THE CITY OF VIOLENCE, (aka JJAKPAE), British poster art, from left: JUNG Doo-hong, RYOO Seung-wan, 2006. ©Weinstein Company

In Korea, film reviews are curated by popular portal Naver . 

Naver compiles and ranks movies based on openly available reviews, re-defining the reviews with star ratings. Ratings 1, 2, 3, and 4 = negative.  5, 6 are neutral, and 7, 8, 9, and 10 as positive.

Based on these ratings I have curated a list of little-known, highly-rated Korean Action films that have received at least a 7 rating on Naver. These are films appreciated by critics and viewers in Korea, so you can trust that they’re great.

How many of these have you watched?


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10. The City of Violence (2006)

Directed by Ryoo Seung-Wan (Veteran, 2015), who stars in the film.

Two childhood friends reunite for their friend’s funeral. They suspect something fishy and carry out an inquiry into his death.

11. Gangster High (2006)

A group of friends form a soccer team and call themselves “Tigers”. Before long the group becomes a gang, and after standing up for themselves they end up attracting the attention of thugs from a rival school. The “Tigers” soon find themselves in a gang war.

12. Sunflower (2006)

A former gangster, released from prison, heads back to his hometown to live in a small restaurant with his adoptive mother. Leaving his past behind, he endeavors to live quietly and away from local gangs. But his efforts are threatened by a local politician who wants to knock the restaurant down to make way for his new shopping mall.

13. The Show Must Go On (2007)

Starring Song Kang-Ho as a high-ranking mob boss, who yet lives in a small, seedy apartment with his wife and daughter. He works hard and brings home the bacon but shunned by his daughter and nagged by his wife to get a respectable job.

14. Eye For An Eye (2008)

Directed by Kwak Kyung-Taek (Friend: The Great Legacy, 2013)

A heist draws a veteran detective, who is on the eve of his retirement, into an elaborate plot of robbery and revenge.

15. Rough Cut (2008)

A high-profile star enlists a genuine gangster (played by So Ji-Sub, A Company Man, 2012) to co-star in a film under the strict stipulation that all violence in the film will be 100% real.