A list of 13 South Korean revenge movies.
We Know That No One Does Revenge Movies Quite Like South Korea. Hope You Enjoy The List
1: Hywai: A Monster Boy
Like most South Korean revenge movies, this is fast, vicious, and brutal. The acting is great, with a memorable performance from the lead character, a talented young actor who could also break your face.
Also, it is refreshing and a little different to see that our man out for vengeance is a sixteen-year-old boy.
Make no mistake though, he is a killing machine and has been learning how to fight and kill since he was a child.
(OFFICIAL PLOT wiki)
In the middle of a forest, a notorious five-member crime organization lives together on a deserted farm. One day, following a plan that didn’t go as expected, an infant whom they had kidnapped in a blackmailing scheme is left with them. 14 years later, this boy, who is now named Hwa-yi, lives as the son of his five criminal fathers: Seok-tae, the cold but charismatic leader, Ki-tae, a stammering driving expert, Jin-seong, an ideal planner, Beom-soo, a guns expert, and Dong-beom a cold martial artist. Hwa-yi has been brought up in a unique way, learning skills from his five fathers instead of going to school. Though he has adapted to this life, sometimes he longs for the ordinary life of other boys, which seems impossible for him.
The gang plans another crime, which will see Hwa-yi participate for the first time. During a fight, Hwa-yi fires a gun to kill someone. At first, his fingers tremble and the gun shakes but after one shot, he keeps pulling the trigger as though possessed. He finds a picture of a child on the man he shot and soon Hwa-yi starts to uncover a huge secret and his tragic destiny. His life is turned upside down when he learns that the man he killed was his real father. From that moment on, Hwa-yi vows revenge on his gangster fathers, using the devious skills he picked up from a life in crime.
I found out about this film after watching the great S.Korean comedy Castaway On The Moon. I was so impressed by the lead’s performance I went on to IMDb to see his other movies and found this revenge film.
(OFFICIAL PLOT IMDb)
Sang-Hyun, who lost his wife, lives with his daughter Soo-Jin. One day, Soo-Jin is raped and murdered. Frustrated by the lack of progress in his daughter’s case, Sang-Hyun gets a mysterious hint by an unknown voice. He learns the identity of the two men who killed his daughter and the address of one of those two men. Sang-Hyun then goes to the home of that man and finds some evidence. Full of anger he kills the murderer. The father is now a fugitive and searched by the police while hunting down the other killer on himself.
Bedeviled is very much a revenge movie, although we don’t get to see any revenge until the final acts of the film.
The film is slow-burning and does not have all the action or fighting that we are used to in South Korean revenge films.
The slow-burning plot is necessary – we get to know her character and feel lots of sympathy for her. We also learn to hate her abusers, and this brilliant and unsettling build-up sets the tone of the film.
We watch a woman get tortured and abused in a small village for years. One day she is pushed to the edge and decides to take revenge on the villagers who have abused her….with a giant sickle!
Hae-won is a middle-rank officer working in a Seoul bank. A severe, tense single woman, she is being brought down by the work-related stress and the hypercompetitive environment she finds herself in.
Desperate, she takes up an offer from a long-forgotten friend and takes off for a private vacation in Mudo, a desolate Southern island in which she had spent childhood. Arriving at the island, she is warmly welcomed by Bok-nam, with whom she had a close friendship when both were in their teens but whose constant letters she’s since ignored.
Life on the backward, undeveloped island is hard, and Bok-nam is treated as little more than a slave by her abusive husband Man-jong, his brother and the local old women. All of Bok-nam’s love is reserved for her young daughter Yeon-hee, with whom she tries to escape from the small, claustrophobic island. But when that results in tragedy, the woman finally snaps, unleashing all her demons, as Bok-nam takes a sickle in her hand
4: I SAW THE DEVIL
One of the fasted and most brutal revenge movies that I have ever seen. This film just doesn’t let-up, it is just hardcore from beginning to end. When the story gets going, and it does so quite early on. Things move so fast and relentless that you’ll find yourself gagging for air.
Acting is top-notch with both main characters playing brilliantly off each other. Choi Min-Sik takes-on another dark role and gives us a great on-screen serial-killer. The man can do no wrong in my eyes. I would watch just about anything that Choi Min-Sik features in.
(OFFICIAL PLOT Wiki)
School-bus driver Kyung-chul happens upon Joo-yun one snowy night and offers to help fix her flat tire. Kyung-chul kills her and scatters her body parts. When a boy discovers one of Joo-yun’s ears, the police are called in under the command of Section Chief Oh and Squad Chief Jang, the latter of whom is the father of Joo-yun. Soo-hyun, a secret service agent of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) and Joo-yun’s fiancé, vows to track down and take vengeance on Joo-yun’s murderer.
I Saw The Devil [Blu-ray]
Soo is a South Korean revenge movie that requires some dissection and maybe multiple viewings.
When I finished the film for the first time, I was left underwhelmed. It was still in my head the next day, so I decided that it was time for another watch. The story was still fresh in my mind.
With the second viewing, it all started to come together and make sense. This a slow-burning character-driven revenge movie, a must-see for fans of the genre.
All I ask is for you to make up your mind about the film. If you read the reviews, you’ll find that a lot of people think that Soo is a rip-off. That sort of stuff pisses me off. Why does everyone feel the need to compare it to the likes of Oldboy or A Bittersweet Life?.
The only things that Soo has in common with those films are that they are both from South Korea and they both are about revenge.
(OFFICIAL PLOT IMDb)
A Legendary assassin and a renowned problem solver, Soo has been searching for the twin brother he has not seen since their days in an orphanage. But his brother is murdered when he turns against a vicious gang to become a police officer. In order to get revenge, Soo has no choice but to take on his brother’s identity and use it to lure the gang into a trap.
6: THE MAN FROM NOWHERE
Another classic South Korean revenge movie that I am sure you’ve all seen. This film was just like a South.Korean version of Leon The Professional.
Featuring some amazing choreographed fight scenes and a very talented ass-kicking cast.
(OFFICIAL PLOT IMDb)
A quiet pawnshop keeper with a violent past takes on a drug- and organ trafficking ring in hope of saving the child who is his only friend.
The Man from Nowhere
7: COIN LOCKER GIRL
A film I have followed closely for months. Although the description below does not sound like a South Korean revenge movie, I can assure you that it is.
The girl who is brought up by the crime boss goes rogue, and the only way out of the life of crime is to go after the head of the family, the one who trained her.
The film has played at various festivals throughout the world, and I haven’t yet read a single bad review. I also like that our main hero in the movie is female. I am looking forward to seeing some excellent fight choreography, along with dark, brutal vengeance
(OFFICIAL PLOT IMDb)
A newborn girl is placed in a coin-operated locker in the subway station. The girl is raised by a mother who is the boss for a loan shark group. Later, when the girl has grown into a teen, she carries out missions given to her by her mother.
8: OLD BOY
One of the biggest films in South Korean history and one of the all-time greatest South Korean revenge movies form visionary director Park Chan-Wook
Oldboy told the story of a man imprisoned for 15 years without reason. He spends his time locked away training and planning revenge on the person who is responsible for locking him up. When he is released, he has five days to find the man responsible – and to find out who imprisoned him.
Oldboy (Two-Disc Special Edition) [DVD] 
9: SYMPATHY FOR MR.VENGEANCE
Part of the famous Vengeance trilogy from Park Chan-Wook. This great trilogy set the standard high in S.Korean cinema and made director Chan-Wook one of the most famous directors to ever come out of S.Korea.
(OFFICIAL PLOT IMDb)
A recently laid off factory worker kidnaps his former boss’ daughter, hoping to use the ransom money to pay for his sister’s kidney transplant.
10: SYMPATHY FOR LADY VENGEANCE
Still an excellent film, but my least favourite from the Vengeance Trilogy. I haven’t watched the movie in years, so I think it might be time for a revisit.
(OFFICIAL PLOT IMDb)
After a 13-year imprisonment for the kidnap and murder of a 6-year-old boy, beautiful Lee Guem-ja starts seeking revenge on the man that was really responsible for the boy’s death. With the help of fellow inmates and reunited with her daughter, she gets closer and closer to her goal. But will her actions lead to the relief she seeks?
11: THE DEAL
Another one that I have followed for months. The Deal broke a box-office record when released for being one of highest grossing S.Korean movie to hit the cinemas.
“Revenge”, and “serial killers” are my two favourite words when it comes to South Korean cinema.
(OFFICIAL PLOT AsianWiki)
Detective Tae-Soo lost his younger sister at the hands of serial killer Kang-Cheon. An ordinary man named Seung-Hyun also lost his wife Soo-Kyung at the hands of serial killer Kang-Cheon. They both try to take revenge upon Kang-Cheon.
I have been looking forward to seeing Monster for over a year now. I finally had the chance to watch it when I found it on Netflix.
The film is not without its issues, but overall I thought it was a great South Korean revenge movie.
Be warned there is a lot of crying in the film- it was almost unbearable. I nearly turned off the movie so that I could rest my head from the wailing sounds of that actress.
The revenge doesn’t take place until the final acts of the film. Our two main characters have both lost loved ones at the hands of a serial killer.
They spend most of their time running from the killer until they have no choice but to take a stand and fight. These final act of revenge is why Monster makes my South Korean Revenge article.
It also stars the young kid from Netflix original OKJA
13: THE FIVE
Been looking forward to this film for a long time. I have read mixed reviews, but I won’t let that bother me. I always love a good serial-killer movie and no one does it better than South Korea if you ask me.
Great concept, The Five is about a group of ordinary people who are all in need of an organ transplant. A dying woman offers her organs in exchange for an act of revenge on a serial killer who murdered her husband and daughter.
(OFFICIAL PLOT Wiki)
Eun-ah was living a perfect, happy life with her family until a sociopathic young man named Jae-wook brutally and senselessly murders her husband and daughter in front of her eyes. Barely escaping alive herself, Eun-ah is left half-paralyzed and wheelchair-bound.
After her recovery, she grows fixated on taking revenge on him. Two years later, following a long search, she hones in within striking distance of the killer. Faced with such a dangerous adversary and her immobility, Eun-ah gathers four people marginalized by society, each with a different skill, to help her kill Jae-wook.
All four accomplices, which include a North Korean defector an ex-gangster, a doctor, and a cop — are in need of organ transplants for various reasons. Eun-ah promises them her organs once her revenge is complete.
But things don’t go as planned, and the killer turns the tables and starts hunting them himself.
Thanks for reading 🙂
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