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#KajoPicks: 10 Korean action dramas you must watch

If you are looking for Korean action dramas to watch, here are 10 of KajoMag’s favourites:

1.Criminal Minds (2017)

Inspired by the American television series Criminal Minds, this Korean action drama stars Lee Joon-gi, Son Hyun-joo, Moon Chae-won, Yoo Sun and Lee Sun-bin.

It follows a group of highly trained profilers in the fictional National Criminal Investigation (NCI Team).

How much action can you expect from this series? Well, first of all it stars Lee Joon-gi who is widely known as for his skills in martial arts.

In this drama, he plays Kim Hyun-joon, a character equivalent to Derek Morgan portrayed by Shemar Moore.

Meanwhile, Son Hyun-joo plays Kang Ki-hyung, the equivalent of Aaron Hotchner (Thomas Gibson).

For those who love Emily Prentiss, don’t worry, Ha Sun-woo (Moon Chae-won) will play the equivalent of this character.

The freakishly ageless JJ or Jennifer Jareau is portrayed by, the Korean remake has Lee Sun-bin as Yoo Min-young.

The team’s genius is Lee Han (Go Yoon) who is similar to Spencer Reid in the American series.

Just like how the American version Criminal Minds cannot live without its Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness), this Korean version has its equivalent character named Nana Hwang (Yoo Sun).

If the crime cases feels familiar, that is because they have been adopted by from the American series.

Watch the trailer here.

2.Two Weeks (2013)

In this Korean action drama, Lee Joon-gi uses his martial art skills to play a small-time gangster Jang Tae-san.

Eight years after going to prison to take the fall for his gang boss, Tae-san is now running a small pawnshop.

One day, his former lover shows up telling that their daughter has been diagnosed with leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant.

Tae-san sees it as an opportunity for him to do something good in his criminal life.

However, things get hard for him when he is framed for the murder of an undercover agent.

While being transported in the police car, it gets into an accident. Tae-san takes the opportunity to escape.

Now, he has to run away from the police and an assassin who is being hired to kill him. Tae-san needs to stay alive and prove his innocence before the bone marrow transplant surgery in two weeks time.

Watch the trailer here.

3.The K2 (2016)

The main character of this Korean action drama is Kim Je-ha (Ji Chang-wook). He is a former military operative stationed in Iraq until he returns to South Korea after being framed for the murder of his lover.

When his skills get noticed by Choi Yoo-jin, Je-ha is hired to work for security agency JSS Security under the codename K2.

His first task? To guard Go Anna (Im Yoon-ah) who is the secret illegitimate daughter of Choi Yoo-jin’s husband, Jang Se-joon.

Je-ha and Anna slowly develop feelings toward each other.

Anna might be the main female character but Song Yoon-ah’s portrayal as Choi Yoo-jin is really convincing.

She is ambitious and ruthless in her plan to have her husband become the President of South Korea so that she can become the First Lady.

During the press conference for the drama, Chang-wook said that The K2 would be his last action drama.

He said, “Among all the projects I have done so far, this was by far the hardest. It was so hard it made me resolve to never do another action drama.”

“I worked out so much for this drama. I practiced a lot of martial arts at action school, and because my character is a former mercenary, I wanted to build muscle too, for a masculine look.”

So if you want to watch a shirtless Chang-wook and him fighting bad guys for the last time, this drama is definitely worth-watching.

4.Healer (2014)

Before Chang-wook starred in The K2, he was in another Korean action drama called Healer (2014).

In this drama, he plays the role of an illegal night courier named Seo Jung-hoo who works under the alias “Healer”.

His goal is to save enough money to buy an uninhabited island off the coast of Panama and to live there alone. It is like every introvert’s dream.

Things change for him when he receives an order to find and protect a girl named Young-shin from being killed.

Viewers can expect it is one of those Korean action dramas in which male lead falls in love with the person he supposed to protect.

In an interview back in 2015, Chang-wook admitted that the action scenes in Healer truly challenged his mental strength.

He said, “Honestly, it is scary. Before jumping off high places, various thoughts run through my mind. What if the cord snaps or how much would I get hurt if I fell down.”

At the same time, he was thankful for his stunt double for the action scenes.

Watch the trailer here.

5.Heartless City (2013)

Yoon Soo-min (Nam Gyu-ri) grew up in an orphanage with Lee Kyung-mi where they treat each other like real sisters.

When Kyung-mi is murdered while undercover, Yoon Soo-min (Nam Gyu-ri) is driven to pick up when she has left.

While searching for Kyung-mi’s murderer in the criminal world, Soo-min falls for the drug lord Jung Shi-hyun (Jung Kyung-ho).

Not a good idea for a undercover agent especially when Shi-hyun is a suspect in Kyung-mi’s murder.

Watch the trailer here.

6.City Hunter (2011)

Want a story that lives by the motto “revenge is a dish best served cold”?

Based on the Japanese manga series of the same name written and illustrated by Tsukasa Hojo, City Hunter (2011) starts with a real-life event called the Rangoon bombing. It took place on Oct 9, 1983 when there was an assassination attempt against the fifth president of South Korea Chun Doo-hwan.

In the actual Rangoon incident, the president survived while 21 were killed, and 46 injured. Three with links to North Korea were hunted down and arrested in connection.

The events that happen in this Korean action drama are fictionalised events following the bombing.

In retaliation for the loss during the bombing, five high ranking South Korean officials plan a covert operation to go into North Korea and kill North Korean agents without the president’s knowledge.

Bodyguards Lee Jin-Pyo and Park Moo-Yul are instructed to gather men to take part in the dangerous mission.

The men are dropped near the North Korean coastline to enter North Korea to carry out their assassinations and are told that a submarine will be waiting for them to take them back to South Korea when they’re done.

So how many ways can you screw up this operation? The five high ranking South Korean public officers, who initiated the covert operation, change their minds while the operation is taking place.

They decide to give up on the 21 special force members taking part in the covert operation.

So when the special force members complete their tasks, they swim into the ocean looking for the submarine to take them back to South Korea.

They spot the submarine waiting for them and attempt to board the submarine.

Instead, a sniper on the submarine kills all of the special forces members except Lee Jin-Pyo – who survives and swims back to South Korea.

Jin-pyo kidnaps Moo-Yul’s baby and raises the baby Lee Yun-seong (Lee Min-ho) in Thailand while training him into an elite soldier.

After many years, he returns to South Korea to avenge his father’s death.

Watch the trailer here.

7.Bad Guys (2014)

This is the Korean version of The Suicide Squad.

When there is a rising number of violent crimes in the area, Detective Oh Gu-tak (Kim Sang-joong) decides to release three convicts from jail to form his crime-fighting team.

In the team, there is Lee Jung-moon (Park Hae-jin), the youngest member of Mensa with a genius IQ of 165 and doctorate degrees in math and philosophy.

But behind his boyish look, Jung-moon is in fact a psychopathic serial killer.

Then there is Pak Un-cheol (Ma Dong-seok), a mob boss who made his way to the top gangster chain in 25 days and is a top dog in prison.

The final member is Jung Tae-soo. He is once a hired hit man who never made a single mistake (in his career as an assassin) but suddenly turns himself in one day.

Watch the trailer here.

8.Last (2015)

Based on the webtoon of the same name by Kang Hyung-kyu, this Korean action drama stars Yoon Kye-sang and Lee Beom-soo.

Kye-sang plays Jang Tae-ho, a successful fund manager. Things turn upside down for him when a seemingly fool-proof financial deal goes horribly wrong, leading to a loss of 35 billion won and his business partner’s death.

While running from loan sharks, he discovers a secret society of homeless people living inside Seoul Station.

Tae-ho is determined to get his life back by finding out what went wrong with his financial deal.

9.Vagabond (2019)

Directed by Yoo In-sik, Vagabond (2019) is one of the highest rated dramas in 2019.

The plot follows the events after a mysterious plane crash kills over 211 civilians including Cha Dal-gun’s (Lee Seung-gi) nephew.

However, his investigation to search for the truth leads him to cases of corruption. That is when he meets Go Hae-ri (Bae Suzy), a covert operative for the National Intelligence Service.

Most actors would go to an action school before starring in any Korean action dramas including Seung-gi and Suzy.

Speaking about the action scenes in the drama, the director revealed in an interview, “All the actors really went through a lot. The martial arts team took on the role of action coordinator. Dangerous stunts were done by stunt doubles. And the less dangerous ones were done by the actual actors themselves. But the scene in which the main character jumps off a building and the scene in which he is hanging off a car were actually done by Lee Seung-gi himself.”

Watch the trailer here.

Korean action dramas
Vagabond, one of the must-watch Korean action dramas.

10.Iris (2009)

We cannot talk about Korean action dramas without mentioning Iris (2009). It has a reported budget of over 20 billion won. This makes it one of the most expensive Korean dramas to make.

The drama follows two elite National Security System (NSS) agents, Hyun-jun (Lee Byung-hun) and Sa-woo (Jeong Jun-ho) falling for fellow agent Seung-hee (Kim Tae-hee).

Hyun-jun is sent on a solo mission to Hungary where he is betrayed by another fellow agent. Seung-hee comes to his rescue but they both are involved in a car explosion.

In the midst of the chaos, they both got separated and are misled to believe that other person is dead.

Meanwhile, Hyun-jun is saved by an unknown voice and from there he learns about the secret society of “IRIS”.

One year later, Hyun-jun returns to South Korea to seek revenge. During this time, the Korean peninsular is set to reunify.

In the same time, the group “IRIS” is going all the way to stop the reunification.

Watch the trailer here.

Do you have any other Korean action dramas that should be on this list? Let us know in the comment box.

KajoPicks: 10 Korean office romance dramas you need to watch

While an office romance can lead to a lifetime commitment, some cases can result in uncomfortable situations for themselves as well as their coworkers.

In the fantasy world of Korean dramas, an office romance is a recurring theme for the main fictional couple. Additionally, the romance usually occurs between a male boss and his employee.

Here are 10 Korean office romance dramas you need to watch:

1.Strong Woman Bong Soon (2017)

Do Bong-soon (Park Bo-young) was born with superhuman strength which was hereditary and passed along only to the women in her family.

Her dream is to create a video game with herself as the main character.

Thanks to her strength, she lands a job as a bodyguard to Ahn Min-hyuk (Park Hyung-sik), the CEO of a gaming company.

As Bong Soon protects her boss from anonymous threats and stalking, they slowly develop romantic relationship between them.

Overall, Strong Woman Bong Soon is entertaining to watch. It has nice balance of romance, thriller scenes and a handful of comedic reliefs in between.

Watch the trailer here.

2.What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim? (2018)

Whats Wrong With Secretary Kim

When a highly skilled secretary quits her job after almost 10 years, what would the boss think?

Lee Young-joon (Park Seo-jun)’s first assumption is that his secretary Kim Mi-so (Park Min-young) was in love with him.

However, reality is that Young-joon’s narcissism made life difficult around him, especially his secretary.

While waiting for her resignation notice to end, will Mi-so change her decision and decide to stay with Young-joon as they slowly fall in love with each other?

Due to Seo-joon being in this drama, he was dubbed the master of romantic comedy by the Korean press.

Watch the trailer here.

3.Jugglers (2014)

Here is another office romance drama between a secretary and her boss.

It circles around Jwa Yoon-yi (Baek Jin-hee), a skilled secretary who is adaptable and knows how to get by in any situation.

As every secretary in a Korean drama needs cold-hearted boss, Choi Daniel plays Nam Chi-won who is the director of a media company.

While the storyline might be cliched, it is still interesting to watch Jin-hee works in comedic series. Her character in this drama is a far departure from her villainous role in period drama Empress Ki.

Watch the trailer here.

4.She Was Pretty (2015)

If you are interested in what goes behind a magazine company, this Korean drama is the one to watch.

Park Seo-joon plays Ji Sung-joon, Korea’s youngest deputy chief editor. He falls in love with Kim Hye-jin (Hwang Jung-eum) who works as the junior editor in the company.

As it turns out, Hye-jin is Sung-joon’s childhood best friend.

The office romance turns out to be a love triangle when Kim Shin-hyuk (Choi Si-won) who works as the senior office romance also falls for Hye-jin.

We warn you; She Was Pretty suffers from Second Lead Syndrome. Korean drama enthusiasts coined the phrase ‘Second Lead Syndrome’ for dramas in which the second lead character is way better than the main male lead.

Watch the trailer here.

5.Gogh, The Starry Night (2016)

Her hot -tempered boss is tough on her but he is actually secretly in love with her.

This Korean office romance drama surrounds Kwon Yuri (Go Ho) who works in an advertising company. Her boss Kang Tae-ho (Kim Young-kwang) hardly praise Go Ho for her hard works.

Things start to change when her ex-boyfriend Hwang Ji-hoon (Lee Ji-hoon) joins in the company and Go Ho is placed under him.

The story goes on with these two men trying to win Go Ho’s heart.

Watch the trailer here.

6.Introverted Boss (2017)

Despite his introverted character, Eun Hwan-ki (Yeon Woo-jin) is the CEO of a public relations company. He hides behind his image of a cold and prickly boss.

Little that his employees know is that Hwan-ki is extremely shy and very sensitive.

Meanwhile, Chae Ro-woon (Park Hye-soo) looks extroverted and has excellent communication skills at work. At home, she is very quiet and introverted.

Like many storyline in any Korean dramas, both lead characters usually have secrets which connect them in the past.

Watch the trailer here.

7.Cunning Single Lady (2014)

Would you hire your ex-wife as an intern in your company? After being the sole-breadwinner in the family while her husband struggles to start a business, Na Ae-ra (Lee Min-jung) had enough.

She hits rock bottom when she secretly suffers from a miscarriage. Ae-ra then divorces Cha Jung-woo (Joo Sang-wook) after four years of marriage.

Three years pass, Jung-woo becomes a wealthy successful businessman. Meanwhile, Ae-ra is still paying debts that she collected during their marriage.

Upono learning that her ex-husband as become a success, Ae-ra becomes an intern at his company to win him back. Jung-woo believes his ex-wife only wanted his money, but Ae-ra only wants an apology from Jung-woo.

There is a lot of emotions going through this drama and life could have been easier in a K-drama if people just talk about their feelings.

Watch the trailer here.

8.Touch Your Heart (2019)

Looking at the chemistry between Yoo In-na and Lee Dong-wook in the drama Goblin, viewers must be dying to watch them acting together.

Touch Your Heart (2019) manages to bring out their on-screen chemistry again, this time both as the main leads.

In-na plays Oh Jin-shim, a top actress who has a scandal that damages her career leaving her jobless for two years.

In order to get a role in an upcoming movie, she agrees to work as a secretary to a lawyer named Kwon Jung-rok (Lee Dong-wook).

Jung-rok’s uptight character and Jin-shim’s carefree attribute makes the office romance between them entertaining to watch.

Watch the trailer here.

9.My Secret Romance (2017)

What if your new boss turns out to be the man you had a one night stand with? Can you imagine how awkward could it be?

Lee Yoo-mi (Song Ji-eun) is a nutritionist who works at the company cafeteria where Cha Jin-wook (Sung Hoon) is the director.

Three years prior, they met in a resort where they unexpectedly spent the night together. However, Yoo-mi disappeared in the morning, leaving Jin-wook perplexed and disappointed.

The drama between them unfold as Jin-wook thought Yoo-mi’s younger brother was a result of their one night stand.

My Secret Romance (2017) is interesting to watch since it features some uncommon themes such as the stigma surrounds one night stands and the career of nutritionists.

Watch the trailer here.

10.Encounter (2018)

If you are tired of office romance Korean dramas where the male lead is the boss falling in love with his female employee, this is the series for you.

Cha Soo-Hyun (Song Hye-Kyo) is the daughter of a politician and the CEO of a hotel. After she graduates from college, she marries the son from a family who runs a large company.

Her marriage is a marriage of convenience for her ambitious politician father. Her husband though had an affair, after which they divorced.

Meanwhile, Kim Jin-Hyeok (Park Bo-Gum) is an ordinary young man who tries to find a regular job. Jin-Hyeok decides to take a trip to Cuba where he meets Cha Soo-Hyun by accident.

When he goes back to Korea, he receives a phone call from a hotel. Prior to leaving for Cuba, he had an interview at the hotel for a job.

He learns that he is now hired and his vacation romance is the CEO.

Whilst it is okay for a male boss to have a relationship with his younger female employee, this drama shows how society reacts when a female boss dates a younger male staff.

Watch the trailer here.

What to know about the real story behind Korean movie Silenced (2011)

Starring Gong Yoo and Jung Yu-mi, Silenced or Dogani is a 2011 South Korean drama film.

The plot is based on real-life events of young deaf students sexually assaulted by faculty members for over five years in the early 2000s.

Here what you need to know about the real story behind Silenced (2011):

1.The movie was inspired by Gong Ji-young’s novel The Crucible

The title of the novel is taken from Arthur Miller’s play of the same name which was based on the real-life events leading to the witch trials of Salem in 1692.

In order to write the story, Ji-young visited the school more than 10 times. She also interviewed those connected with the case, including the victims.

2.How the sex abuse came to light

Gwangju Inhwa School was first established on Apr 17, 1961. Initially, it was founded as the Jeonnam Deaf-Mute Welfare Centre before becoming a junior high school.

Then in 1993, they opened the senior high school section.

Just like in Silenced, a teacher came out to report on the sexual abuse. In 2005, the newly appointed teacher alerted human rights groups. He disclosed that the headmaster had raped a girl in his office while an administrative officer groped a 22-year-old student.

Overall, six teachers were accused as nine victims came forward. Even though the number of victims were believed to be higher, most victims refused to testify out of fear.

The maddening part was that half of the accused were freed immediately because their cases’ statutes of limitation had expired.

At first, the court sentenced the headmaster, the son of the school founder to a five-year term in prison. But the court later reduced the sentence for the headmaster, giving him probation and a 3 million won fine. The rest also received reduced sentences.

The worst thing after the trial was that the victims were ousted from the school. Meanwhile, the school kept 22 students while receiving 1.8 billion won in state subsidies annually.

Some of the teachers who were accused of the sex crimes even returned to the school to teach.

The teacher who complained about the abuse was subsequently fired from his job.

3.The school is also accused of starving their students to death.

While the school was accused of sex crimes since early 2000s, the crime against students reportedly goes back as early as 1964.

A former teacher came forward claiming two students were abused to death and buried them secretly.

According to Kim Yeong-il, the first case took place in October 1964. The vice principal reportedly starved a seven-year-old orphan boy and later beat him to death.

Together with a teacher, the vice principal buried him on a mountain about 7 kilometers from the school.

Six months later, another child died. Kim alleged that the 6-year-old was also starved by the teachers there. The poor starved girl even resorted to eating wallpaper. She was then killed by a caretaker who threw her off a building.

Kim reported both cases to the police in the 1960s but since there were no dead bodies, there were no cases against the school. After he reported the cases, the vice principal and principal (both brothers!!!) locked Kim up and beat him.

Other alumni claimed the son of the school’s board of directors forced two female students to undress and drew nude paintings of them in 1975.

4.The school where the crimes took place is now closed.

Two months after Silenced came out on cinema, Gwangju City officially closed the school in November 2011.

At the time of closure, 22 students were attending the school, 57 stayed at the dorm while 55 received training. All of the students were then transferred out to other schools.

Silenced (2011) caused an uproar among the Korean public and eventually put pressure on politicians.

In October 2011, the South Korean parliament passed the Dogani Bill which eliminated the statute of limitations for sex crimes against children under 13 and disabled women.

Additionally, the bill increased the maximum penalty to life in prison.

Silenced Movie
The screenshot of Silenced’s trailer from Youtube.

5.Ji-young was a student activist in the 1980s and her past has inspired her writings.

In the novel, Ji-young portrays the male protagonist as someone who gives up his fight for justice and returns to his hometown in Seoul.

Ji-young’s past as a student activist during the 1980s inspired most of her writing style. She told The Korea Times in 2009 that if she wrote the novel at a younger age, she might have portrayed the male protagonist as a betrayer.

Since she was writing the book in her 40s, she portrayed him as a tortured human being.

In her home country, Ji-young was given a lot of ‘attention’ by the Korean press, and it wasnot for her writing.

Her personal life – she has been married three times and her children have different fathers – was apparently more shocking than the issues she highlighted in her works.

Ji-young’s other notable work is Our Happy Time in which she addressed the issue of capital punishment. The novel was adapted into the film Maundy Thursday.

Watch the trailer here.

Top 18 Hollywood movies to watch in 2020

Following KajoMag’s past new year tradition, we are coming up with our top 18 Hollywood movie to watch this 2020.

Before we get down to our list, we have to warn you that our list is full of sequels and remakes.

Here our Top 18 Hollywood movies to watch in the year 2020:

1.Bad Boys For Life (January 17, 2020)

As much as we are looking forward to this third and final installment in the Bad Boys trilogy, we are a little worried about how it might turn out as the original director Michael Bay is no longer on board.

Looking on the bright side, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence are back to reprise their roles as Mike Lowrey and Marcus Burnett respectively.

They both reunite in this movie when a mob boss, whose brother they defeated years ago, sets on revenge against them.

2.Birds of Prey (February 7, 2020)

This superhero movie follows Harley Quinn as she joins forces with Black Canary, Helena Bertinelli and Ranee Montoya to save Cassandra Cain from Gotham City crime lord Black Mask.

After the events of Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn left the Joker and became a vigilante.

When Black Mask places a hit on a young girl named Cassandra Cain, criminals in Gotham City turn the city upside down to look for her. And that is when Harley Quinn comes in to rescue the day.

3.A Quiet Place: Part II (March 20, 2020)

Paramount Pictures released this for the synopsis, “Following the deadly events at home, the Abbot family must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realise that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.”

This sequel is written and directed by John Krasinki with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe reprising their roles.

4.Mulan (March 27, 2020)

So what if there is no Mushu in this live action adaptation of Disney’s 1998 animated film of the same name? The original folklore “The Ballad of Mulan” which the movie is based on in the first place also did not have Mushu.

We are just thankful that Disney did not white-wash the movie as it boasts a host of heavyweight Chinese actors like Donny Yen, Jet Li, Gong Li besides its lead, Liu Yifei as Mulan.

5.No Time To Die (April 2020)

In this 25th installment of the James Bond Series, No Time To Die will have the world’s famous spy being forced out of retirement.

Daniel Craig as Bond retires to Jamaica after the events of Spectre. His retirement did not last long as Felix Leiter, his friend/CIA officer asks his help to look for a missing scientist.

Craig himself confirmed that this would be his final appearance as Bond.

6.The New Mutants (April 3, 2020)

Based on the Marvel Comics team of the same name, this is an upcoming horror film in the superhero genre.

It circles around a group of young mutants held in a secret facility fight to save themselves.

So how many who are the main mutants in the movie? We have Illyana Rasputin/Magik who uses teleportation discs to travel, Rahne Sinclair/Wolfsbane who is able to turn into a wolf.

Additionally, there is Sam Guthrie/ Cannonball who can propel himself into the air and is invulnerable while doing so and Roberto da Costa/Sunspot who can manipulate solar energy.

7.Black Widow (May 1, 2020)

We all know that Black Widow aka Natasha Romanoff died in the last Avengers movie, so what’s with this solo film?

This movie follows the Black Widow confronting her past following the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016).

However, what we all need to ask is how will this movie fit in with the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe?

8.Fast & Furious 9 (May 22, 2020)

Will there be enough Fast & Furious movies for the world to watch? Apparently not. This ninth installment of the movie will be starring Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, John Cena, Helen Mirren, Charlize Theron and Michael Rooker.

If you haven’t seen the trailer, that is because it will be released on Jan 31, 2020.

9.Wonder Woman 1984 (June 5, 2020)

After watching 2017’s amazing Wonder Woman movie (twice!), we really hoped there would be a sequel.

Thankfully our prayers were answered with Gal Gadot and Chris Pine returning to their roles and Patty Jenkins coming back as the director.

We have so many questions after watching Wonder Woman 1984’s trailer that we can’t wait to have them answered.

For now all we know is that Diana will be facing Maxwell Lord (played by Pedro Pascal of The Mandalorian and GOT fame) and Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) in this sequel.

10.Top Gun: Maverick (June 26, 2020)

How long does it take to have a sequel for an iconic movie? For Top Gun (1986), apparently it takes more than 30 years.

Tom Cruise reprises his role as Maverick, now one of the Navy’s top aviators. Even if you belong to the younger generation, we bet that you have heard about Top Gun from your parents or older siblings.

Now this is the year to see what is the buzz about. Will the sequel make so much waves that we will start seeing people rock the Aviator Ray-ban sunglasses again?

11.Ghostbusters: Afterlife (July 10, 2020)

Unlike the 2016 reboot, this movie is the direct sequel to Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989).

The plot goes that after being evicted from their home, two children and their single mother move to a farm in Summerville, Oklahoma inherited from their late grandfather.

The children then discover their family’s link to the original Ghostbusters and the secret legacy that their grandfather left behind.

12.Tenet (July 17, 2020)

We only have one reason looking forward to watch this movie and that is Christopher Nolan. No other reason but Christopher Nolan.

Directed by Nolan, the movie stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki and Dimple Kapadia.

The movie circles around a secret agent who is tasked with preventing World War III through time travel.

Nolan and another time travel movie (Think Memento and Interstellar)? Just prepare to crunch your brain again.

13.Jungle Cruise (July 24, 2020)

Based on the Disney theme park attraction of the same name, Jungle Cruise is an adventure movie set during the early 20th century.

The story starts with a riverboat captain named Frank who takes a scientist and her brother on a mission into a jungle to find the Tree of Life which they believe possesses healing powers.

Their obstacles? Dangerous wild animals and a competing German expedition.

14.Morbius (July 31, 2020)

A lot of people were saying Jared Leto failed as the Joker in Suicide Squad (2016), will he fail again as Michael Morbius?

After trading DC Comics for Marvel, Leto in this movie plays a scientist suffering from a rare blood disease who attempts to cure himself.

Morbius will be the second film in Sony’s Marvel Universe after Venom.

15.The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It (September 11, 2020)

Movies to watch in 2020 1

Some said the title of this third The Conjuring movie sounds like a comedic parody of the film and we kinda agree.

Unfortunately director James Wan could not return to direct the movie due to other work commitments, but he is co-producing it.

The Curse of La Llorona director Michael Chaves sits on the director’s chair for this one with Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga reprising their roles as Ed and Lorraine Warren.

Instead of a haunted house, the couple turn their focus on a man on trial for murder who claimed he was possessed.

16.Venom 2 (October 2, 2020)

With Woody Harrelson making a brief appearance as the supervillain Cletus Kasady at the end of the first film, we knew that there would be a potential sequel.

Tom Hardy is confirmed to reprise his role as Eddie Brock/Venom, an investigative journalist who is the host of an alien symbiote.

Expect another sequel of this movie as Hardy had already confirmed to star in a third Venom movie.

17.The Eternals (November 6, 2020)

When you think Hollywood had already got over superheroes movies, here comes the 25th film in the MCU.

It is a superhero movie based on the Marvel Comics race of the same name.

The movie follows the Eternals, an immortal alien race created by the Celestials, protect humanity from their evil counterparts called the Deviants.

Previously in MCU movies, the Celestials actually are the ones who utilized the Infinity Stones as a means of power against lesser life forms.

Memorably in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1, Peter Quill aka Star-Lord’s father is actually a Celestial.

18.Godzilla versus Kong (November 20, 2020)

This is not the first time Godzilla encounters King Kong in a battle; it happened before in a Japanese movie way back in 1962.

Besides, this will be the fourth Godzilla film to be completely produced by a Hollywood studio.

What happen to Earth and humankind when these two legendary monsters collide in a battle?

KajoPicks: Five K-Dramas about journalism

Compared to medical or law dramas, journalism might is a fairly under-represented career field to feature in TV.

A brief google search will show a lot of English-language TV shows about journalism that just couldn’t last or make it on the international market (except Murphy Brown).

Often, in movies or drama, journalists are sometimes depicted as desperate fact twisters lurking in the sidelines.

Apart from that, the lifestyle as a journalist is usually portrayed in a negative light.

From low payment, to being overworked and underappreciated, it is still considered a noble profession if you are keen in revealing the truth.

There are a lot of great K-drama about journalism. But here are our top five picks for Kajo readers.


The reason why I got hooked on Argon is because of the realistic way the K-drama depicts the life of a journalist.

Talented but underappreciated, underpaid, overworked and always on the verge of tears as the deadline approaches.

In the world of twisted facts and information overload, Argon highlights the importance of being ethical as a journalist and the dedication put in delivering the truth.

Watch the trailer here.


The media is a powerful force and this K-drama about journalism highlights it.

The conflict in the drama started due to a simple fact twisted by a famous reporter, thus changing the life of a person dramatically.

And due to the choice of words used to report the news, the drama shows that the influence of the media is powerful in changing people’s lives, which is why it is held in awe and revulsion.

In Pinocchio, it highlights the profession of a reporter and the importance of integrity in journalism.

When faced with the choice of sensationalizing a story or telling the truth, Pinocchio highlights how important it is to stay truthful while on the job.

Watch the trailer here.


Healer is a spy thriller that involving a mysterious spy, a reckless reporter and a famous veteran journalist.

Due to an event that happened years ago, the trio collaborate to unveil the truth while dealing with the conflicts happening around them.

While the plot of the drama might be a bit too predictable, the action scenes in this drama are satisfying to watch.


Korean drama journalsim

The lead character Go Hye-ran is the type of woman that everyone will openly hate but secretly admire.

As a famous news anchor, she seems to have it all. Fame, career, a loving husband and a stable home. But underneath all that glam, she is hiding a dark secret about her past.

Misty is a crime thriller K-drama about journalism as the main character struggles to unveil the truth when she is accused of her lover’s death.

The drama follows Go Hye-ran in how she still manages to stay professional as a news anchor while uncovering the truth about her deceased lover.

Watch the trailer here.

All About Eve

If you are into plot twist and drama, then All About Eve is for you.

It revolves around the lives of two TV news reporters competing for top position at the network that they work for.

Aired in 2000, this K-drama about journalism might be almost 20 years old, but it is still a good drama for you to binge-watch.

Watch the trailer here.

#KajoPicks: 5 movies inspired by the Gwangju Uprising you should watch

In 1980, South Korean president Chun Do-hwan’s military rule led to a confrontation in a city of Gwangju, the southern region of South Korea. The confrontation would later be known as the Gwangju Uprising, May 18 Gwangju Democratisation Movement or May 18 Democratic Uprising by UNESCO.

From May 18 to 27, 1980, Gwangju residents took up arms by robbing local armories and police stations.

The uprising started when local Chonnam University students started to demonstrate against the government’s martial law.

About 200 students gathered at the the gate of the university and were opposed by 30 paratroopers on the morning of May 18.

By evening, the government dispatched 686 soldiers to the scene as the conflict broadened to more than 2,000 protesters.

Witnesses reported the soldiers attacked both protesters and onlookers.

As the conflict escalated, the army started to fire on civilians, killing an unaccounted number on May 20.

The protesters then began to seize weapons from police stations and armories, then attacking the army.

By May 21, the soldiers left and citizens took over the city. On May 26, the army returned to retake the city. After less than two hours of operations, the army arrested 1,740 rioters.

Like many riots or protests around the world, there is no universally accepted number of the death toll during the Gwangju Uprising.

The official figures stand at 144 civilians, 22 troops and four policeman killed. However based on foreign press, the actual death toll could be up to 2,000.

After South Korean President Moon Jae-in took over office in May 2017, he vowed to investigate the government’s role during the Gwangju Uprising.

Later it was revealed for the first time that the army had used a helicopter to fire on civilians.

In 2018, the South Korean government formally apologised for the rape of women by troops during the Gwangju Uprising.

A formal investigation by the government confirmed there were 17 cases of sexual assault, including against teenagers and a pregnant woman.

The Gwangju Uprising definitely left a dark mark in South Korean history. According to Korea Resource Center, it ignited the floundering pro-democracy movement in Korea culminating in 1987 when the People’s Power movement finally broke the power of the South Korean military.

With a number of references and portrayal in popular culture, South Korea’s younger generation will not forget this piece of their history.

So here are KajoMag’s picks of five movies to watch inspired by the Gwangju Uprising:
1.26 Years (2012)

This movie is a fictional story circling around five ordinary people from different backgrounds who come together to kill the person behind the massacre during Gwangju Uprising.

26 years after the massacre in 2006, a sports shooter, a gangster, a policeman, a businessman and head of private security firm plot revenge against the man responsible.

Former president Chun Doo-hwan is believed to given the order to fire on civilians but he is not explicitly named in the movie.

However, the target clearly is referring to Chun.

The main three characters are Kwak Jin-bae (Jin Goo), a gangster who lost his father during the uprising, Shim Mi-jin (Han Hye-jin) a national team shooter and policeman Kwon Jung-kyuk (Im Seul-ong) who lost his family.

2.Peppermint Candy (1999)

After watching this movie, you will never forget the iconic opening scene when the main character Yong-ho faces an oncoming train, screaming “I want to go back again!”

As the movie starts with the suicide of Yong-ho, the story unfolds through flashbacks some of the important events over the past 20 years leading to his death.

Every event in his life coincides with some of the major incidents in South Korean history, including the Gwangju Uprising.

During his flashback to the uprising, Yong-ho is seen performing his mandatory military service. This is when he accidentally shoots and kills a student protester.

It also shows how he becomes traumatised by the shooting incident and later becomes a more brutal and cynical policeman.

Likewise, Yong-ho ends up losing his job in the 1990s, mirroring the real-life impact of the Asian financial crisis.

The movie explores different themes, including how it killed the innocence of those who pulled the triggers during the uprising.

Watch the trailer here.

3.Fork Lane (2017)
Fork Lane 2017

Similar to Peppermint Candy, Fork Lane (2017) follows the story of a soldier trying to cope with his life after Gwangju Uprising.

It tells the story of Kim Gang-il (Uhm Tae-woong), a paratrooper who was sent to suppress the protesters during the demonstration.

After his retirement, he works as a forklift driver. Eventually, he starts to uncover the truth from his past.

4.May 18 (2007)
May 18 film

Most of the protesters during the Gwangju Uprising were not part of the initial protest in front of the university but were acting in retaliation after their loved ones were attacked by the soldiers.

The main character, Min-woo (Kim Sang-kyung) leads a peaceful life with his younger brother Jin-woo (Lee Joon-gi) until the uprising happens.

Angry that his classmate is beaten to death by the military while they are not even college students, Jin-woo leads his friends into the streets to protest.

Meanwhile, Min-woo wants to stop his brother from taking part in the uprising.

This movie shows how the first attack on civilians on May 18 triggers other unassuming citizens to fight for what is right.

5.A Taxi Driver (2017)

While other movies inspired by the Gwangju Uprising are fictional, here is a movie that might be closest to the real event.

The story follows a taxi driver Man-seon (Song Kang-ho) who receives an offer to drive a foreign journalist from Seoul to Gwangju during the uprising.

The character is loosely based on real-life taxi driver Kim Sa-bok whose existence remained out of the public eye until the release of A Taxi Driver. He died of cancer in 1984, four years after the Gwangju events.

Meanwhile, the journalist Peter (Thomas Kretschmann) is based on the life Jurgen Hinzpeter (1937-2016) who filmed and reported on the Gwangju Uprising.

His widow, Edeltraut Brahmstaedt watched the movie with President Moon in 2017. The Blue House later released a statement saying, “The movie shows how a foreign reporter’s efforts contributed to Korea’s democratization, and President Moon saw the film to honor Hinzpeter in respect for what he did for the country.”

The film turned out to be a commercial success and was the second highest grossing film of 2017.

Watch the trailer here.

8 must-watch movies inspired by the Korean Independence Movement

The Korean Independence Movement was a military and diplomatic campaign to achieve the independence of Korea from Japan.

One of the earliest public displays of the resistance took place on March 1, 1919, widely known as The March 1st Movement.

On that day, 33 activists gathered to read out loud the Korean Declaration of Independence. The event subsequently brought together 2 million Koreans, participating in more than 1,500 demonstrations at various locations.

Historians believe The March 1st Movement provided a catalyst for the Korean Independence Movement.

Many Korean independence activists were executed during the resistance. It was only until the end of World War II that the Koreans gained their independence from the Japanese.

Known as Gwangbokjeol (literally translated as “the day the light returned”), the National Liberation Day of Korea is a public holiday celebrated annually on August 15.

It is notable, as it is the only Korean public holiday celebrated by both North and South Korea.

In North Korea, the day is known as Chogukhaebangui nal or “Liberation of the Fatherland Day”.

Over the years, South Korean movie makers have turned to Korean independence movement for inspiration.

Though they are not 100 per cent historically correct, the movies still manage to educate the younger generations about their history as well as to commemorate the sacrifices made by those before them.

For history buffs out there, here are 8 must-watch movies based on the Korean Independence Movement:
1.The Age of Shadows (2016)

Set in the late 1920s, this movie follows a group of Korean Independence Movement members trying to bring explosives into Shanghai to destroy key Japanese facilities in Seoul.

The key resistance figure is Kim Woo-jin (Gong Yoo) who uses his antique shop as a front to smuggle these explosives.

Meanwhile, Korean police captain Lee Jung-chool (Song Kang-ho) has been charged by the residing Japanese government with rooting out resistance members as he is known to sell out his own people to gain favour from the Japanese.

After Jung-chool’s former classmate Kim Jang-ok (Park Hee-soon) who is also a resistance fighter dies, he begins to doubts his loyalty to the Japanese.

So a cat and mouse game begins between the resistance fighters and the Japanese agents who are out to get them.

Watch the trailer here.

Korean Independence movement
Gong Yoo as a resistance figher in The Age of Shadows. Credits: Youtube
2.Assassination (2015)

After The March 1st Movement, many Korean resistance fighters were forced into exile in China.

This movie is set in the year 1933. It was when the resistance fighters in China were trying to organise a fight from .

They find that the highest commander of the Japanese army is going to visit Korea. Hence, they plot an assassination attempt.

However, the only sniper capable to do the job is Ahn Ok-yun (Jun Ji-hyun). She is serving her time in Shanghai prison.

Resistance fighter Yem Sek-jin (Lee Jung-jae) is assigned to rescue her from the prison. Little that the rest of the resistance members know that Sek-jin is a mole who secretly reporting to the Japanese.

Watch the trailer here.

3.The Battle: Roar to Victory (2019)

From June 6 to 7, 1920, a confrontation occurred between a Korean independence militia of 1,300 under the command of Hong Beom-do and a Japanese battalion consisting of 500 troops.

The fight is known as the Battle of Fengwudong or Battle of Bongo-dong.

Inspired by this event, the movie centers around resistance fighter Hwang Hae-cheol (Yoo Hae-jin) and his subordinate Byeong-gu (Jo Woo-jin).

Their main operation is to deliver funds to the Korean Provisional Government in Shanghai.

During this operation, they reunite with Jang-ha (Rye Jun-yeoul) who has a secret mission.

Jang-ha has been assigned to bait the Japanese forces into Bongo-dong mountains where the battle eventually takes place.

Watch the trailer here.

4.Dongju, the Portrait of Poet (2016)

This film biopic is based on Yun Dong-ju. He was a Korean poet, imprisoned by the Japanese for his involvement in Korean Independence Movement.

Throughout his life, he wrote lyric and resistance poetry. He even chose 19 poems to publish in a collection called “Sky, Wind, Star and Poem”.

However, he was arrested as a communist supporter in 1943 and detained in Kyoto.

The following year, he was sentenced to two years in prison for having participated in the Korean Independence Movement.

Unfortunately, Dong-ju died in imprisonment in February 1945.

His poems were published posthumously and later known as resistance poems of the late occupation period.

In the movie, Kang Ha-neul gives one of his most impressive performances yet as the late poet.

Watch the trailer here.

5.Anarchist from the Colony (2017)

Park Yeol is a self-proclaimed anarchist and revolutionary activist during the Japanese occupation of Korea.

He attended high school in Seoul. However, he was forced to leave in 1919 due to his suspected participation in the March 1st Movement.

Later, he was convicted of high treason in Japan for conspiring an attack against Crown Prince Hirohito.

In the movie, he is portrayed by Lee Je-hoon while his girlfriend Fumiko Kaneko is portrayed by Choi Hee-seo.

Watch the trailer here.

6.A Resistance (2019)

One of the key figures in the March 1st Movement was a woman named Ryu Gwan-sun (also known as Yu Gwansun).

She was the organiser for the peaceful protest in the province of South Chungcheong.

Together with her family, Gwan-sun went door-to-door to encourage the public to join in the Korean Independence Movement.

She was subsequently arrested while her parents were killed by the Japanese military police.

Unfortunately, Gwan-sun died on Sept 28, 1920 from injuries she suffered from torture by the Japanese prison officers.

The movie follows the story of Gwan-sun (Go Ah-sung) as she fights for Korean independence even while in prison.

Watch the trailer here.

7.MalMoE: The Secret Mission (2019)

When Korea was under Japanese rule, the Korean language was banned in 1938 in favour of the Japanese language.

The movie centers around the real-life members of Korean Language Society who are secretly trying to publish a Korean language dictionary.

Founded in 1908 by Ju Si-gyeong, the society is a hangul and Korean language research group.

In 1942, more than 30 of their members were arrested and imprisoned by the Japanese and two later died in prison.

It stars Yoo Hae-jin as Kim Pan-soo. He is an illiterate who meets representatives of the Korean Language Society. Later, he joins the secret mission to publish the dictionary.

Watch the trailer here.

8.Spirit’s Homecoming (2016)

While this is not exactly a movie based on Korean Independence Movement, it is a film that shines light on the dark side of a Japanese occupied country.

Korean director Cho Jung-rae was so inspired by a painting by Kang Il-chul, he made this movie, dedicating it to all Comfort Women.

Ill-chul was a Comfort Woman, who was abused and forced into sex slavery by Japanese soldiers especially during World War II.

Set in 1943, the story focuses on Jung-min (Kang Ha-na) who is separated from her family by Japanese soldiers. They were shipped off in wagons for livestock to Manchuria and used as Comfort Women.

Together with Young-hee (Son Sook) and other girls in the brothel, they try to cope with their situations while plotting their escape.

The second part of the movie is how Young-hee lives as an elderly woman who is trying to make peace with her dark past.

Watch the trailer here.

KajoPicks: 5 South Korean political movies to watch

When it comes to political movies, the storylines can often be intense and thought-provoking. Additionally when it comes to its characters, there is usually an idealistic one who does not understand the dirty rules of politics.

Unfortunately, there are not many Asian film industries daring enough to come out with political dramas on their own.

The South Koreans however, have a number of political movies worth paying attention to.

Regardless of where you come from, these Korean political movies portray stories that hit close to home.

So here are five South Korean political movies to watch:
1.1987: When the Day Comes (2017)

A Korean political movie based on a true story? Then it must be on our KajoMag list! Set in 1987, the film centers on the events leading up to the June Democratic Uprising in South Korea.

From June 10 to 29, 1987, the South Korean people from all walks of life held mass protests, forcing the ruling government to accede to the wishes of the people and hold direct elections for President, and institute other democratic reforms which led to the establishment of the Sixth Republic, the present day government of South Korea.

Instead of focusing on one particular character, the focus of the story shifts between several characters to tell the story of how the political resistance come about.

The main characters include an unscrupulous commissioner, a prosecutor who refuses to be intimidated by government corruption, a democracy activist who works as a prison guard, a journalist and a lieutenant.

Each of these characters eventually play an important role in the political change which happened in the country in 1987.

Watch the trailer here.

2.Anarchist from Colony (2017)

Here is another Korean political movie based on a true story, in this case a real person. Park Yol (1902-1974) was a Korean anarchist and independence activist in the 1920s who was convicted of high treason in Japan for conspiring to attack the Imperial House of Japan.

The movie follows Lee Je-hoon as Park Yol who organises the anarchist group Heukdohoe during the Japanese colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula.

Together with his lover Fumiko Kaneko (Choi Hee-seo), they plot a bomb attack upon Crown Prince Hirohito during his wedding.

Instead of focusing on plots and tactics, Anarchist from Colony (2017) gives viewers an idea of the differences of political beliefs during the Japanese occupation in South Korea which spanned from 1910 to 1945.

Back then, Park Yol was the poster boy for anarchism, an anti-authoritarian political philosophy that rejects hierarchies deemed unjust, and advocates their replacement with self-managed, self-governed societies based on voluntary, cooperative institutions.

Meanwhile, his lover Fumiko was a nihilist, a belief that rejected all authorities.

3.The King (2017)

In the world of politics, the one who silently holds a vital role is actually the prosecutor. In Malaysia, for example, the highest ranking public prosecutor is the Attorney General which is currently being held by Tan Sri Tommy Thomas. Besides being the principal legal adviser to the Malaysian government, the AG may institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence.

The King (2017) focuses on Tae-soo (Jo In-sung) who decides to become a prosecutor believing that power is the most important thing in life.

He works his way up, joining a group of powerful prosecutors with wealth and authority. Soon, he learns that the world he enters is a food chain made of politicians, law enforcement, the media and even gangsters. But who will be on top of the hierarchy?

While In-sung’s character as Tae-soo is a sure draw for viewers, Jung Woo-sing who plays the villain Han Kang-shik is the reason you will be glued to the whole movie.

Watch the trailer here.

4.Inside Men (2015)
Korean political movies to watch
Lee Byung-hun playing the role of a gangster in Inside Men. Credits: IMDB

Having the press eating from the palm of your hand is the biggest advantage you can have as a politician.

Inside Men (2015) shows how an editor Lee Kang-hee (Baek Yoon-sik) is able to raise congressman Jang Pil-woo (Lee Geung-young) to the position of a leading presidential candidate using the power of the media.

In this film, double crossing in the world of politics is as common as brushing your teeth every morning.

So when a politician double-crosses a gangster as well as an ambitious prosecutor yearning to prove himself, then you have a game of revenge at the expense of the people’s future.

This Korean political thriller film has an interesting take on the unholy alliances between politicians, Korean conglomerates (chaebols), the press, prosecutors and mafia that who knows, might be happening in real-life.

5.The Mayor (2017)

This Korean political movie gives you the glimpse of the dirty tricks that could be played behind the scenes of an election.

Blackmailing, wiretapping, corruption, murder are all just part of the game when it comes to an election campaign in this movie.

Viewers can watch how far a political candidate would go to protect his public image in order to stay in office.

It is thrilling, frustrating and hair-pulling tense but you can’t turn away as the political dramas unfold.

Plus, if veteran actor Choi Min-sik is playing the leading role? Then it is a must-watch movie.

He brilliantly plays the role of Byeon Jong-gu, the incumbent mayor of Seoul who seeks a third term which will set him up for a run at the presidency.

Then you have the naive advertisement specialist Park Kyeong (Shim Eun-kyung) who represents perhaps every idealistic person involved in the political world.

Before you start binge-watching, we warn you; most Korean political movies are as close to reality as you can get, so you won’t have a happy ending.

Watch the trailer here.

KajoPicks: 3 films based on the legend of Mae Nak Phra Khanong

When it comes to Thai folktales, one of the most famous stories is about the spirit of Nak, or Mae Nak Phra Khanong, which means Lady Nak of Phra Khanong.

Even after death, Nak tries to hold her family together. While her intention comes out of love and family loyalty, the villagers around her deem it unacceptable. You’re supposed to stay dead once you die, right?

About the legend of Mae Nak Phra Khanong

So the story goes that there was a beautiful young woman named Nak. Together with her husband Mak, they lived on the banks of Phra Khanong Canal.

Their blissful marriage was interrupted when Mak was called to war while Nak was pregnant.

During the war, Mak got himself wounded. As he was recovering in Bangkok, Nak and their child both died during childbirth.

When Mak returned home, however, he found his wife and child happily waiting for him.

In the meantime, the neighbours tried to warn Mak that he was living with a ghost. Eventually, those who tried to warn him turned up dead.

One day, as Nak was preparing a Thai spicy chilli sauce called nam phrik, one of the limes rolled away and dropped off the porch.

As she reached for it, Mak watched in disbelief as her arm grew and stretched to an unnatural length, opening Mak’s eyes to what she really was – a ghost.

Horrified, Mak left his ghost-wife.

After this are different accounts of what happened. But fundamentally, Nak ran amok, terrorising the villagers whom she believed caused her husband to leave her.

Regardless of how scary Nak could be, the thought of trying to live among the living due to the undying love for her husband has been romantized many times in popular culture.

Here are KajoMag’s picks of horror films based on the legend of Mae Nak Phra Khanong:
1.Nang Nak (1999)

This Thai horror classic is perhaps what made international fans take notice of the Thai movie industry. Additionally, it was the first Thai film to earn 100 million baht at the box office.

In this version of Mae Nak Phra Khanong, Mak was sent to fight in the real-life Siamese-Vietnamese War (1831-1834).

The movie also featured another real-life feature; a famous Buddhist monk named Somdet To (1788-1872).

In Nang Nak, the monk comes to exorcise Nak so that her soul can move on into the after-life.

Watch the trailer here.

2.Ghost of Mae Nak (2005)

Inspired by the legend Mae Nak Phra Khanong, this movie is set in modern Bangkok where the life of groom Mak is disturbed by a ghost woman named Mae Nak.

After protecting Mak and his fiancee Nak from a misfortune, Mae Nak now holds the soul of Mak.

Nak on the other hand, Is trying to release her fiance from the grip of Mae Nak.

Watch the trailer here.

3.Pee Mak (2013)

Instead of melodrama, Pee Mak (2013) took on a comedic angle of the legend of Mae Nak Phra Khanong.

This move worked out for the movie maker because it is currently Thailand’s highest grossing film of all time.

The story starts just like the legend with Mak not realizing that he is living with the ghost of his dead wife.

Mak’s four friends however know that Nak is a ghost and go to lengthy ways to tell him, even using a game of charades.

Since it is a horror-comedy film, expect an unconventional ending when watching Pee Mak (2013).

Watch the trailer here.

KajoPicks: 5 Korean dramas written by Hong sisters you should watch

Famously known as Hong sisters, Hong Jung-eun and Hong Mi-ran are two South Korean screenwriters who had several popular romantic comedies under their belts.

Before the sisters started to write TV drama scripts, they were writing for variety shows.

Their first drama was Sassy Girl Choon-Hyang (2005). Since then, they have made their names in the Korean entertainment industry and it is common to read about K-drama enthusiasts anticipating about the Hong sisters’ next project online.

With 12 projects to date, here are five of KajoMag’s favourite dramas written by the Hong sisters:
Hong sisters drama
Lee Ji-eun or IU in Hong sisters’ Hotel del Luna (2019). Credit: YouTube
1.Hotel del Luna (2019)

This Hong sister’s drama is one of the must-watch series for 2019. It is no surprise that this drama is also the eighth-highest rated Korean drama in cable television history.

It starS Lee Ji-eun as the owner and Yeo Jin-goo as the manager of a hotel that caters only to ghosts.

The story goes that during the Goguryeo era, a woman rebel named Jang Man-wol (Ji-eun) drank some liquor, unknowingly turning her into the hotel’s owner. She was then stuck running the hotel for the past 1,000 years before meeting Ku Chan-seong (Yeo Jin-goo).

This fantasy drama has drawn in viewers not just for its entertaining storyline but also for its cinematography.

Korean drama fans even went crazy for Ji-eun’s hair and makeup in the series.

Watch the trailer here.

2.A Korean Odyssey (2017)

This drama is like a mini-reunion for the Hong sisters, reuniting them with the stars they worked with prior to this.

Cha Seung-won, Lee Seung-gi and Lee Hong-gi have worked with the Hong sisters in The Greatest Love (2011), My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox (2010) and You’re Beautiful (2009) respectively.

Additionally, the director Park Hong-kyun has also worked with the Hong sisters in Warm and Cozy (2015) and The Greatest Love (2011).

The drama is a modern spin-off of the Chinese classic novel “Journey to the West”. The story follows Jin Sun-mi (Oh Yeon-seo) who can see evil spirits. When she was a girl, she meet two supernatural creatures Woo Hwi-chul (Cha Seung-won) and Son Oh-Gong (Lee Seung-ki). Twenty five years later, fate brings the three together again.

If you have watched A Korean Odyssey and you are not happy with the ending, then you are not the only one.

Apparently, there is an ongoing online petition to TvN and Netflix to continue the drama with a second season.

Watch the trailer here.

3.Master’s Sun (2013)

Korean actor So Ji-sub is famous for his melodramatic role. When he made an acting transformation in Master’s Sun playing a charming character who provides occasional comic relief, Ji-sub instantly reached a new height of popularity.

In this Hong sisters’ drama, he takes up the role of cold and distant CEO Joong-won. He meets the clingy and gloomy Tae Gong-shil (Gong Hyo-jin) who can see ghosts.

Together, they solve supernatural events around them as Joong-won continues to solve a mystery from his past.

The drama is another commercial hit for the Hong sisters. It also reunited the sisters with Gong Hyo-jin whom they worked with in The Greatest Love (2011).

Watch the trailer here.

4.The Greatest Love (2011)

Speaking of the drama The Greatest Love (2011), this is the project that earned the Hong sisters the Writer of the Year Award in 2011 MBC Drama Awards.

Additionally, the drama won Drama of the Year, Top Excellence Award Actor in a Miniseries for Cha Seung-won, Top Excellence Award Actress in a Miniseries for Gong Hyo-jin and Best Young Actor for Yang Han-yeol.

On the international level, The Greatest Love (2011) won the Silver Prize in 8th New York Television Festival’s International TV & Films Awards.

Set amidst the image-conscious world of the South Korean entertainment industry, the story follows a famous star falling for a washed-out pop singer.

Watch the trailer here.

5.My Girlfriend is a Gumiho (2010)

Here is another award-winning series by the Hong sisters. It centers around Cha Dae-woong (Lee Seung-gi) a college student who accidentally releases a nine-tailed fox or gumiho (Shin Min-ah).

The drama proved Shin Min-ah’s acting ability as it is one of her memorable roles yet. Otherwise, she was previously better known as just a advertisement model who happened to be acting.

Before there was Kim Eun-sook’s Goblin, My Girlfriend is a Gumiho was the best known fantasy Korean drama.

Watch the trailer here.

It reinvented and romanticized characters from Korean folklore such as gumiho.

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