Korean Movies on Netflix (Pt.1)

Hello everyone and welcome back to another post by EonTalk! Today, I’ve got a content on Korean movies to watch on Netflix. One of the most frequent questions I get is where to watch Korean movies with English subtitles. This is a hard question to tackle, as there are numerous factors that I need to consider when answering. Each country has different licensing and distribution laws and methods, and so a site or service available in one country, might not be available in another. Also, there really isn’t a single platform that supplies the high demand of Korean films with English subtitles, and I don’t want to recommend any illegal sites or methods either.

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The main way I personally watch Korean movies (minus actually going to the theaters) is Netflix. Netflix has numerous Korean content available, but as mentioned, the library of available films varies drastically by your location. The Korean Netflix has tons of great movies, but the majority of it won’t be available if you live outside of Korea. And even with the huge library of Korean films on Netflix, most of them don’t have English subtitles. Thus, I came to the conclusion that it’d be best for me to recommend movies available on the Korean Netflix that do have English subtitles, and you can watch these movies using a VPN service.

What’s VPN? It’s a service that essentially allows you to use a server from a different location. So let’s say you live outside of Korea, you can use a VPN to get onto the Korean server and use the Korean Netflix server. I don’t have a particular VPN service I recommend, but I know there are a ton of them available out there, and I’m sure there are lots of YouTube videos and tutorials that can guide you to using it. 

So that being said, I looked through all of the Korean movies available on the Korean Netflix, and found the ones that do have English subtitles. There were a total of 369 Korean movies, a total of 53 that actually had English subtitles, and I’ve compiled a list of 10 that I actually watched and recommend. I can make a part 2 with the other movies as well, so if that’s something you’d like, please let me know by commenting down below! This list will be in alphabetical order, and not by my liking or ratings. Also, these movies are available on the Korean Netflix at the time of research, so April 14th of 2020. The availability of the movies may change as time goes on, so be sure to check them out before they are removed from Netflix.

Now then, without further ado, let’s get into today’s content on Korean movies to watch on Netflix!

#1

Starting off the list, the first movie is actually two movies: <Along with the Gods – The Two Worlds> and <Along with the Gods – The Last 49 Days>.

 I combined these two and put them both in one spot, as they have similar stories and are sequels, and also because they were directed by the same person and have nearly the same cast. The “Along with the Gods” movies is a fantasy-drama directed by Kim Yong-Hwa, who also directed <Mr. Go>, <Take Off>, and <200 Pounds Beauty>. <Along with the Gods – The Two Worlds> had Ha Jung-Woo, Cha Tae-Hyun, Ju Ji-Hoon, Kim Hyang-Gi, Kim Dong-Wook, and Don Lee aka Ma Dong-Seok, and <Along with the Gods – The Last 49 Days> had the same cast minus Cha Tae-Hyun. 

The synopsis is as follows:
Over the past 1000 years, the three afterlife guardians, Gang-Rim, Hae-Won-Maek, and Duk-Choon, have successfully reincarnated 48 dead spirits. They must reincarnate one more for them to also receive a new life. However, the lead guardian unexpectedly chooses Kim Su Hong, a soul that had an unfair death, as the trio’s last spirit. But according to the afterlife-laws, a soul which has had an unjust death must dissipate, without trial. Nonetheless, one of the Kings of the underworld accepts Gang Rim’s offer, but with a catch. The catch is, the three angels of death must bring to the afterlife an old man that’s past his death day before the trial of Su Hong is over. However, the old man is being protected by the ‘God of House.’

#2

The second movie is the 2017 film, <The Battleship Island>.

<The Battleship Island> was directed by Ryu Seung-Wan, who also did <Veteran>, <The Berlin File>, <The Unjust>, and <Crying Fist>, and stars the likes of Hwang Jung-Min, So Ji-Sub, Song Joong-Ki, Lee Jung-Hyun, Kim Soo-Ahn, Lee Kyung-Young, and Kim Min-Jae. There’s also a director’s cut version of the film on Netflix if you would like to watch a more extended version of the movie. The film takes place during the Japanese colonial era.

The synopsis is as follows:
1945, during the Japanese colonial era, numerous Koreans are taken to an island by the Japanese, where they are promised work for pay. However, they find that the island is actually a “slave island,” where they are forced into harsh labor. Kang-Ok does whatever he can to reunite with his daughter that came to the island with him, while Chil-Sung and Mal-Nyun do whatever they need to get by. As the war nears its end, an OSS Agent named Moo-Young is given a special mission to go to the island and rescue a very important member of the independence movement. As the US starts to attack, the Japanese tries to get rid of all evidence of the severe conditions they made the Koreans endure by causing an explosion, and Moo-Young, Gang-Ok, Chil-Sung, and Mal-Nyun try to escape the island before it’s too late. 

#3

Next, the third movie is the 2019 film, <Black Money>.

This crime drama was directed by Jung Ji-Young, who’s responsible for <Unbowed> and <Blackjack>, and is based on real events that took place in Korea. The movie stars Cho Jin-Woong, Lee Ha-Nee, Lee Kyung-Young, Kang Shin-Il, Choi Duk-Moon, and Cho Han-Chul. 

The synopsis is as follows:
Yang Min-Hyuk is a prosecutor of the Seoul District, and is known for being extremely hard headed. However, he finds himself in a complicated situation when the suspect he was investigating commits suicide, and he’s framed as the cause of death. As he tries to clear his name, he finds that the suspect was an important figure of a big financial scandal. Upon further research, he discovers that the scandal is a lot bigger than he had thought, as it involved financial supervisors, large law firms, and overseas companies. What is the truth behind the Daehan Bank scandal? 

#4

Moving along, the fourth movie is the 2019-released action film, <Cheer Up, Mr. Lee>.

<Cheer Up, Mr. Lee> was directed by Lee Gye-Byuk, who also directed <Luck-Key> and <The Beast And The Beauty>, and is a real tear-jerker. I’d say it’s similar to <Miracle in Cell No.7> in how emotional it gets, but like how I mentioned in my review of the film, I didn’t enjoy it that much because I felt like it tried too hard to force the tears out of the audience. However, I know that there are people that did very much enjoy the film and thought it was genuinely emotional. The movie features the lineup of Cha Seung-Won, Uhm Chae-Young, Park Hae-Joon, Kim Hye-Ok, Ahn Gil-Kang, Jun Hye-Bin, and Cho Han-Chul.

The synopsis is as follows:
Tae-Shik is a former special agent who lost his wife and unborn child due to an unfortunate accident, and is now living a lonely life, running a pawn shop. One of his frequent visitors of the pawn shop is a young girl that lives next doors to him, Somi. One day, Somi suddenly disappears. She was kidnapped because her mother was involved in a crime incident involving some bad people. In order to save his only friend, Tae-Shik chases after the people who took Somi, and sets up a deal with the organization. However, he’s unable to rescue Somi, and the cops start chasing after Tae-Shik’s tail. 

#5

The fifth movie is the 2017 action film, <Confidential Assignment>.

This movie was directed by Kim Sung-Hoon, who also did <Rampant> and <My Little Hero>, and stars Hyun Bin, Yoo Hae-Jin, the late Kim Joo-Hyuk, Jang Young-Nam, Lee Dong-Hwi, and Yoona of Girls Generation. 

The synopsis is as follows:
Rim Chul-Ryung is a North Korean agent who lost his wife and colleagues during a secret operation planned by an internal organization. North Korea, needing to finish the mission, requests the first inter-Korean joint investigation in order to catch the organization’s leader, Cha Ki-Sung, who’s hiding in the South. Chul-Ryung is the agent that’s sent to Seoul for the mission. Meanwhile, suspicious of North Korea’s actual intents, South Korea plans an operation to catch the Ki-Sung first, and orders Kang Jin-Tae to closely monitor the agent from the North and make sure he doesn’t get to Ki-Sung first. Chul-Ryung, who must complete his mission, and Jin-Tae who must stop him from doing so. Who will come out on top?

#6

Coming in next is the 2019 movie, <Crazy Romance>.

Directed by Kim Han-Kyul, <Crazy Romance> is a romcom that stars the likes of Kim Rae-Won, Gong Hyo-Jin, Kang Ki-Young, Jung Woong-In, and Jang So-Yeon. This is a very “real” movie that also keeps the audience laughing.

The synopsis is as follows:
After his ex-girlfriend leaves him, Jae-Hoon spends everyday drinking his sorrow away. One day, he wakes up with a major hangover, and after checking his phone, realizes that he called and talked to an unknown number for 2 hours. Who was the owner of the unknown number? It was none other than his work colleague, Sun-Young, who he just met that previous day. Sun-Young, who’s also recently broken up with her boyfriend, started working at the same company as Jae-Hoon the day before the call, and the two start off on the wrong foot, but gradually gets closer and closer.

#7

Moving onto the seventh movie, the seventh movie is the 2018 film <Drug King>.

<Drug King> was directed by Woo Min-Ho, who also directed <The Man Standing Next>, <Inside Men>, and <The Spies>. Looking at the other works this director did, <Drug King> doesn’t live up to his standard, in my opinion. I feel like the movie could’ve been a lot better with the potential it had with the story, and especially with the cast it had of Song Kang-Ho, Jo Jung-Suk, Bae Doona, Kim So-Jin, Kim Dae-Myung, Lee Sung-Min, Lee Hee-Jun, Cho Woo-Jin, and Song Young-Chang. 

The synopsis is as follows:
1970’s of South Korea is a time of instability and uncertainty; A time where exporting drugs to foreign countries made you a national patriot. Lee Do-Sam was a low-grade smuggler of jewelry, specifically gold. During his course of smuggling, he gets involved with drug trafficking, and soon opens his eyes towards the methamphetamine market. With his many skills, he starts a business of producing, distributing, and exporting meth. As Kim Jung-Ah, a business-minded lobbyist, joins the business, they brand their product as “Made in Korea” and start to take over not only the Korean and Japanese markets, but the Asian market as a whole. However, as they start conquering the drug industry, Kim In-Goo, a prosecutor of the South Korean government, starts to investigate Lee Do-Sam.

#8

Next, the #8 movie is the 2019 film <Inside Me> (or <The Dude In Me>).

<Inside Me> was directed by Kang Hyo-Jin, who also directed <Wonderful Nightmare>, and stars the like of Jin Young, Park Sung-Woong, Ra Mi-Ran, Lee Soo-Min, Lee Jun-Hyuk, and Kim Gwang-Gyu. This comedy is like the Korean version of <Freaky Friday>, and was a pleasant surprise, as I didn’t expect it to be as funny as it was. 

The synopsis is as follows:
Pan-Soo is part of an exclusive organization known for partaking in illegal activities. When he visits a small, local restaurant to grab an old-time favorite meal, he comes across Dong-Hyun, a high school student with obesity problems and is bullied at school. The owner of the store mentions some odd expressions, leaving Pan-Soo puzzled. Moments later, Pan-Soo and Dong-Hyun’s fates cross paths again. Dong-Hyun falls off the roof of a building following an unfortunate accident, landing right on top of Pan-Soo. Following this incident, the two switch bodies. As Pan-Soo inevitably lives his life in the body of an overweight high schooler, he meets his first love from the past, and finds out he has a hidden daughter! Things just get weirder and weirder for the duo.

#9

The #9 film is the 2012 movie <Eungyo>.

This film was directed by Jung Ji-Woo, who also directed <Tune in for Love>, <Heart Blackened>, and <4th Place>, and is a very mature film. The movie features the main cast members Park Hae-Il, Kim Mu-Yeol, and Kim Go-Eun, and this was the first work I saw Kim Go-Eun in, and immediately became a fan of hers. 

The synopsis is as follows:
Seo Ji-woo, a student who wishes to attain the genius talent of his teacher,  and Eun-gyo, a 17-year-old girl who yearns for the world of great poets. They both realize the hardship of their dreams. The provocative story of jealousy and fascination of the three characters begins. 

#10

And finally, the #10 movie is the 2016 film <The Handmaiden>.

<Handmaiden> was directed by one of Korea’s most famous directors, Park Chan-Wook, who’s responsible for other masterpieces such as <Old Boy>, <Sympathy for Lady Vengeance>, and <Joint Security Area>. <The Handmaiden> is one of the most beautifully shot movies of Korean cinema, and stars the likes of Kim Min-Hee, Kim Tae-Ri, Ha Jung-Woo, and Cho Jin-Woong.

The synopsis is as follows:
A noble lady who lost her parents at a young, now lives under the strict watch of her uncle. The lonely lady spends all her days reading the books in her uncle’s library. That is, until she is greeted by a new maid, and she starts to rely on her little by little. However, the maid is actually the daughter of a famous thief, who was ordered to make the lady fall in love with her by Count, who schemes to steal the inheritance of the lady. Count and the handmaiden fight to win over the heart of the lady.

 

Conclusion

That concludes today’s content on Korean movies to watch on Netflix. Remember, these movies weren’t in the order of my liking but in alphabetical order. Also, these movies are available on the Korean Netflix at the time of research, so April 14th of 2020. The availability of the movies may change as time goes on, so be sure to check them out before they are removed from Netflix. I’d love to hear which movies you will be watching, so please comment down below which ones you’re interested in! Also, you can join the EonTalk Telegram group and discuss further with me and other K-film enthusiasts. Let me know that you’d like a Part 2 with the other Netflix K-movies, and join the EonTalk Patreon to show me your support in what I do! 

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Disclaimer
Please keep in mind this review is composed of solely my own opinions, and should be taken with a grain of salt. I am in no way a professional writer, nor have I majored or studied journalism. This is for informative entertainment purpose only, representing my personal views. I do not own the images and/or videos used in the review. No copyright infringement intended.