ByDaniel Rodriguez, writer at
Daniel Rodriguez

Asian Films are very prolific when it comes about Action/Thrillers and revenge films, however, most people seem to know only about Oldboy. Here is a list with some of the finest thrillers produced in South Korea in the past decade that are not Oldboy.

  • 1) A Bittersweet Life (2006)

Things go wrong for a high ranking mobster when he doesn't proceed by his boss's orders.

Directed by Kim Jee-woon (The Last Stand, 2013), it's one of the many collaborations between him and Byung Hun Lee (G.I. Joe). It's a brilliant film with exhilarating action but also with a compelling and poetic story.

Full Review

  • 2) I Saw the Devil (2009)

When his pregnant fiancee becomes the latest victim of a serial killer, a secret agent blurs the line between good and evil in his pursuit of revenge.

Once more a collaboration between Kim Jee-woon and Byung Lee, "I Saw the Devil" is also action packed and stylish, but it is over the top violent, one of the cruelest films ever made. If Oldboy shocks by its dubious moral and ethics, I Saw the Devil shocks by the painfully cruel depict of vengeance. An American remake has just been announced!

  • 3) The Man From Nowhere (2010)

A quiet pawnshop keeper with a violent past takes on a drug- and organ trafficking ring in hope of saving the child who is his only friend.

Another top notch action/thriller here, with a similar plot from Jason Statham's Safe, but way more action packed and intense, with a brilliant performance by Won Bin and some breath-taking action sequences, such as the knife duel.

Full Review

  • 4) The Chaser (2008)

Joong-ho is a dirty detective turned pimp in financial trouble as several of his girls have recently disappeared without clearing their debts. While trying to track them down, he finds a clue that the vanished girls were all called up by a same client whom one of his girls is meeting with right now.

The Chaser is an investigation thriller that follows a former detective looking for a prostitute he used to work with, without realizing he had crossed paths with a brutal serial killer. The film is basically divided in two parts, the first is slow paced and without any highlights, however, in a certain point there's such an intense change of tone that the outcome of the story is nothing less than jaw-dropping.

  • 5) The Yellow Sea (2010)

The story of a cab driver in Yanji City, a region between North Korea, China and Russia. His wife goes to Korea to earn money, but he doesn't hear from her since in 6 months. He plays mah-jong to make some extra cash, but this only makes his life worse; but then he meets a hitman who proposes to turn his life around by repaying his debt and reuniting with his wife, just for one hit.

From the same director of The Chaser, The Yellow Sea could easily have had the same name, since if features one of the longest and most unstoppable chases ever committed to film. The pace is completely frantic when the chase is finally started, and it's impossible to predict where it will end.


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