Things to watch on Netflix, Part 2: Every Korean Action Movie Known to Man

While I was healing up from a thing, I watched every possible free movie on Netflix.

The happiest surprise, out of nowhere? South Korean action movies.

I grew up on cheesy ’80s action heroes: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal, Dolph Lundgren and the other current stars of THE EXPENDABLES who aren’t (a) former WWE wrestlers or (b) former MMA stars.

But here’s the thing: Korean action movies are different from whatever Hollywood, Bollywood and Hong Kong are putting out.

In a traditional Hollywood explosion-fest, there’s a too-cool hero, a nerdy sidekick, an ancient mentor who the villain kills in Act 2 and a love interest who gets kissed after the villain goes down. It’s a formula, and while there are twists, most movies only try to surprise you with the fine details.

Maybe it’s just the mix of movies on Netflix, or maybe I got lucky. Doesn’t matter. Everything I watched was very, very different than the last.¬†They were all well-shot and well-acted.

Yet it’s the stories that stand out, the bold twists. I watched seven or eight of these, and they all had their own specific plot lines and interesting endings.

Here are the trailers for one of the best, THE MAN FROM NOWHERE.

Now, fire up Netflix and watch it. DO IT NOW.

What do you want to know about the deepest recesses of Netflix? Pick your favorite and I’ll write the review.

The one little thing that made Hong Kong’s protests so big

Hong Kong democracy protests are called the Umbrella Revolution after citizens brought umbrellas to ward off tear gas and pepper spray. Flickr photo by james jJ8246
Long protester in Hong Kong takes part in the Umbrella Revolution. Flickr photo by Doctor Ho.
A protester in Hong Kong takes part in the Umbrella Revolution. Flickr photo by Doctor Ho.

Images are more powerful than words.

That’s why the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong became global news. When somebody says “What’s happening in Hong Kong?” you don’t picture crowds of people with signs, which could be a protest in Manhattan or Mumbai.

You picture umbrellas.

Maybe one umbrella, like the photo above. Or thousands of umbrella.

But you see umbrellas, and they mean something, because it’s what protesters are using ward off tear gas and pepper spray while they march for free and open elections, like they were promised.

Right there, the terms of the debate are framed. You sympathize with the protesters, who are organized and determinedly non-violent. Students taking part are doing their homework and picking up trash from the street.

Citizens might have used something else, say garbage bags, to protect themselves from tear gas and mace. It wouldn’t be the same.

The simple, common umbrella is a powerful symbol and tool. It’s not fancy. It’s not expensive. Everybody, rich or poor, has an umbrella.

You don’t need to join a political group. All you have to do is grab an umbrella from your hallway closet and walk outside. People around the world, folks who don’t speak the language or understand Hong Kong history and politics, they all the message.

Continue reading “The one little thing that made Hong Kong’s protests so big”