worth a look for an insight in North Korea."
Korean Cinema: The New Hong Kong
Korean Cinema: The New Hong Kong
"Some reading for those interested in digging further in Korean cinema.  Not a scholarly book, but an enthusiast's collection of reviews and must-sees - covers from the late 90's to 2003, so definitely could do with an update."