Review South Korea

Review of South Korean Movies and TV Shows


Troubleshooter (해결사), aka Trapped, is a South Korean movie that was originally released on 9th September 2010, the duration is 1 hour and 40 minutes.


When Private Eye Kang Tae Shik enters a motel to take pictures of a couple for an unknown client he finds someone who has been murdered. At the scene a video plays of the actual murder. The video will show Kang Tae Shik’s innocence but a disembodied voice blackmails him into doing a “job” before he is able to get the evidence. Then life turns very chaotic for the ex-Detective.


Sol Kyang Gu (설경구) as Kang Tae Shik
He has been making files since 1996 and has won numerous awards.

Lee Jung Jin (이정진) as Jang Pil Ho
He has appeared in more TV shows than films, as far back as 1998. I see that he was in the daily comedy/sitcom SoonPoong Clinic which ran for 682 episodes.


The movie was actually pretty good.

The script was good. The film explains bit by bit what the “job” entails. I wasn’t quite sure where it was leading up to but I will give a hint, dodgy politicians are involved.

There was quite a bit of action and anybody wanting that would be satisfied with this movie. There wasn’t any unique elements of action as I’ve seen it all done bore but it was enjoyable and most of it family friendly.

The best bits for me were the comedy especially from actor Lee Sung Min. At first I was really fooled into thinking he was a scary character then a little later he turned into the comedy element. That part was well done.

All the actors did a pretty good job especially the cute daughter taking no nonsense from her incompetent Father.

I don’t actually remember the theme score or the incidental music.

I’m not sure I would watch it again.

I will give it a 4/5.

Where To Watch

This movie is available on Tubi. I haven’t seen it anywhere else.


2023-08-10T21:52:58+00:0010 August 2023|Review South Korea|

Black Knight

Black Knight (택배기사) is a Korean Sci-Fi drama created for Netflix and placed online on 12 May 2023.

Black Knight


The year is 2071 and toxic air has left the world in devastation. People rarely leave their homes and they receive deliveries through the legendary drivers. While many people live in the devastated world many also live in a domed city in comfort. The truth starts to come out about the other world.


Kim Woo Bin (김우빈) as 5-8
He is an actor and model. We haven’t seen him in any other productions but has a mix of TV and Movie related work.

Song Seung Heon (송승헌) as Ryu Seok
He has had quite a long career, since 1996 in both TV and film. He is an actor, model and singer born in Seoul.

Kang Yoo Seok (강유석) as Sa Wol
He has appeared in many TV productions since his career started in 2018, and he’s been busy.


This show reminds me a little bit of Circle: Two Worlds Connected, however, Black Knight didn’t do so well.

The production quality and special effects were good, I cannot fault it at that. The actors did a good job too.

The show wasn’t written well though and it was tough going at first. I would say things started to come together after the 4th episode and the last episode was the best. I was expecting more, a little bit more context to the show. It felt as though they rushed to put it in a 6 episode format but left the action and the story out.  It appears Netflix-created South Korean content is very much like this, I do better with non-Netlfix shows, maybe it’s just a coincidence.

It can be enjoyable if viewers lower their expectations and want entertainment where thinking is not required.

I give it a generous 2/5.

Where To Watch

As far as I’m aware this can only be watched on Netflix.


2023-06-24T04:12:35+00:0024 June 2023|Review South Korea|

Cheer Up, Mr Lee

Cheer Up, Mr Lee (힘을 내요, 미스터 리) is a movie from South Korea that was released on 11 September 2019.


Cheol Soo has a perfect appearance, but he is a bit slow. One day, his daughter Saet Byeol appears in front of him. Saet Byeol has been sick and she has been in the hospital. They start on a trip.
via AsianWiki


Cha Seung Won (차승원) As Cheol Soo.
He received an engineering degree before embarking as a model and then into acting which established him as a major star. I don’t recall seeing him in any other show. His performance in this movie was amazing.

Uhm Chae Young (엄채영) as Saet Byeol
She must have only been about 12 years old when making this movie, what an amazing performance. Haven’t seen her in other productions but has a long list in her resume.

Park Hae Joon (박상우) as Young Soo
Another great performance, he began his career in theatre arts in 2007 and has been in many different productions since. I haven’t seen him before this film.

Kim Hye Ok (김혜옥) as Hee Ja
Long list of credits to her name, and she started her career in the 1980s. She was in the TV series Manhole which I saw a few episodes of but don’t recall her. She was born in Japan.


This was a brilliant film. Such an emotional roller coaster too of comedic, sad and emotional uplifting scenes.

The story was very well done, at first I thought the script was leading us to one place in Cheol Soo’s mind but was in fact reality. It was such so cleverly done.

As an avid fan of daily Korean dramas it helped me understand some of the tongue in cheek scenes. Those who are watching their first Korean from might not appreciate the references.

The whole movie script and production was so cleverly done you felt emotionally drawn into and part of what was going on. I would want to watch out for other work by the Director Lee Kye Byuk and Jang Yoon Mi.

On many review sites people were scoring 10/10 for this movie and I totally agree. This is a must see film. Totally family friendly.

Where To Watch

The film is available on Viki and Tubi. Also on Netflix and Amazon depending on the region.


2023-06-12T22:14:37+00:0012 June 2023|Review South Korea|


Jung_E (정이) is a South Korean movie released on 20th January 2023 commissioned by Netflix.



From IMDB:
Set in the 22nd century, climate change has caused the planet to become uninhabitable and humans live within a man-made shelter. A war takes place within the shelter. Jung Yi is the elite leader of the allied forces. She becomes the subject of a brain cloning experiment. The cloning experiment is a potential key to win the war.


Kang Soon Yeon (강수연) as Yoon Seo Hyun
Sadly she passed away from a cerebral haemorrhage on 7th May 2022, while the movie was in post-production, she was only 55 years old. She is a veteran award-winning actress with her first film being in 1977 and TV drama in 1979. The Korea Times has this interesting article.

Ryu Kyung Soo (류경수) as Kim Sang Hoon
He is best down for drama series such as Itaewon Class and Confession. Jung_E is not his only Netflix production, previously in the 2021 series Hellbound in the upcoming series Glitch.


The best thing about this film was the special effects. Very interesting landscapes and the robot scenes were faultless, including the fight scenes.

The film was let down by the script. They should have focused on improving that.

I take this as a more action movie than anything. So, don’t expect Shakespeare.

With the exception of Kong Soon Yeon the acting wasn’t that great either. The three elements of the film just didn’t come together ie CGI, story and acting.

Unfortunately, when we started watching the movie Netflix defaulted to the English dubbed version rather than the Korean voice and English subtitles. I never watch anything that is dubbed in English because the voices they use are patronizing. This was the case with this film, it was just dreadful, especially the voice of the character Kim Sang Hoon.  Later on, I did watch parts of the film that hadn’t been dubbed and it was much better.


I don’t want to rate this movie since it was all over the place, I suggest viewing it and deciding for yourself.

Where To Watch

This film is only available on Netflix, it’s in their Top 10 in Canada.


2023-01-23T18:14:36+00:0023 January 2023|Review South Korea|


6/45 is a military comedy movie from South Korea that was released on 24th August 2022.


This a story of South and North Korean soldiers meetings up secretly when the wind blows a first-prize lottery ticket, with a substantial win, into Korea’s military demarcation line.


The cast seemed very familiar but don’t recall where we have seen them, certainly not in any of the productions that are listed in their bios.

Go Kyung Pyo (고경표) plays Chun Woo
He has a decent list of TV shows and films in his bio. He did his military service between 2018 and 2020.

Lee Yi Kyung (이이경) plays Yong Ho
A longer bio than Go Kyung Pyo. He has been in comedic roles before. Not sure if he has done his military service. His father is the CEO of LG Innotek.


Although I’ve seen South and North related TV shows and films before this one feels very different as it has a comedic aspect and the story is very well written with more than one meaning.

The film did go into a small number of cultural differences between the South and North. They did seem to learn from each other regarding each other’s good points.

While it is a comedy film I think there is a more serious part of the film seeing the South and North work together on a common goal and they all were in agreement that they look forward to unification.

The best moments of the film were the animal scenes in North Korea and the German translation in South Korea. These scenes were just so well done and very memorable moments.

This film couldn’t have been made by any other country as the scenarios just don’t exist.

One of the best Korean films I have ever seen, I will give it 5/5. It is a must-see movie, great for family holiday viewing.


2022-12-19T23:42:25+00:0019 December 2022|Review South Korea|

The Secret House

Secret House (비밀의 집) is a 124-episode South Korean soap-opera style show that aired between 11 April through 10 October 2022.


Lawyer Woo Ji Hwan, who comes from a poor family, goes against a rich family to seek revenge for the dreadful things they did to his mother who is suffering from dementia. He discovers many life-changing secrets along the way including revelations about his past.


Seo Ha Joon (서하준) plays Woo Ji Hwan
He was the main character in the show which some have said to see a male leased is unusual for a daily soap. It looks as though he was the main driving force behind the scenes too. The media tried to make a big deal of a recent controversial event the actor went through but fans wasn’t having it. He has been in soaps more than any other shows.

Lee Young Eun (이영은) plays Baek Joo Hong
She has been in a large variety of soaps, regular TV shows and movies, I haven’t seen her in any other of her productions.  She won the New Star Award at the SBS Drama Awards in 2007.

Jung Heon (김정헌) plays Nam Tae Hyung
He is an actor and model and appeared in a number of soap opera’s and TV shows, plus some movies.  I’ve not seen him in any other productions.

Kang Byul (강별) plays Nam Tae Hee
She appeared in Rooftop Prince, one of my favourite Korean shows, but I do not recall her in it but it was just a support role. She has played in 3 other soap type shows and a variety of regular shows.
She hasn’t updated her social media since 2019 and it looks as though her Instagram page has been deleted.

Lee Seung Yeon (이승연) plays Ham Sook Jin
An actress and talk show host who has had a lot of experience.  She won third place in the Miss Korea beauty pageant and was South Korea’s representative to the 1993 Miss World pageant, she ended up in the top ten.


There was something about this soap opera that just didn’t click, maybe it was just COVID making it difficult to film and keep things together.

The storyline was good, plenty of twists and turns. However, I don’t think there was enough content within that story to keep the pace going for the first 80% of the show.

At first I got the perceptions that the acting just wasn’t that good. Some actors just stood there like wooden planks and didn’t have much to contribute, such as Jo Yoo Shin.There was the nurse of the grandfather, played by Bang Eun Hee, she played an odd character who seemed to periodically talk to the camera to give commentary on what was happing on the show. Then I thought, well, maybe, the directing was pretty bad. It was difficult to pin point.

So, the musical score. There was little of someone singing the end theme, it was more dramatic like western soaps. However, the music was over dramatic for some scenes, or there was a gap when people were staring into space before the closing sequence happened. Kind of odd.

There were the usual product placements through the series, mostly the same brand of health supplements seen in other soaps. Also, some kind of vibrating bed and a food company where they send you the ingredients then make at home.

Overall, I did enjoy the show though. Certainly a memorable soap opera. It’s tough to score as some parts were a little dull but others were outstanding.  So, I will be coward and don’t score it at all, just watch it.


2022-11-30T05:10:21+00:0030 November 2022|Review South Korea|

Alienoid Movie Review

Alienoid (외계+인 1부) is a Korean science fiction movie that was released in July 2022 and received great reviews by fans.


Chaotic situations occur when a time door opens between the late Goryeo dynasty and the present day when aliens appear. Someone wants to seize the legendary divine sword in the Goryeo period.

This is part one of two films, the second of which will be released in 2023.

The movie is 2 hours 22 minutes in duration.


I’ve not seen the main cast in other productions but many have, some for which they saw the movie in the first place.

Ryu Joon Yeol (류준열) as Mu Reuk

Kim Tae Ri (김태리) as Yi An
We did see this actress in another SciFi film called Space Sweepers

Kim Woo Bin (김우빈) as Thunder
Thunder is the car/computer in the film.


This film is completely bonkers, in a good way.

This film had everything in it; UFOs, time travel, drama, comedy, wuxia-style fight scenes, shape-shifting robots, flying time travelling talking car, sleeper aliens planted in human brains and plenty of CGI. There wasn’t a single boring moment in the film, something was happening every minute. With so much going on a lot of credit must go not only to the actors but everyone behind the scenes, it must have been difficult to execute.

There is a good chance that any SciFi enthusiast will love it.

The negative for me was the movie moved so quickly it was quite confusing at times. Some commented that they thought the producers tried to squeeze so much in within the time allowed. I wondered if I had just missed some key elements of the plot. If at all possible I would recommend watching it at the cinema.

Asian movies always score lower points on Internet Movie Database, so it didn’t score well there but did better on Asian review sites and I agree with the latter. Can’t wait for part 2 to come out next year. It received a “critics pick” from the New York Times. I will give this movie 4.5 out of 5.


Where To Watch

As I write this I’m unaware that it’s on any of the usual online services. You can, however, check out your local cinema listings, it is playing here in Vancouver, Canada in selected theatres.


2022-09-14T22:52:26+00:0014 September 2022|Review South Korea|

The Outlaws Movie Review

The Outlaws (범죄도시) is a Korean action movie that was released on 3rd October 2017.


The movie is based on real events in 2007 named the “Heuksapa Incident”. For a summary of this event please go to Korea JoongAng Daily.

The story is about a turf war between a local gang that runs Garibong-dong in Guro District, Seoul, and the Heuksapa gang from Yanbian, China. The Chinese gang use brutal methods and make a move to take over.


Ma Dong Seok (마동석) plays Ma Suk Do
He is the central character and adds much-needed comedy to the film. He is also one of the most popular actors in Korea. Known also by Don Lee, his nationality is American; before acting he was a personal trainer, he lived in Ohio, attended the Columbus State Community College then moved back to Korea. He made his Hollywood debut in Marvel’s Eternals.

Yoon Kye Sang (윤계상) plays Jang Chen
He is an actor and singer, he started his career in 1999 with the K-pop band g.o.d. He won the Best New Actor Award in 2005.


The movie appeared to be very popular as they have released a sequel, called The Roundup, and planning a third movie.

If it hadn’t been for the entertaining Don Lee I might have given up on this movie before the halfway point.

The violence in the movie was continuous and relentless, in fact, after a while, it became a little tedious. Even the police were violent with each other at some points. The light relief came from Don Lee, very dry sense of humour, which broke up the monotony.

The story was kind of typical for a gangster movie. Lots of fights and smashing up people and places. Evidently, it was filmed in Seoul, maybe all the seedy areas that you wouldn’t see in soap operas.

The film won 12 out of 14 awards which is amazing. I notice the awards were mainly “Best Actor”, “Best New Director”, and “Best Supporting Actor”.

So, what did I think of it? It was ok. Not really my thing. More on violence than story, I would prefer the other way round. I will give it a generous 3 out of 5.

Where To See It

Prime Video (not in Canada by the looks of it). Viki and Tubi.


2022-08-06T05:05:26+00:006 August 2022|Review South Korea|

Second Husband TV Show Review

Second Husband Korean TV Show ReviewThis is my “Second Husband” TV Show Review.

Second Husband (두번째 남편) is a South Korean daily drama that aired between 9th August 2021 thru 4 April 2022.


The story revolves around Bong Seon Hwa. Going through a tough childhood she was bought up by her grandmother. She fell in love with Moon Sang Hyeok and was in a common-law relationship with him. They had a baby together. He had an affair and then married the evil Yoon Jae Kyeong who started to murder people and become involved in multiple scandals.

Please visit the Official MBC Second Husband website.


There are too many cast members to mention here but I will list the top ones from my perspective.

Uhm Hyun Kyung (엄현경)
Popular actress with a good track record of shows she has appeared on. The last time I saw her was on A Man in a Veil, now she has jumped ship from KBS to MBC to be the lead actress in Second Husband. She won an MBC award for her performance in this show.

Cha Seo Won (차서원)
A young actor from Busan appeared in numerous shows before but Second Husband is the first I have seen him in. He plays the new love interest for Seon Hwa, I understood he is dating Uhm Hyun Kyung – but just a rumour. He won an MBC award for his performance in this show.
“Study with me” YouTube video

Oh Seung Ah (오승아)
Talented singer and actress, she plays the evil Jae Kyeong. I understand she is the main vocalist for a group called Rainbow. She has appeared in other soap-style dramas before, this is not the first time she has played an evil character.
On “King of Masked Singer” YouTube video

Han Ki Woong (한기웅)
He has appeared in numerous TV dramas but this appears to be one of his first as the main character. He plays a more “little boy lost” character who is misled but certain people especially when there is money involved. I have seen him before in “Love to the End”. He played his part well here, a slightly downcast character even though in real life he seems very jolly.

Ji Soo Won (지수원)
She delivered a great performance as the wife who has been trying to get revenge for 30 years, she is very popular with a long list of roles. I have not seen her in other shows.

Kim Hee Jung (김희정)
I can’t believe how busy this actress is. I saw her play an evil character in A Man in a Veil.  She then performed in 6 other shows before going on to Second Husband. Then, is now in two other shows. I thought her role in Second Husband was a bit subdued and the character could have developed more, however, I think that was down to the director, producers and writers.  She is now in KBS soap Bravo, My Life.

Great performances by all the actors, it’s not easy being on a daily show.

Second Husband TV Show Review

The show was originally contracted for 120 episodes but since it was so popular it was extended by 30 to 150. Actually, there was a 151st episode which was just a “best moments of the show”. The show was broadcast on MBC, Monday to Friday, from 19:15 to 19:50.

It had all the elements of a typical Korean daily drama. Crazy mothers. People are supposedly dead but returning again. Revenge. Evil rich people. A gap in time between the storyline, for example – Love To The End had 6 years, A Man in a Veil had 5 years, and Second Husband had about 4 years. Cute child. Lots of Soju was consumed. Quite a few product placements, first a health supplement up to episode 120 and then a food delivery service for the rest. Pretending to be someone else. Memory loss after an accident.

The show had dramatic incidental music without words, on the whole. They had slightly different versions of that music, probably about 5 I think I counted. The album from the show was released on 16 April 2022, singles have released dates prior to that. I did note that the show and album included Trot music!
More music info here

The story kept going despite the longevity of the show, additional stories were included when it was extended. Some reviewers I noticed was complaining about the additions which made the story slow. I thought it was ok though. There were a couple of hints in the early episodes about a couple of the characters but one of them at least was done purposely to mislead or surprise the audience later.

My only criticism was the character of Seo Jun. I’m not sure if it was the actor not just getting into the role or the writers just didn’t explore his background. He seemed to be at home when he was part of the action but otherwise, the lines he was given weren’t that great.

Cha Seo Won and Uhm Hyun Kyung won the Best Actor and Actress category at the 2021 MBC Drama Awards broadcast on 30 December 2021.

I will give this a 5 out of 5, top marks. I thought this was better than A Man in a Veil. So far, this is my favourite daily melodrama.

Where Can I Watch

This can be seen on Viki.


2022-06-23T21:01:11+00:008 June 2022|Review South Korea|

LUCA The Beginning Review

L.U.C.A. The Beginning (루카: 더 비기닝) is a South Korean TV show that was broadcast on tvN between 1 Feb and 9 Mar 2021.


LUCA ran for 12 episodes of just over an hour each.

Ji Oh has superpowers but whenever he uses them most of his memories go away. He is chased by a mysterious sect who want to bring him home to perform further experiments in order to duplicate and clone his species.

A younger Ji Oh had spent a day in Gu Reum’s home but the day after her parents vanished. When Gu Reum grows up and becomes a detective she is determined to find out what happened to her family.


Even though the titles are familiar I’ve not seen any of the productions the actors have starred in.

Kim Rae Won (김래원) as Ji Oh
A popular actor mainly for TV rather than film work. He will be starring in a 2022 production called “The Police Station Next to Fire Station”.

Lee Da Hee (이다희) as Gu Reum
She is a model, singer, television and film actress. She is better known for her TV performances.

Kim Sung Oh (김성오) as Lee Son
A very popular actor starring in many TV and film productions, he also directed a movie called Warikkang.

Summary – Spoilers

Other people who have reviewed this drama are more or less in agreement that after episode 8 the storyline became much worse.

A group of mad scientists made Ji Oh in a laboratory, it was linked to a religious sect that used the followers to carry the clone babies until birth. A government agency was also linked to the experiments. They wanted to create a race of superior beings with the most powerful parts from animals. With Ji Oh on the run they wanted him back, to obtain his embryos. The sect would go to any length to get him back.

There was a soap opera element to this drama going on in the background. Woman meets super being, falls in love, has his baby, and so on. Then there is the action side where Ji Oh was being chased all the time and only narrowly escaping each time. The action sequences were done well, very good special effects. There would be most likely too much violence for many people in this show. Probably the lack of action and more romance put some people off the drama, after episode 8.

The ending is another story, it was a little bizarre, but left the series on a cliffhanger about a possible return. I think I was hoping for a happy ending but giving the way the script was going it was most likely impossible. I think it’s best to put this drama to sleep at this point. I did enjoy it though.

I will rate it 7/10. That is about average compared to everyone else.

The drama is available on WeTV and Viki. I don’t know what’s on WeTV but Viki procured “behind the scenes” footage which is just as interesting to watch as the drama itself.


2021-10-29T22:18:47+00:0029 October 2021|Review South Korea|