Why you should say goodbye to K-dramas and hello to K-action
Most K-drama fans first fall in love with dramas in the romantic comedy or melodrama sub genres, such as Boys Over Flowers or My Love From Another Star, but what about K-action? Recently, a journalist at The Verge decided to explore some of the top action Korean dramas, and this is what she discovered.
In her article featuring the Korean drama action genre, the author admitted that, "In the last few months I have fallen into a K-hole." She says she watched around 30 Korean action movies but, "kept wondering what Korean TV looked like when it was about, say, beating the [@#$%] out of bad guys." After narrowing her selection down to action shows, she came to the conclusion that, "directors like Jeong-beom Lee and Kim Jee-woon will make you believe in badass again." Here are her impressions of four K-action shows.
1. Vampire Prosecutor- "Worst idea that is actually the best show."
"I had no idea Vampire Prosecutor was what I was missing in my life until it came looking for me….Crisp, funny, and featuring some fantastically well-conceived reverse-timelapse effects, Vampire Prosecutor contains spare moments that feel similar to some of South Korea’s more gorgeous gangster movies, e.g. The Man from Nowhere."
2. Doctor Stranger- "Most Light-hearted drama about human rights abuses."
"For a show with such dark themes and particularly nasty surgery scenes, Doctor Stranger is surprisingly lighthearted and, yes, soapy; expect, in addition to firing squads and tense, floodlit scenes, extended bike rides through the flowery fields and ample tearstained goodbyes."
3. City Hunter-"Weirdest drama pastiche"
"One of the things I love most about Korean movies is how they manage to nestle moments of slapstick physical comedy into otherwise super-serious or action-packed moments. City Hunter, similarly, treats many of its fight sequences as if its characters were throwing pies instead of punches. In City Hunter, the camera angles are madcap and the colors super-bright. For an action show about a man-turned-killing machine taking down corrupt politicians, it’s actually pretty loopy."
4. God's Gift: 14 Days- "Best tear-stained monologue promising violent motherly vengeance."
"Watch if you: want a shadowy tale of abduction in the key of Top of the Lake with a time-hopping, Lost-like mash-up of magic and sci-fi….The show stumbles at times, but it usually finds its way back to the spooky and at times violent paranormal activity foreshadowed in its first episode."
5. Queen Seon Duk- "Most intrusive magical realism"
"I had high hopes for The Great Queen Seondeok, which, since its 2009 debut, has won a raft of awards for its condensed and fictionalized account of its titular character’s ascent to the throne....As a guilty pleasure this show could probably hold up, but the combination of soft telenovela-level lighting and predictable writing turned me off somewhat"
What do you think about her assessment of action Korean dramas? Which action Korean dramas do you love?