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 yr as a consequence 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 embrace movies from genres together with comedy, motion, romance, horror, and extra. Okay-celebrity trackers may even discover titles that includes high stars like Web optimization Ye-ji, Im Yoon-ah (Yoona), Byun Yo-han, Jo In-sung, and Jeon Yeo-been.

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

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11. Arduous Hit

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

Sooner or later, the pinnacle of a financial institution department in Busan will get a restricted telephone 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 Arduous 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 possible helped Arduous Hit acquire vital 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, Arduous Hit does create a dynamic ambiance that ought to get you excited at the least 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 girl who says she acknowledges him—and begins to appreciate {that a} mysterious group is chasing after him.

Crammed with dynamic motion sequences tinged with comedic parts, Spiritwalker seems 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 girl named So-hee. The 2 meet by probability by way of the mail, and start to develop a connection by way of the common alternate of handwritten letters.

With this mail-based premise, Ready for the Rain distinguishes itself from different Korean romances. It does a very good 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 price noting; it’s truly considerably harking back 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

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

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

There are lots of Korean films involving ex-cops taking revenge, so On the Line treads on established territory. Nonetheless, its premise about telephone 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 total for earnings.

7. Mission: Doable

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

Should you’re searching for a mix of enjoyable and motion, try Mission: Doable.

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 a substitute hyperlinks up with a hapless detective named Woo Soo-han as a consequence of a case of mistaken id. When some key witnesses to the arms smuggling case find yourself lifeless, 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 a number of mental funding; it supplies stable leisure for its two hour runtime.

Stream Mission: Doable on Viki

6. Recalled

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

Sizzling on the heels of her success in final yr’s hit Okay-drama It’s OK to Not Be OK, actress Web optimization Ye-ji headlined the 2021 mystery-thriller Recalled. On this movie, Web optimization stars as a girl who wakes up someday to seek 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 Okay-entertainment tropes however in a novel approach. It doesn’t take a lot effort to take pleasure in this entertaining film, particularly in the event you take pleasure in plot twists. Study 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. Nonetheless, the evening of his housewarming occasion, a big downpour plunges his new home into a large sinkhole. Collectively along with his antagonistic neighbor Jeong Man-soo, Park should discover a option to get his housewarming company to security.

Such is the premise of Sinkhole — which turned the second-highest grossing South Korean film of 2021. This catastrophe comedy is stuffed with hilarious moments, and likewise presents jabs at sky-high housing costs in Seoul. Altogether, Sinkhole is a bit harking back to Exit, which mixed comedy, catastrophe, and veiled social critiques efficiently sufficient to be one in every of 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 recognized for steering 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 that you may 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 residing 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 results of Tae-goo’s prior violent actions catch as much as him on Jeju.

With stylistic colour grading and cinematography, Night time in Paradise is a visible feast. It incorporates a great deal of motion, and its distinctive setting of Jeju ought to show intriguing particularly for Asians extra conversant in the island’s touristic status. Study 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 Okay-pop lady 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 Okay-pop followers ought to nonetheless have the ability 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 prepare station to serve the village.

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

What makes Miracle price 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 vogue (even supposing the true South Korean president within the 80’s most likely spent extra effort massacring folks than receiving random letters). Okay-drama stalwarts may even see Miracle as a extra rural counterpart to the hit drama Reply 1988

Stream Miracle on Amazon

2. E book 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 E book 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 drastically 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 thinking about creative, considerate films set within the Joseon interval, then try E book of Fish.

Study extra about E book 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, Struggle

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

This motion film is “impressed” by actual occasions during which South Korean and North Korean diplomats needed to cooperate to be able to flee the Somali Civil Struggle in 1990. It turned 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, numerous South Korean films and exhibits depict relations with North Korea. Escape from Mogadishu is very price highlighting as a result of it depicts these relations in a extra reasonable method in comparison with many different tales.

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

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Need extra Korean films? Take a look at our lists of 2020 and 2019’s high Korean movies!

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