The Hallyu (the increase in global popularity of South Korean culture since the 1990) wave has taken all the world, and it's not slowing down. Though K-Pop idols are known for their top-notch performances, there's more to them than their aesthetic production value, catchy songs, charming personalities, and on-sync dance choreographies! Some are even paving their way on the big screen. Here are seven films worth your time that starred the KPOP idols that we all love:
1. My Annoying Brother (형) 2016
If you're in the mood for a tear-jerking film, this one is for you. The film tells a story about a judo athlete Doo-young (Do Kyung-soo), who has damaged his eyes while competing internationally and permanently lost his sight. With no one to take care of him, his estranged older brother Doo-Shik (Jo Jung-suk) took advantage of the situation to get parole from prison. Hesitant at first, they slowly start to ease up with each other and make amends. This film was a success hitting more than one million views within four days from release.
Winning five newcomer awards in 2017, Do Kyung Soo who is better known as D.O. is one of the nine members of the South Korean–Chinese boy band, EXO. They won many awards as a group since their debut and was dubbed as the Nation's Pick. Besides group activities, he starred in several other known films such as Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds (2017) and Swing Kids (2018).
2. Exit (엑시트) 2019
A bit different from the previous film, this one revolves around Yong-Nam (Jo Jong-suk), a great rock climber in his earlier days and now without a job is forced to live with his parents. His mother is celebrating her 70th birthday in Cloud Garden, knowing Eui-Joo (Im Yoon-ah), a fellow former rock climber, is working there. As toxic white gas was released which caused a mass disturbance in the city, the two climbed buildings equipped only with a makeshift harness to save people and themselves.
The film was hailed as the third highest-grossing domestic film for 2019. Besides this, this is Im Yoon-ah's first leading role in a film. She has an upcoming 2021 South Korean film entitled Miracle. Apart from SNSD's group activities, Im Yoon-ah has starred in several Korean dramas from which she received praises for her performance as an actress.
3. 71: Into the Fire (포화 속으로) 2010
Based on real historical events during the Korean War, this film retells the story of 71 undertrained and under armed student-soldiers of South Korea. They defended the local middle school for eleven hours to safeguard the Nakdong River perimeter. Most of them are killed by the overwhelming North Korean forces' attack.
The film is was the fifth highest-grossing film of 2010. Starring Choi Seung-Hyun, better known as Big Bang's T.O.P., he won three newcomer awards for the said film. He later starred in several Asian films such as Commitment (2013) and Tazza: The Hidden Card (2014).
4. Student A (여중생A) 2018
Based on a webtoon, this film is about a young girl named Jang Mi-Rae (Kim Hwan-Hee). She is a middle school student and an outcast who eventually finds comfort in playing online games and writing stories. Eventually, she meets a young man named Hyun Jae-Hee (Kim Jun-Myeon) in an online game who gives away free hugs, hoping to give comfort to people. This film is a story of healing and creating a life one wants to live by giving a chance to friendships and oneself.
Winning an award for his performance in this film, Kim Jun-Myeon, also known as Suho, is a member of EXO with other eight members. Besides his group activities, he has starred in other films such as One Way Trip (2016).
5. The Sound of a Flower (도리화가) 2015
Encouraging you to follow your dreams, this film is about the life of Jin Chae-Seon (portrayed by Bae Suzy), Joseon's first female pansori singer in 1867. At that time, women weren't allowed to perform in public or on stage. Chae-Seon, with her desire to pursue her dreams, risks her life by crossdressing. The film revolves around her relationship with her pansori teacher, Shin Jae-Hyo (Ryu Seung-Ryong). The title, "Dorihwaga," is a song composed by Jae-Hyo to express his longing for Chae-Seon.
Though the film received negative reviews from critics as bland despite high anticipation due to its high-profile cast, it's still Bae Suzy's debut on the big screen besides her previous group activities as a member of the K-Pop girl group, Miss A. Other films she appeared in are Architecture 101 (2012) and Ashfall (2019).
6. So I Married an Anti-fan (그래서 나는 안티 팬과 결혼했다) 2016
Though a Chinese film, this film stars Park Chan-yeol, who brings life to Hoo Joon, a Korean Hallyu star working in Shanghai, China. By chance, an entertainment reporter named Miao Miao (Yuan Shanshan) catches him with a fellow Hallyu star at a nightclub in a seemingly romantic encounter, which later caused Miao Miao to lose her job and become an anti-fan. The two worked together, with Miao Miao as his road manager, and eventually have fallen in love with each other. The right balance of romantic-comedy and the in-demand stars that starred in this film sure helped this film rank 4th on Weibo's "Top 10 Films" list that same year.
Besides Park Chan-yeol's activities with EXO, this is his lead role on the big screen. He has starred in different Korean dramas, and he has an upcoming 2021 film entitled The Box all can look forward to.
7. Swing Kids (스윙키즈) 2018
A musical-drama film that tells the story of Ro Ki-soo (Do Kyung-soo), a rebellious North Korean soldier in a prison camp during the Korean War. After meeting Jackson (Jared Grimes), an American officer and former Broadway star, Ki-soo fell in love with tap dancing. Jackson was tasked to put together a dance group as a distraction from the war, and eventually, several others auditioned to join the group.
The film and the performances were superb that it's not surprising the film won several awards in cinematography, soundtrack, and the likes. It ranked second on Korean theaters since its release and was screened in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
Have you seen any of these films? Share your thoughts below. We'd love to hear from you.