Edited by Hong Hyun Jung
Translated Cho EK
Action is one of the highlights that add to the fun of a movie. For instance, fight scenes, dynamic gun-shootings, thrilling car chasings, and combats at an overwhelming scale please the audience’s eyes. Even though action sequences in Korean movies can’t be compared to those of Hollywood, they create impressive stunts with various attempts and unique charms of characters. Old Boy, The City of Violence, and The Man from Nowhere are considered the top works of all time with their impressive action sequences. Now, what other films will follow suit? I’ve looked into some of the latest movies that came out in earnest.
Deliver Us from Evil (2020)
New World‘s Hwang Jung Min and Lee Jung Jae reunited. This time, they play a desperate assassin who has lost his enthusiasm for life and a ruthless pursuer obsessed with revenge. But Deliver Us from Evil captures the pursuit of two men in a stylish action with quick blows. In particular, it utilizes a stop-motion technique to vividly embody the bloody confrontation between the two characters, maximizing the pleasure of the genre. Among many sequences, the first encounter between In Nam and Ray, which finally happens in the midway of the film, is intense. The sequence of two men clashing from a narrow hallway to a room and over an iron bar is full of excitement that makes the whole body shake. The scene is also full of tension as if they are two beasts confronting each other head-on.
The Outlaws (2017)
Ma Dong Seok, who used to kill zombies with his fists, became a detective in the homicide squad who stops criminals with his bare hands. The Outlaws is a film that makes good use of Ma Dong Seok’s unique charm. Ma Dong Seok’s satisfying action sequence, which takes down the opponent at once, is adequately combined with his humorous side in contrast to his tough appearance, providing a sizzling fun.
Yoon Kye Sang plays Jang Chen, a completely despicable criminal who confronts Ma Dong Seok and adds cinematic fun. The fight scene between the two characters in the airport bathroom at the end of the movie is impressive. In addition, the action sequence at the 60th birthday party that depicts the viciousness of Chang Chen is also eye-catching. The scene where Zhang Chen wields an ax to subdue the gangsters and inflicts a fatal blow to the Yisu group boss is completely terrifying. So, having a character like Chang Chen helped Ma Dong Seok’s action stunt to stand out more.
Asura: The City of Madness (2016)
This film relentlessly depicts the spheres of Hell reeking with blood. There is no confrontation between good and evil, but there are the lesser evil and the worst. Asura follows a detective who becomes a servant of an evil figure to survive. It depicts a bloody war among humans aiming for greater power and greed. The sequence that unfolds in a heartless world where the wicked are entangled by their own scheming is full of suffocating pain rather than satisfying catharsis. The movie’s highlight is the bloody battle at the funeral. Plus, Asura‘s excessive violence is uniquely displayed in the car chasing scene. Han Do Kyung’s wild run in the heavy rain efficiently shows his accumulated emotions turning into madness.
The Villainess (2017)
The Villainess captivates the audience with its wild and dynamic action stunts. The film depicts the story of an elite killer, Sook Hee. After getting a chance to live her new life, she faces a secret behind her identity and starts to confront her fate. Action Boys and Confession of Murder director Jeong Byung Gil was on board for the film and overwhelmed the audience with its breathtaking intensity. He created a bloody action sequence of a gang rushing with weapons in cramped hallways and stairs shot from the first-person point of view. The scene itself was like a declaration of the director stating that he has put his heart and soul into the sequence.
The Villainess is one of the rare movies with a single female lead and provides a novel experience with various eye-opening action stunts. Notably, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum made their motorcycle chase scene with the Japanese Yakuza as a homage to The Villainess. Featuring Jeong Byung Gil as a pilot episode director and executive producer, the movie will have an Amazon Prime makeover.
Train To Busan (2016)
Train To Busan is a film that introduced K-Zombies to the world. It depicts the fierce struggle of passengers on a train heading to Busan during the Zombie virus outbreak. What’s amazing about this film is that the whole movie takes place on a running train. The horror of the zombie apocalypse intensifies as the infection rate rises with no way out. In addition, the surviving passengers have to fight off the zombies without a single gun, which commonly appears in existing zombie movies.
Throughout the whole movie, the scene where Seok Woo (Gong Yoo), Sang Hwa (Ma Dong Seok), and Young Guk (Choi Woo Shik) cross the train cars piercing through a swarm of zombies to save their family and passengers in the bathroom is remarkable. Sang Hwa, who took the lead, fights against zombies with bare fists, unlike Seok Woo and Young Guk, who have a nightstick and a baseball bat in their hands. This movie cleverly used Ma Dong Seok’s character to satisfy the viewers within the zombie film genre. Train to Busan will have a Hollywood reboot in earnest.
Edited Hong Hyun Jung: I am a K-content guide who publishes various articles for people to enjoy Korean movies and dramas deeper and richer. I’ll introduce you to the works that you can laugh, cry and sympathize with.
Translator Cho EK: I’m a big fan of Korean dramas and movies.