[PICK] Korean Movies with Shining Bromance

Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated by Kim Hoyeun

The movie Seobok, scheduled to be released in December, has become the talk of the town. Not only is the topic of human clone, which is quite rare in Korean cinema, but also the presence of two leading actors caught the attention. Park Bo Gum and Gong Yoo starring in one project; Expectations are high on whether this top-class meeting will follow the successful steps of bromance movies and become a reliever in the film industry. What bromance movies saw box office success?


A Violent Prosecutor (2015)

Credit: Showbox

It’s about a prosecutor, who was imprisoned after being wrongly accused, joining hands with a con artist he met in prison. Hwang Jung Min plays the hot-tempered prosecutor, and Kang Dong Won becomes a con artist, creating one pleasant collaboration. The movie’s charm lies in the bromance that the prosecutor and swindler, the two unlikely figures to hang around together, present as they partner up for their respective goals. Though the plot itself shows some holes, the actors’ charms complete a cheerful crime movie.


Confidential Assignment (2016)

Credit: CJ Entertainment

It’s about a North Korean detective and South Korean detective conducting a joint investigation to take down a North Korean criminal organization hiding in the South. Hyun Bin is in charge of colorful action scenes as a North Korean detective with excellent investigative skills and tenacity, while Yoo Hae Jin is responsible for the laughter as a South Korean detective with sloppy and optimistic characters. The most impressive part of the movie is Hyun Bin’s presence, going from eye-catching action sequences as a former special force to his unique “romantic” eyes.


The Merciless (2016)

Credit: CJ Entertainment

The movie follows Jae Ho, No. 2 guy in a criminal gang with an ambition to rise to the top spot, and Hyun Soo, a newbie full of spirit, meeting each other hiding their own secrets and heading for a catastrophe. The topics of “criminal gang,” “undercover cop” and “loyalty and betrayal” are familiar, but how these three are built up is quite different from the existing crime films. What the movie focuses on is the relationship between Jae Ho and Hyun Soo, who have no choice but to point guns at each other. It meticulously portrays how they get more suspicious of each other as they grow closer, creating quite a unique plot. Thanks to this, as the story unravels, dense emotions shown in the film make you feel like you’re watching a melodrama.


Midnight Runners (2017)

Credit: Lotte Entertainment

It revolves around two Korean National Police University students digging into the truth behind the case after accidentally witnessing the kidnapping. Without being greedy, Midnight Runners sticks to the formula for buddy film. Though nothing new is introduced, Park Seo Joon and Kang Ha Neul, who work together as best friends, enlivens the story with their delightful energy. Park Seo Joon plays Park Ki Hoon, a risk-taker who acts before thinking, and Kang Ha Neul plays Kang Hee Yeol, a bit nerdy person who is more of a thinker than a doer, showing off friendly charms going back and forth between action and comedy.


Believer (2018)

Credit: Next Entertainment World

It’s about a detective who tries to catch the boss of the biggest drug ring in South Korea by using a low-level gang member as his informant. The movie took the basic frame from director Johnnie To’s 2012 film Drug War and reshaped the rest. It surrounds the detective who is after the mysterious crime boss with “tough guys” and every stage he clears engraves stylish impressions. Cho Jin Woong takes on the role of a narcotic unit detective that moves with one clear goal, while Ryu Jun Yeol plays a low-level drug dealer, creating a subtle tension.


Ashfall (2019)

Credit: CJ Entertainment

It’s about South and North Korea agents joining hands to prevent the unprecedented disaster caused when a volcano on Baekdu Mountain suddenly erupts. The bold imagination of Baekdu Mountain exploding grabs the attention, and the realistic special effects provide dynamic fun. Ha Jung Woo and Lee Hyung Hun’s bromance also stands out. Ha Jung Woo plays Jo In Chang, a sly captain of a special forces team who wants to complete the mission by any means necessary, and Lee Byung Hun takes on the role of Lee Joon Pyeong, who hides his real purpose and pretends to cooperate with the operation, presenting a bromance that embodies both a charisma and humor.


Deliver Us From Evil (2020)

Credit: CJ Entertainment

It’s about a man who gets involved in an unexpected incident after taking on his last contract killing and another man who chases after him. Hwang Jung Min and Lee Jung Jae reunited seven years after the film New World to show an intense chase that creates suspenseful thrill. Hwang Jung Min plays In Nam, who is only left with solitude and a sense of loss after being abandoned by his country, while Lee Jung Jae takes on the role of Ray, a ruthless killer. The two’s chemistry completes a desperate and deadly chase heading towards a catastrophe.

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