The world of Korean cinema saw one of it’s strongest recent years in 2016. Some of the most influential and renowned directors made a comeback with exceptionally strong work; this list includes: Park Chan-wook with his film, “The Handmaiden,” and the very popular Kim Jee-woon, who came out with “The Age of Shadows.” Hollywood was also a major proponent in the overall strength in the 2016 Korean box office results. Films like, “The Age of Shadows,” and “The Wailing,” both had strong backing from Hollywood, which boosted their national, and international, excitement.
The list of upcoming 2017 films looks just as strong:
- “Battleship Island”
One of the first to look out for, and potentially may be one of the biggest blockbusters in 2017, is the star-studded “Battleship Island.” “Battleship Island” casts, Hwang Jung-min, Song Joong-ki, So Ji-sub, and Kim Soo-an, and is directed by Ryoo Seung-wan. Ryoo is known for his 2015 film, “Veteran,” which brought in over $13 million dollars in admissions alone.
“Battleship Island” is set on a Japanese Island, Hashima Island, during the ages of Japan’s colonization of Korea. The plot of “Battleship Island” focuses on the cast who desperate to escape the poor labor conditions they are forced into.
- “The King”
“The King” stars Jung Woo-Sung and Jo In-sung, and tells the story of a prosecutor dealing with the ups and downs of coming into a power position. Other films like, “Inside Men,” and “The Violent Prosecutor,” have similar themes, so if you are a fan of those movies, make sure “The King” is on your list!
3. “Taxi Driver”
Directed by Jang Hoon, “Taxi Driver” is yet another upcoming political drama which tells the story of a taxi driver who ends up smuggling German journalist into Gwangju. The taxi driver is played by Song Kang-ho, and the journalist is played by Thomas Kretschmann. The plot is set in the 1980’s during the time of the Gwangju Democratization Movement. “Taxi Driver” is set to be released in the summer of 2017 and should be on anyone’s list who enjoys suspenseful political dramas!
- “With God-Part I”
“With God” is also set to be released in the summer and is based off of the very popular webtoon “With God.” The film stars some of the biggest names in Korean cinema, including: Ha Jung-woo, Cha Tae-hyun, Lee Jung-jae, Ju Ji-hoon and Ma Dong-suk. “With God” has a lot of excitement leading into it’s debut, not only for the star appeal, but the novelty of a Korean film being released in two parts. This technique is extremely popular in foreign productions and will be interesting to see this technique utilized in a Korean project.
Another Hollywood-influenced release, “VIP” is directed by Park Hoon-jung and stars Jang Dong-gun, Kim Myung-min, Lee Jong-suk, and Park Hee-soon in leading roles. “VIP” tells the story of the son of a prestigious North Korean official who becomes accused of being a serial killer. The aforementioned 2016 hits, “The Age of Shadows,” and “The Wailing,” also had backing from Hollywood involvement, so it will be very interesting to see how a film like “VIP” does in the box office.
“Okja” is one of the most interesting upcoming releases of 2017. “Okja” is making moves to gain popularity in the American market by not only starring some of the biggest names in Hollywood, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton, and Lilly Collins, but it is also planned to be streamed on Netflix. The film was directed by Bong Joon-ho and was shot in both North America and Korea. A Korean studio backed Bong’s most recent film, “Snowpiercer,”although it was an English-language film but did star the very famous, Song Kang-ho.
More information can be found here! Be sure to let us know what you think about this list, and any films you are excited about which we left out!