It’s Tuesday, January 15, and that means the rarity of watching Korean actor and martial artist Bruce Khan on screen is a rarity no more with the Netflix release of his latest, Revenger.
Khan plays a man who infiltrates a remote island prison to partake in a deadly game in order to find his family’s murderer. Lee Seung-won makes his directing debut here with Khan returning to the spotlight since Young Man Kang’s The Last Eve and the 2012 KBS2 drama, The Bridal Mask.
I haven’t read the reviews and so like most Westerners who can’t read any Korean reviews for feedback, I’m going into this film albeit blind aside from how impressive the trailers have been in my view.
Khan’s return is one that I feel is wholly worth celebrating since The Last Eve which I still haven’t seen. He represents the kind of raw, electrifying action talent it takes to draw crowds along with the added bonus of seeing him execute his role with dramatic gravitas. And so for this, I was compelled to see if I could galvanize enough people for another compilation piece much like my Anime post earlier this year. The focus? Favorite Korean action movie titles, or favorite action films where kicks are central to the action (Korean or other).
There was a catch however: Think outside the Boyka box! I love me some Undisputed action franchise fervor as much as the next fanboy but any list including the newest Scott Adkins movie in general is pretty much akin to cheating at this stage considering how well known he is to fans of the genre (although I did give one movie a pass for this article, and mainly since a surprising few never saw it in the last 15 years. Shame.).
For what it’s worth, this ultimately gives us a chance to take a gander at other titles that bode just as worthwhile. It’s not a perfect list and doesn’t outline every title, but these were well worth the research and writing.
I decided not to include a lot of well-known titles, save for some worth appreciating at least for this piece. Steve Wang’s Mark Dacascos thriller, Drive, is a film I’ve written and mused about on this website, other websites and on social media more times than I can count. It’s a total no-brainer action classic so I advise hunting it down immediately. Case closed. And, before anyone asks why I, myself, didn’t include Kickboxer reboots in the gallery below either, lemme just stop you right there…
Beyond this point, it’s me, Eoin Friel from The Action Elite, Josh Hurtado from Screen Anarchy, Cesar Alejandro Jr. from Filmsmash, stunt professional Mike Fury, Brad Curran from Kung Fu Kingdom, and (UPDATE) Albert Valentin of World Film Geek (formerly of Kung Fu Cinema) all opining ourselves beneath our respective posters. One other participant managed to cover more than enough bases for a whole guest piece of his own, and you can read his debut at Film Combat Syndicate by clicking here. I’m sure you’ve heard of him.