The 11 Greatest Korean Motion pictures of 2021

In comparison with earlier than coronavirus, South Korean cinema was in a much less illustrious state throughout 2021, with theaters closed for a lot of the 12 months on account of native outbreaks. Regardless of this, some Korean movies nonetheless managed to debut.

You is perhaps questioning: what are the Greatest Korean Motion pictures of 2021?

Cinema Escapist‘s workers have curated this listing of the highest 11 Korean movies from 2021 to fulfill your curiosity. We selected these 11 Korean films based mostly on their narrative craft, leisure worth, and societal significance. We’ve additionally included streaming hyperlinks when films can be found on world platforms like Netflix.

Our alternatives embody movies from genres together with comedy, motion, romance, horror, and extra. Ok-celebrity trackers can even discover titles that includes high stars like Search engine marketing Ye-ji, Im Yoon-ah (Yoona), Byun Yo-han, Jo In-sung, and Jeon Yeo-been.

Let’s dive into 2021’s greatest Korean films!

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11. Exhausting Hit

Korean title: 발신제한 | Director: Kim Chang-ju | Starring: Lee Jae-in, Ji Chang-wook, Jin Kyung | Style: Thriller

At some point, the pinnacle of a financial institution department in Busan will get a restricted cellphone name that warns him {that a} bomb will go off beneath his automotive seat and kill him if he stops the automotive. Thus begins the 2021 Korean thriller film Exhausting Hit, which stars Jo Woo-jin because the aforementioned financial institution head.

Not that many thriller movies got here out in Korea throughout 2021, which probably helped Exhausting Hit acquire important traction with Korean audiences. It hit #1 on the field workplace upon its launch, and is the fifth highest grossing Korean film of 2021. With pumping background music and excessive stakes, Exhausting Hit does create a dynamic ambiance that ought to get you excited not less than for its first parts.

10. Spiritwalker

Korean title: 유체이탈자 | Director: Yoon Jae-geun | Starring: Yoon Kye-sang, Park Yong-woo, Lim Ji-yeon | Style: Motion, Thriller, Fantasy

Fantasy-action film Spiritwalker facilities on a person who’s misplaced his reminiscence and awakens in a brand new physique each twelve hours, compelled to rediscover his id every time. Quickly, he meets a lady who says she acknowledges him—and begins to appreciate {that a} mysterious group is chasing after him.

Stuffed with dynamic motion sequences tinged with comedic parts, Spiritwalker looks like an intriguing mix between Memento and The Magnificence Inside. Korean audiences gave the movie a heat reception upon its theatrical launch in November 2021; Spiritwalker topped Korea’s field workplace for 2 weeks in a row.

9. Ready for Rain

Korean title: 비와 당신의 이야기 | Director: Jo Jin-mo | Starring: Kang Ha-neul, Chun Woo-hee, Kang Sora | Style: Romance, Melodrama

Ready for the Rain chronicles the romance of a person named Younger-ho and a lady named So-hee. The 2 meet by probability via the mail, and start to develop a connection via the common trade of handwritten letters.

With this mail-based premise, Ready for the Rain distinguishes itself from different Korean romances. It does a great job of tracing the evolution of a relationship over time and distance, versus serving up romance in a hurried saccharine explosion. Moreover, the movie’s capability to evoke nostalgia is value noting; it’s really considerably paying homage to high Chinese language tragi-romances like Us and Them.

8. On the Line

Korean title: 보이스 | Administrators: Kim Gok, Kim Solar | Starring: Byun Yo-han, Kim Mu-yeol, Park Myung-hoon | Style: Crime, Motion, Thriller

Telephone scams afflict folks all around the world, South Korea included. 2021 motion film On the Line imagines what would possibly occur if victims of such scams determined to take revenge.

The movie stars Byun Yo-han (well-known for his position in Ok-drama Mr. Sunshine) as a former detective named Search engine marketing Joon, who now runs a building web site. When cellphone scammers goal him and his fellow staff, he vows retribution. Search engine marketing manages to trace down the pinnacle of the syndicate (performed by Kim Mu-yeol) who focused him, and unravels a much bigger operation than he had even imagined.

There are a lot of Korean films involving ex-cops taking revenge, so On the Line treads on established territory. Nevertheless, its premise about cellphone scams and quick tempo ought to fulfill many audiences, simply as YouTube movies of individuals getting revenge on scammers typically go viral. Certainly, On the Line did fairly properly at South Korea’s field workplace throughout 2021, rating fourth general for earnings.

7. Mission: Attainable

Korean title: 미션 파서블 | Director: Kim Hyung-joo | Starring: Lee Solar-bin, Kim Younger-kwang | Style: Motion, Comedy

Should you’re on the lookout for a mix of enjoyable and motion, try Mission: Attainable.

This comedy-action film facilities on a undercover agent named Yoo Da-hee, who’s tasked with stopping an arms smuggling operation in South Korea. Yoo is meant to cooperate with a South Korean undercover agent, however she as an alternative hyperlinks up with a hapless detective named Woo Soo-han on account of a case of mistaken id. When some key witnesses to the arms smuggling case find yourself useless, this odd couple should cooperate to outlive and discover justice.

Of their roles as Yoo and Woo, lead actors Lee Solar-bin and Kim Younger-kwang have nice chemistry. The film is stuffed with motion and doesn’t require loads of mental funding; it offers strong leisure for its two hour runtime.

Stream Mission: Attainable on Viki

6. Recalled

Korean title: 내일의 기억 | Director: Search engine marketing Yoo-min | Starring: Search engine marketing Ye-ji, Kim Kang-woo, Yeom Hye-ran | Style: Thriller, Thriller

Scorching on the heels of her success in final 12 months’s hit Ok-drama It’s OK to Not Be OK, actress Search engine marketing Ye-ji headlined the 2021 mystery-thriller Recalled. On this movie, Search engine marketing stars as a lady who wakes up at some point to search out that she’s misplaced her reminiscence. When she begins experiencing hallucinations that portend murderous future occasions, she realizes not the whole lot is because it appears.

Recalled is a extremely suspenseful affair, one which reconstitutes many acquainted Ok-entertainment tropes however in a novel means. It doesn’t take a lot effort to take pleasure in this entertaining film, particularly in case you take pleasure in plot twists. Be taught extra about Recalled in our full-length assessment!

Stream Recalled on Viki.

5. Sinkhole

Korean title: 싱크홀 | Director: Kim Ji-hoon | Starring: Cha Seung-won, Kim Sung-kyun, Lee Kwang-soo | Style: Catastrophe, Comedy

After eleven lengthy years, an workplace employee named Park Dong-won has lastly saved up sufficient to purchase a house in Seoul. Nevertheless, the evening of his housewarming celebration, a big downpour plunges his new home into a large sinkhole. Collectively along with his antagonistic neighbor Jeong Man-soo, Park should discover a approach to get his housewarming friends to security.

Such is the premise of Sinkhole — which grew to become the second-highest grossing South Korean film of 2021. This catastrophe comedy is stuffed with hilarious moments, and in addition presents jabs at sky-high housing costs in Seoul. Altogether, Sinkhole is a bit paying homage to Exit, which mixed comedy, catastrophe, and veiled social critiques efficiently sufficient to be one in all 2019’s high Korean films.

4. Night time in Paradise

Korean title: 낙원의 밤 | Director: Park Hoon-jung | Starring: Uhm Tae-goo, Jeon Yeo-been, Cha Seung-won | Style: Motion, Revenge

Park Hoon-jung is most identified for guiding 2013 gangster-themed hit New World and writing 2010’s famend motion thriller I Noticed the Satan. In 2021, he returned to direct Night time in Paradise—a moody gangster revenge movie which you could simply stream on Netflix.

The film focuses on a gangster enforcer named Tae-goo, who will get exiled to the “paradise island” of Jeju after happening a bloody stabbing spree of a rival gang. On Jeju, Tae-goo finally ends up dwelling with an arms supplier and his niece, a younger lady named Jae-yeon. Tae-goo quickly discovers there’s extra to Jae-yeon than meets the attention, and the 2 start to type a bond that will get examined when the implications of Tae-goo’s prior violent actions catch as much as him on Jeju.

With stylistic shade grading and cinematography, Night time in Paradise is a visible feast. It comprises a great deal of motion, and its distinctive setting of Jeju ought to show intriguing particularly for Asians extra acquainted with the island’s touristic status. Be taught extra about Night time in Paradise in our full assessment.

Stream Night time in Paradise on Netflix

3. Miracle: Letters to the President

Korean title: 기적 | Director: Lee Jang-hoon | Starring: Park Jeong-min, Im Yoon-ah (Yoona), Lee Sung-min | Style: Drama, Fantasy, Comedy, Romance

Followers of the hit Ok-pop woman group SNSD could also be happy to see member Yoona (Im Yoon-ah) proceed her performing profession unabated in Miracle: Letters to the President. Those that aren’t Ok-pop followers ought to nonetheless be capable to take pleasure in this heartstring-tugging film as properly.

Miracle is about through the 1980’s, in an remoted village inside South Korea’s North Gyeongsang Province. It facilities on a younger man named Joon-gyeong (Park Jeong-min), who aspires to determine a practice station to serve the village.

Joon-gyeong sends many letters to South Korea’s President in an try to get the federal government to construct the station, however fails. Nevertheless, at college he meets a woman named Ra-hee (Yoona) — who begin collaborating on different inventive methods to construct the station.

What makes Miracle value noting is the way it doesn’t get completely slowed down in romance. Whereas it has cutesy tones, it leans extra in direction of comedy than saccharine love. The film additionally does a reasonably good job of reflecting the 80’s in a nostalgic trend (even supposing the actual South Korean president within the 80’s most likely spent extra effort massacring folks than receiving random letters). Ok-drama stalwarts would possibly even see Miracle as a extra rural counterpart to the hit drama Reply 1988

Stream Miracle on Amazon

2. Guide of Fish

Korean title: 자산어보 | Director: Lee Joon-ik | Starring: Sol Kyung-gu, Byun Yo-han, Lee Jung-eun, Jung Jin-young | Style: Drama

Director Lee Joon-ik has a knack for Joseon-era films, for instance The King and the Clown  and The Throne. In 2021 he returned with Guide of Fish. This movie examines the unlikely friendship between an exiled scholar and an formidable fisherman in a rural fishing village through the Joseon dynasty.

The film is significantly entertaining, and excels in its depiction of on a regular basis life in rural Korea. It additionally presents intriguing explorations about Confucianism versus Western thought, and faucets right into a wealthy historic context with references to actual occasions. Should you’re concerned with creative, considerate films set within the Joseon interval, then try Guide of Fish.

Be taught extra about Guide of Fish in our full assessment.

1. Escape from Mogadishu

Korean title: 모가디슈 | Director: Ryoo Seung-wan | Starring: Kim Yoon-seok, Jo In-sung, Heo Joon-ho, Kim So-jin | Style: Motion, Warfare

Our choice for the #1 greatest Korean movie of 2021 goes to Escape from Mogadishu.

This motion film is “impressed” by actual occasions wherein South Korean and North Korean diplomats needed to cooperate as a way to flee the Somali Civil Warfare in 1990. It grew to become the highest-grossing South Korean film of 2021, and can be South Korea’s submission to the 2022 Oscars for Greatest Worldwide Characteristic.

From Joint Safety Space to Crash Touchdown to You, a number of South Korean films and exhibits depict relations with North Korea. Escape from Mogadishu is particularly value highlighting as a result of it depicts these relations in a extra practical method in comparison with many different tales.

Be taught extra about why that is the case in our full-length assessment of the film!

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Need extra Korean films? Try our lists of 2020 and 2019’s high Korean movies!

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