From dangerous undercover investigations to sustained negotiations at gunpoint, the best action K-dramas are the ones that instantly give you goosebumps and make your heart race. We’ve rounded up some worthwhile thrillers if you enjoy your Netflix ritual with a bit of adrenaline.
The monotony of life can leave even the lover of routine wanting some excitement. Fortunately, with the advent of streaming platforms, you can hop on the entertainment rollercoaster anytime you choose, all from the comfort of your couch. That said, amid the sea of options, the most attractive lately are coming from South Korea.
Offering unique storylines, high production values, stylish outfits, exciting action sequences, and the most engaging ensemble of actors – K-dramas that explore the action genre are unmissable. In fact, we’d hazard a guess that they’ll hook you faster than a romantic comedy. Also, there is nothing as exciting as seeing Song Joong-ki hang a thug over a ledge with a tape measure. Or Ji Chang-wook fluttering from one rooftop to another while he is being chased by special agents. Here’s our pick of the best action K-dramas on Netflix.
These best action K-dramas are particularly binge-worthy
This fast-paced story sees stuntwoman Cha Dal-geon dealing with a tragic plane crash that kills everyone on board, including her beloved nephew. Frustrated by the lack of answers and prompt action, he initiates his own investigation. Her only backup of him? South Korean 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 gunplay. If that doesn’t get your heart racing, we don’t know what will.
Healer, one of the most popular action series, looks at the life of a “night messenger” or errand professional who transports high-value items for high-paying customers under the radar. However, his life takes an interesting turn when he is tasked with looking for a girl. Is it important too? The underlying theme of an old murder incident related to a group of rogue journalists running an illegal broadcast station. The series has a lot of stunts and action-packed scenes right from the start, complete with high kicks and sharp right hooks. Also, if you enjoy a good spy thriller, this is the one for you.
Inspired by the crimes committed in Korea, this action K-drama is unmissable. It follows Kim Do-ki, a former UDT (Underwater Demolition Team) official whose mother was murdered by a serial killer. Now that he’s a taxi driver, he takes a German reporter from Seoul to Gwangju to cover an uprising, only to find himself caught in the middle of the violence. Also shocking? The taxi company he works for might not be all that it seems: it offers a “call for revenge” service that’s as gruesome as it sounds. 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 his heart to be constantly in your throat with this one.
descendants of the sun
This classic K-drama is known for promoting the Hallyu (Korean) wave all over the world. Follows the lives of South Korean Special Forces agent Captain Yoo Shi-jin and Haesung Hospital surgeon Kang Mo-yeon. The two try to build a relationship while dealing with their respective hectic schedules. Fate brings them to the fictional war-torn country of Urk, where a team of doctors work alongside the army to keep the peace and treat those in need. Although primarily a romance series, this show is packed with the creepiest scenes, whether it’s a car falling off a cliff or a dangerous international mob boss taking the lead at gunpoint. Lots of shots are fired and punches are also thrown. This one is guaranteed to keep you hooked.
This action-packed K-drama follows a former mercenary soldier who is framed for the murder of his lover Raniya, a civilian. Now, a fugitive working as an under-the-radar bodyguard with the alias K2, is hired to protect the daughter of an influential family. What follows is a series of jaw-dropping fight scenes, featuring well-executed spin kicks, gritty punches, and messy car chases. While the plot itself leaves a lot to be desired, the series is worth watching for the action sequences alone. Also, Ji Chang-wook (K2) is hailed as one of the most capable action heroes in K-drama circles, and this series in particular is one of his best works.
Possibly 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 of South Korea to put an end to some pressing business. . However, things don’t go as planned and he finds himself backing an eccentric lawyer named Hong Cha-young, as well as the quirky residents of a building that is about to be demolished by a corrupt conglomerate. Together, Cha-young and Vincenzo unravel a web of the murkiest cases. And along the way, they find themselves facing off against thieves, dodging threats, and losing those closest to them. Strategy alone will keep you hooked. That said, considering the show’s theme song says, “only evil can punish evil,” you can expect no punches in this one.
This female-centric series is a revenge-driven action thriller. Follow Yoon Ji-woo, who joins a crime syndicate to avenge the murder of her father. There, Choi Mu-jin trains her to join the undercover police force. What follows is a series of well-paced action sequences, complete with gritty punches, quick escapes, and big reveals. Surprisingly brutal, there are plenty of drugs, deaths, and other dark realities explored on the show. Other than that, it’s refreshing and exciting to see a woman take the lead in all the action. This one has a big impact.
flower of evil
A Story of Deception: This series follows the relationship between detective Cha Ji-won and her husband Baek Hee-sung. On the surface, the latter appears to be a devoted husband and is a good father to his daughter. However, unknown to his family, Hee-sung leads an alternate life to keep his cruel and shameful past under the rug. However, when his wife takes the case to uncover his past psychopathic actions, his life takes a sharp turn. Get ready for high-octane action sequences: knife fights, melee combat and more.
(All images: Netflix)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur