In the past decade, Korean cinema has transformed and provided pure entertainment to the movie fans. Viewers have enjoyed films from Parasite and Train to Busan to Burning and Decision to Leave. The good news for Korean content fans is that 2023 will be another great year because several Korean films, including some most anticipated action movies, will be released. Read on to discover the Korean films you can watch this year.
From crime to action movies, there’s something for movie fans on this list, but most of these movies are only available on the Netflix Korean library, so unfortunately, viewers outside Korea are unable to access the content. But we have a hack for that too! Subscribe to a top-notch VPN provider, like ExpressVPN and connect to a desired country server where content is accessible and enjoy watching your favorite movies.
Let’s dig deeper; we have rounded up the list of best 35 Korean movies you can watch this year. So, let’s get started.
Genre: Action, Drama
Cast: Kang Soo-youn; Kim Hyun-joo; Ryu Kyung-Soo ; So-yi Park; Lee Dong-Hee.
This dystopian Korean thriller film is directed by Yeon Sang-ho. The movie is set in the 22nd century. Due to climate change, Earth is no longer livable. A war breaks out between the survivors for the humans’ only shelter. The only way to survive and end the war is to clone the legendary mercenary JUNG_E (portrayed by Kim Hyun-Joo) into an immortal robot. The movie was released on January 20th, 2023. It has an IMDB rating of 5.5/10.
Genre: Action, Drama, Science-fiction
Cast: Park Ho-San, Jeon Jin-Oh, Ryoo Sung-Hyun, Lee Seung-Woo, Jeong Eun-Joo, Kim Jung-Ho.
The thriller movie is the story of a tech-obsessed woman. One day (Be Melodramatic’s Chun Woo-hee) forgot her phone, and Jun-yeong (Run On’s Yim Si-wan) returned it after installing spyware. The stranger starts tracking her daily activities and eventually approaches her while hiding his identity. Jun-yeong’s father, Ji-man (played by Kim Hee-won), a police detective, found evidence related to his son at a crime scene. The movie was released on February 17th, 2023, and it got 6.4/10 IMDB rating.
Genre: Action, Drama, thriller
Cast: Esom, Jeon Do-yeon, Fahim Fazli, Hwang Jung-min, Willis Chung.
The lead character of this action thriller movie Bok-soon lives a double life. Romance star Jeon Do-Yeon portrayed the character of a woman who is a professional killer and mother of a teenage daughter. Boksoon refuses to complete an assignment because of her daughter, which endangers her life. The movie was released on March 31st, 2023, and received an IMDB rating of 6.6/10.
4.The Point Men
Genre: Action, Drama, thriller
Cast: Hyun Bin, Hwang Jung-min, Kang Ki-young, Sung-woo Jeon.
The movie is based on true events that occurred in 2007. Hyun Bin is the lead character. The film follows a story of a group of Korean tourists taken hostage in Afghanistan by a terrorist group. Jae-ho (portrayed by Hwang), a professional negotiator, tries to handle the situation diplomatically but faces difficulties. In a joint effort with special agent Dae-sik (played by Hyun), he then works day and night to rescue the hostages. The movie was released on January 18th, 2023, and it has 6/10 IMDB rating.
5.The Devil’s Deal
Genre: Crime film, Drama, thriller
Cast: Cho Jin-woong, Mu-Yeol Kim, Lee Sung-min, Yeo-Eun Son.
This political thriller film set in Busan in 1992 exposes the collaboration and confrontation between gangsters and politicians. Assembly member candidate Hae-woong (Cho Jin-Woong) thinks that businessman Soon-tae’s (Lee Sung-min) support will ensure his party’s victory; the twist comes in the story when he decides to back a different candidate. The Devil’s Deal was released on March 1st, 2023, and it has 6.2/10 IMDB rating.
6.Project Wolf Hunting
Genre: Action, Crime, thriller
Cast: Seo In-Guk, Dong-Yoon Jang, Jung So-Min, Gwi-hwa Choi, Dong-il Sung.
This prison-break thriller movie revolves around a group of convicts aboard a cargo ship who want to escape, which turns into a full-out riot. As they move ahead, they face chaos, and both criminals and guards, led by serial killer Park Jang-du (Seo In-guk), save their lives from a mysterious monster. This movie was released on May 31st, and it got an IMDB rating of 6.1/10.
7.Return to Seoul
Genre: Action, Crime, thriller
Cast: Park Ji-min, Oh Kwang-rok, Guka Han, Kim Sun-young, Yoann Zimmer.
This film revolves around 25-year-old Freddie (Ji-min Park), who returns to South Korea for the first time since she was adopted and grew up in France. On her trip to visit friends, unexpectedly, she starts finding her parents in the country. The movie was released on November 18th, 2022, and has an IMDB rating of 7/10.
Genre: Mystery, Crime, thriller
Cast: So Ji-seob, Yunjin Kim, Jin-Ah Im, Kwang-il Choi, Sun-Hee Hwang.
This movie follows the story of a CEO of an IT company Yoo Min-ho (So Ji-sub), who has been murdered in a hotel room. The door was locked from the inside. Min-ho hires a lawyer Yang Shin-ae (Kim Yoon-jin), to prove his innocence. The movie was released on October 26th, 2022, and it has an IMDB rating of 6.5/10.
Genre: Romance, Drama
Cast: Kim Da-mi, So-nee Jeon, Woo-Seok Byeon, Kim Soo Hyung.
It follows a story of two best friends, Mi-so (Kim Da-mi) and Ha-eun (Jeon So-nee). The movie portrays a beautiful 14 years of friendship, love, meeting, jealousy, longing and parting. Byeon Woo-seok also stars in the movie. The movie was released on March 15th, 2023, and has an IMDB rating of 7.5/10.
Genre: Romance, Drama.
Cast: Greta Lee · Nora, Hae Sung, Moon Seung-ah, Leem Seung-min · Young Hae Sung.
This movie is the debut of Korean-Canadian playwright Celine Song. It follows the story of two long-lost childhood friends, Hae Sung (Love to Hate You’s Teo Yoo reunites with Nora (Greta Lee) years after her family migrates from South Korea. The movie was released on June 23rd, 2023, and has an IMDB rating of 8.4/10.
Genre: Action, Thriller, Drama.
Cast: Han Hyo-joo, Cho Jin-woong, Lee Joo-young, Seung-Won Cha, Kim Dong-young.
Believer 2 is a story of police detective Won-ho (Jo) as he joins hands with Brian (Cha) and other gang members to track down Mr. Lee, who runs Asia’s biggest drug cartel. Happiness and W star Han Hyo-Joo also acted in the movie as Big Knife, another character who knows Mr. Lee’s real identity.
Genre: Action, Adventure.
Cast: Ballerina, Park Yu-rim, Jun Jong-seo, Kim Ji-hun.
Money Heist Korean stars Jeon Jong-Seo and Kim Ji-hoon have shown their real class in this revenge-based action thriller film. Ok-ju (played by Jeon) used to work as a bodyguard and is friends with Min-hee (played by Park Yurim from Drive My Car), a ballerina. When Min-hee requests a favor, Ok-ju seeks revenge for her friend Choi (Kim). The movie will be released in 2023.
Genre: Drama, Biopic.
Cast: Lee Byung-hun, Yoo Ah-in, Moon Jeong-Hee, Kang-Hoon Kim.
Squid Game’s Lee Byung-hun portrayed the lead character. The movie depicts the true story of a master Go player, Cho Hun-Hyun, and his protégé-become-rival Lee Chang-ho. The Grand Slam winner took in his student, with Chang-ho working tirelessly to beat his professional teacher. Their rivalry is seen in the match of a lifetime, played when the game of Go was more than the World Cup. Gear up to enjoy the movie this year.
14.Yellow Door: Looking for Director Bong’s Unreleased Short Film
Cast: Bong Joon Ho.
This documentary highlights the career of popular director Bong Joon-ho who directed the famous film Parasite. In the early 1990s, when he was a university student, Bong produced his first short film, “Looking For Paradise,” a 22-minute stop motion. The documentary will be released in 2023. Ditto was released on November 16th, 2022, and it has an IMDB rating of 6.7/10.
Genre: Drama, Coemdy, Sports.
Cast: Park Seo-joon, Ji-eun Lee, Jong-soo Kim, Chang-Seok Ko, Park Seo Joon.
This is a sports comedy movie; the story revolves around a team of inexperienced players preparing for the Homeless World Cup. Yoon Hong-dae (Park Seo-Joon) was a professional player who became their coach and led them from the front. He learns how to become a true leader. The movie was released on April 26th, 2023, and it has an IMDB rating of 6.9/10.
16.The Roundup: No Way Out
Cast: Lee Jun-hyuk, Ma Dong-seok.
This is the third installment of the Crime City series after The Outlaws and The Roundup. Ma Seok-do trains Busan’s Don Lee against Joo Seong-cheol (Stranger’s Lee Joon-hyuk), who works with Japanese mob boss Riki (Munetaka Aoki) to start criminal activities across Korea. The movie was released on May 31st, 2023, and it got 6.8/10 IMDB rating.
17.20th Century Girl
Genre: Drama, Romance.
Cast: Roh Yoon, Kim Yoo-jeong, Han Hyo-joo, Harrison Xu.
This movie is a romantic drama directed and written by Bang Woo-ri. The film follows a 1999 story of first love and friendship. Na Bo-ra’s best friend, Yeon-du, is traveling to the US for his medical treatment, so she promises to keep tabs on Yeon-du’s crush and update everything she knows to her friend. However, unfortunately, the plan does not work out as expected. The film was released on October 6th, 2022, and it has a 7.3/10 IMDB rating.
18.Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure
Genre: Action, comedy.
Cast: Kang Ha-neul, Jason Her, Han Hyo-joo, Kim Ki-doo, Sang-woo Kwon.
Pirates: The Last Royal Treasure is a period adventure film. The story revolves around a crew of pirates from the Joseon Dynasty as they embark on a journey to find the lost royal gold at sea. The movie was released on January 26th, 2022, and it has an IMDB rating of 6.1/10.
19.Sweet & Sour
Genre: Romance, Comedy.
Cast: Chae Soo‑bin, Jang Ki‑yong, Krystal Jung, Lee Woo‑je
“Sweet & Sour” is a 2021 romantic comedy movie based on the novel Love by Kurumi Inui. The story revolves around Jae-Hyeok and Dong-Jin, who are in a relationship. Their relationship is complicated because their personalities are completely opposite because they are in different stages of their lives. The movie was released on June 4th, 2021, and it has an IMDB rating of 6.7/10.
20.Tune in For Love
Genre: Romance, Drama.
Cast: Kim Go-eun, Jung Hae-in, Park Hae-joon, Kim Guk-Hee, Jeong Eu-Gene.
Tune in For Love is a romantic drama movie. The film beautifully portrays the love story of two young people, Mi-soo and, Hyun-woo, who first met in the late 1990s, and fate keeps them together for years. It shows the communication gap between them. The movie was released on August 28th, 2019, and has an IMDB rating of 7.1/10.
Genre: Romance, Drama.
Cast: Park Shin-Hye, Jeon Jong-seo, Kim Sung-ryung, Park Ho-San.
This is a time-travel thriller movie that is full of suspense. The film follows a high school girl, Soo-yeon, who receives a phone call from her friend Min-jung, who died 20 years ago. Soo-yeon tries to find the truth behind the call and the reason of the Min-jung’s death. The movie was released on November 27th, 2020, and it has a 7.1/10 IMDB rating.
Genre: Thriller, Drama.
Cast: Yoo Ah-in, Park Shin-Hye, Jeon Bae-soo, Hyun-Wook Lee, Hye-Won Oh.
This is a zombie and horror film directed by Cho Il-hyung. The story revolves around a man, Oh Joon-woo, who is trapped in his apartment building because of a virus outbreak that transforms humans into zombies. Joon-woo must escape from the building to survival. The movie was released on June 24th, 2020, and it got 6.3/10 IMDB rating.
Genre: Science-fiction, Space opera.
Cast: Song Joong-ki, Kim Tae-ri, Jin Seon-kyu, Hae-Jin Yoo, Richard Armitage.
Space Sweepers is a science fiction film. The movie is set in 2092, and it is a story of a group of spaceship crew called “The Victory”. The crew members discover a humanoid robot named Dorothy, who is known as a weapon of mass destruction. The film portrays themes of humanity, space travel and the future. The movie was released on February 5th, 2021, and it has an IMDB rating of 6.5/10.
Genre: Science-fiction, Thriller.
Cast: Sol Kyung-gu, Go Soo · Choi Dae-Ho, So-hyun, Kwon Yong-hyun, Kang Sung-pil.
This is a thriller film that was released in 2017. The story revolves around a father’s quest to find his missing son, who disappeared three years ago. Despite his utmost efforts, he failed to find his son until he discovered lucid dreaming, a technique that allows individuals to control their dreams. The movie was released on February 22nd, 2017, and it has an IMDB rating of 6.1/10.
Cast: Park Hae-il, Soo Ae, Kim Gyu-Sun, Lee Jin-Wook, Ra Mi-ran.
High Society is a 2018 romantic comedy-drama film. The story revolves around a wealthy businessman who falls in love with a woman belonging to a lower class. The movie depicts the story of two women from different social classes and the challenges they face while trying to sustain their relationship because of class differences and societal expectations.
Genre: Action, Thriller.
Cast: Jung Woo-sung, Kwak Do-won, Kim Kap-su, Kim Eui-sung, Lee Kyung-young.
“Steel Rain” is an action thriller film. The movie follows the story of two North Korean soldiers trying hard to prevent a nuclear war. The real-life North Korean political terms and jargon add more realism to the movie. The movie was released on December 14th, 2017, and it has a 7.1/10 IMDB rating.
Genre: Action, Science fiction, Drama.
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Seo-hyun Ahn, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sheena Kamal.
This is an adventure-drama film featuring English and Korean. The story revolves around a young girl who tries to control a multinational corporation. The movie stars American actors, including Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal. The movie was released on June 29th, 2017, and it has an IMDB rating of 7.3/10.
28.Time to Hunt
Genre: Thriller, Science fiction, Drama.
Cast: Lee Jehoon, Jae-hong Ahn, Choi Woo-sik, Jeong Min Park, Park Hae-soo.
Time to Hunt” is a dystopian action thriller movie directed and written by Yoon Sung-hyun. The movie is set in a near-future dystopian South Korea, where friends plan a robbery that can transform their lives forever. The movie was released on February 22nd, 2020, and it got an IMDB rating of 6.3/10.
Cast: Ma Dong-seok, Lee Hanee , Song Young-chang.
This is a comedy-drama film. The story revolves around two brothers Hyun-Tae, and Hyun-soo, who are separated, but when their father is hospitalized, they reunite despite their differences. The movie beautifully depicts themes of love, family and forgiveness. The movie was released on November 2nd, 2017, and it has an IMDB rating of 6/10.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller.
Cast: Yun-shik Baek, Dong-il Sung, Ho-jin Chun, Hye-In Kim, Chong-ok Bae.
The Chase is a crime-thriller film. The movie depicts the story of a detective chasing a ruthless serial killer. The flick is pretty popular because of its intense action sequences, and it highlights the issues such as corruption, justice, and revenge. The movie was released on November 29th, 2017, and it got an IMDB rating of 6.6/10.
Genre: Romance, Drama.
Cast: Sang Lee, Kang Ye Na, Subin Park, Baek Seo-Bin, Kang In Soo.
“Wish You” is a romantic comedy movie. The role of Kang In-soo is (portrayed by the idol of the same name). He is a street musician who wants to be a professional pop star. Shy keyboardist Yoon Sang-yi (Lee Sang) saw his videos on YouTube and referred him to his company. They fall in love while working together in the company. The movie was released on January 15th, 2021, and it has an IMDB rating of 6.4/10.
32.What Happened to Mr. Cha?
Cast: In-pyo Cha, A-Ram, Yoo Su-Jung, Jung Hyun-Chul.
“What Happened to Mr. Cha?” is a comedy film. Cha In-Pyo and Kim Dong-kyu are the directors of this movie. Cha In-Pyo portrayed the fictionalized version of himself as he struggled to come back into the industry. As he tries to come back, he reconnects with colleagues and friends, but a twist comes in the story when he gets drunk and causes chaos in the city. The movie was released on January 1st, 2021, and it has an IMDB rating of 4.4/10.
33.Illang: The Wolf Brigade
Genre: Action, Science fiction.
Cast: Gang Dong-won, Han Hyo-joo, Jung Woo-sung, Yeri Han, Choi Minho.
“Illang: The Wolf Brigade” is a science-fiction action film. It follows a story where Korea is divided into two countries, the South and the North. The special police force called “The Wolf Brigade” was formed to ensure law and order to prevent terrorist attacks. One of the members of Wolf Brigade, played by Gang Dong-won, falls in love with a woman who is associated with a rebel group. The movie was released on July 25th, 2018, and it has an IMDB rating of 5.9/10.
34.The Drug King
Genre: Action, Drama, Crime film.
Cast: Song Kang-ho, Jo Jung-Suk, Bae Doona, Jeon Ah-hee.
“The Drug King” is a drama film released in 2018. The movie is inspired by the true story of Lee Doo-sam, who operates a drug cartel and becomes a powerful gangster in the 1970s and 1980s. The movie follows Lee Doo-sam, portrayed by Song Kang-ho, who starts as a small drug smuggler and becomes one of the most powerful drug lords. The movie was released on December 19th, 2018, and it has an IMDB rating of 6.2/10.
Genre: Action, Comedy, Adventure.
Cast: Seung-ryong Ryu, Shim Eun-kyung, Jeong Min Park, Jung Yu-mi, Seung Hyung.
“Psychokinesis” is a superhero film. The story revolves around a father (played by Ryu Seung-ryong) who got superpowers and uses them to help his community and daughter. He drank water from a mountain spring and gained telekinetic powers. He uses his newfound abilities to protect his daughter and her neighbors from a corrupt company trying to demolish their homes. The movie was released on January 31st, 2018, and it got an IMDB rating of 5.9.
In recent years’ Korean cinema has transformed with the release of many blockbuster movies. This blog has revealed all the information you want about the 35 top-rated Korean movies. We hope after reading this blog, you will pick your favorite movies and enjoy watching them.
However, Netflix Korean library is geo-restricted outside Korea. However, you can access the K-content from anywhere through a reliable VPN, ExpressVPN is highly recommended.