By Sara A. Layne Action dramas, how I love thee. You make my heart pound and I swear I am ready to start training as a police officer or spy or bodyguard when I watch you. The action genre of kdramas covers a broad spectrum of shows because there are, at times, other elements that could place the show in more than one genre. I’ve wanted to talk about action dramas for a while now, and now that I am turning my spotlight on them, I am extremely happy.
The first action drama on my list is actually one of my favorites. IRIS was a twenty episode action/romance/melodrama that ran back in 2009. The show followed two best friends, Kim Hyun Jun played by Lee Byung Hun and Jin Sa Woo played by Jung Joon Ho. They start off as Special Forces soldiers but a mysterious woman, who they both fall in love with, appears. They find out the woman, Choi Seung Hee, played by Kim Tae Hee, works for the NSS and after being kidnapped and tortured by the NSS, they are asked to join. Flash forward a few months and the three have grown close. The two friends have yet to tell each other that they are both in love with the same woman, yet they try to win her over using various methods. I’m sure you know this makes for a lot of awkward moments, but back to the action. The three are asked to go to Budapest for a mission. Afterwards Hyun Jun is given a secret mission which he completes. He gets injured however, and through a series of events ends up being betrayed by Sa Woo.  I know I’m being vague and if that’s frustrating to you, great! Go watch the drama. If you still aren’t interested, let me give you another reason to see it.
T.O.P. That’s right, TOP from Big Bang plays this bad ass, umm I mean really bad assassin and might I add he looks so sexy (insert fan girl scream). Hyun Jun ends up getting help from a North Korean soldier/spy Kim So Yeon and the two race against time and the evil secret group IRIS to find out who set up Hyun Jun and why. There was so much going on with this drama that I stayed up until 3am for two days to finish it as soon as possible. It was just that good. SO WATCH IT. As a matter of fact it was the top watched drama every week the entire time it ran. It spawned a movie, a spin-off drama and there are talks of an IRIS 2 that was supposed to air at the end of 2011 but sadly didn’t happen. Also the OST was amazing and I still listen to it. Big Bang did one of the main song’s which you can hear here. When you watch it be sure to have a tissue box, some food and possibly a blanket and pillow because once you start watching it, you won’t be able to stop until the end.
Athena: Goddess of War is the spin-off of IRIS I spoke about earlier. It ran at the end of 2010 and has a similar storyline as IRIS. As a matter of fact you might see a few familiar faces, but I won’t spoil it for you. Athena is a terrorist group lead by Son Hyuk, played by Cha Seung Won (fan-girl scream again). They are threatening South Korea and it’s up to Lee Jung Woo, played by Jung Woo Sung, who is part of the NSA to stop them. The fight scenes in this drama are incredible and I believe that this as well as IRIS were two of the most expensive dramas filmed. Regrettably TOP isn’t in this drama but don’t be too sad because Siwon is!
The last action drama that I loved (there are more but I don’t want to bore you to death) is City Hunter. I know a few were probably wondering why I didn’t say this one first right? Well I guess you could say I saved the best for last. I won’t go into too much detail because most of us have seen it already and there have been quite a few posts on it. I will say that the action in it is A-mazing. I had only seen Lee Min Ho in Boys Over Flowers so I wasn’t sure how he was going to be in this drama but wow! He played the (insert adjective here) out of Lee Yoon Sung/City Hunter!
Not only was the action great but the storyline too. I kept going back and forth between not liking but understanding the need for revenge with Lee Jin Pyo to a full outright hatred. And do I really need to mention Bae Sik-Joong (love him) and Kim Na Na? I think not. Please find some time to watch it, on the off chance you haven’t yet. Dramafever has an extensive library of action dramas so I encourage you to pick one and enjoy! Also let me know if you have a favorite action drama I didn’t mention.Action dramas IRIS Athena: Goddess of War City Hunter Man Called God Fight
Sara A. Layne contributes to the kpop and kdrama website Blackwomenlovebi. For other entries in Sara's Spotlight series and more, click here!