From dangerous undercover investigations to negotiations held at gunpoint — the best action K-dramas are those that instantly give you goosebumps and get your heart racing. We round up a few thrillers that are worth the binge if you enjoy your Netflix ritual with a side of adrenaline.
The monotony of life can leave even the routine-lover hankering for some excitement. Fortunately with the advent of streaming platforms, you can hop on the entertainment roller coaster at the time of your choosing — all from the comfort of your couch. That said, amidst the sea of options, the most enticing of late come from South Korea.
Offering unique plotlines, high production values, stylish outfits, thrilling action sequences, and the most attractive ensemble of actors — K-dramas that explore the action genre are a must-watch. In fact, we’d go out on a limb to say they’ll have you hooked faster than a romantic comedy would. Besides, there’s nothing quite as exhilarating as watching Song Joong-ki dangle a thug over a ledge with a measurement tape. Or Ji Chang-wook flit from one rooftop to another while being chased by special agents. Here’s our pick of the best action K-dramas on Netflix.
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This fast-paced tale sees struggling stuntman Cha Dal-geon grappling with a tragic air crash that takes the life of everyone on board, including his beloved nephew. Frustrated with the lack of answers and prompt action, he launches his own investigation. His only back up? South Korea’s National Intelligence agent Go Haeri. Together, they unravel a web of political corruption. Expect to see well-choreographed fight sequences, high-speed chases, and plenty of gunfire. If that doesn’t get your heart racing, we don’t know what will.
One of the most popular action series, Healer looks into the life of a ‘night courier’ or errand professional who transports high-value items for well-paying clients under the radar. His life, however, takes an interesting turn when he’s tasked with hunting for a girl. Also important? The underlying theme of an old murder incident related to a group of rebellious journalists who ran an illegal broadcasting station. The series has a host of stunts and action-packed scenes from the get go — complete with high kicks and sharp right hooks. Besides, if you enjoy a good spy thriller, this is right up your alley.
Inspired by crimes committed in Korea, this action K-drama is a must-watch. It follows Kim Do-ki — a former UDT (underwater demolition team) official whose mother was murdered by a serial killer. Now a taxi driver, he drives a German reporter from Seoul to Gwangju to cover an uprising, only to find himself caught in the middle of a violence. Also shocking? The taxi company he works for might not be all that it seems — offering a “revenge-call” service that’s as gruesome as they come. The show features some of the best action sequences in K-drama history — right outside a garage, on a rooftop, or in a warehouse. Expect your heart to constantly be in your throat with this one.
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Descendants Of The Sun
This classic K-drama is known for furthering the Hallyu (Korean) wave across the globe. It follows the lives of South Korean Special Forces agent Captain Yoo Shi-jin and Haesung Hospital surgeon Kang Mo-yeon. The two try pursuing a relationship while grappling with their respective hectic schedules. Fate brings them to the fictitious war-torn country of Urk, where a team of doctors works in tandem with the army to keep peace and treat those in need. Although primarily a romantic series — this show is packed with the most hair-raising scenes — whether it’s a car falling off a cliff or a dangerous international mafia head holding the lead at gunpoint. Plenty of shots are fired and punches thrown around as well. This one is guaranteed to keep you hooked.
This action-packed K-drama follows a former mercenary soldier who’s framed for the murder of his lover Raniya, a civilian. Now a fugitive who works as a bodyguard under the radar with the alias K2, he’s hired to protect the daughter of an influential family. What follows is a series of jaw-dropping fight scenes — with well-executed roundhouse kicks, gritty punches, and messy car chases. While the plot itself leaves much to be desired, the action sequences alone are worth watching the series for. Besides, Ji Chang-wook (K2) is hailed for being one of the most capable action heroes in K-drama circles, with this particular series being some of his best work.
Arguably one of the most talked-about K-drama series in the recent past — this crime thriller explores the life of Vincenzo Cassano — a member of the Italian mafia who returns to his homeland South Korea to put a few pressing matters to rest. However, things don’t go according to plan and he finds himself backing an eccentric lawyer named Hong Cha-young as well as the quirky residents of a building that’s about to be demolished by a corrupt conglomerate. Together, Cha-young and Vincenzo unravel a web of the most murky instances. And along the way, they find themselves facing off crooks, navigating threats, and losing people closest to them. The strategising alone will keep you hooked. That said, considering the principal theme of the show states, “only evil can punish evil,” you can expect there to be no punches pulled on this one.
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This women-centric series is a revenge-driven action thriller. It follows Yoon Ji-woo who joins a crime syndicate in order to avenge her father’s murder. There she’s trained by Choi Mu-jin to join the police force undercover. What follows are a host of well-paced action sequences, complete with gritty punches, quick escapes, and big reveals. Surprisingly brutal, there’s plenty of drugs, deaths, and other dark realities explored in the show. That aside, it’s refreshing and exciting to see a woman take the lead on all the action. This one packs a punch.
Flower Of Evil
A tale of deception — this series follows the relationship between detective Cha Ji-won and her husband Baek Hee-sung. On the surface, the latter seems like a devoted husband and is a good father to their daughter. However, unbeknownst to his family, Hee-sung leads an alternative life to keep his cruel and shameful past swept under the rug. However, when his wife takes up the case to uncover his former psychopathic actions, his life takes a steep turn. Brace yourself for the most high-octane action sequences — knife fighting, hand-to-hand combat, and more.
(All images: Netflix)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur