February Movie Watch: the Sageuk Edition

New year, new movies of course! Although there’s not much changes except for changing number in years and age (when you’re old like me LOL), there’s something we can be sure of: new movies in production will come out. I’m ecstatic to see not one. but THREE sageuk movies making it into the list of premiering titles in February 2018: one is the ‘Joseon Sherlock Holmes’ 조선명탐정 Joseon Detective 3; the other one is the much anticipated 흥부 Heungbu; last but not least is the second part of the Korean Confucian ‘mechanics’ series, 궁합 Gunghap.

Joseon’s very own Sherlock and Watson duo is coming back for the third offering, this time dealing with a new breed of problem in the form of bloodsucking creatures. Joseon Detective 3 : Secret of the Living Dead (like vampires, maybe?) brings back Kim Myung-min and Oh Dal-soo together again in Joseon, this time joined by a brand new mysterious lady, which has become some sort of a trademark for the series. Kim Ji-won follows the steps of Han Ji-min and Lee Yeon-hee as the movie’s beautiful lady, joining the detective duo on their quest to stop the serial murder happening on the Korean Peninsula.

First Teaser:

Title: 조선명탐저이 흡혈괴의 비밀 (Detective K 3: Secret of the Living Dead)

Director: Kim Seok-yoon (My Wife is Having an Affair This Week, Awl, Joseon Detective 2)


  • Kim Myung-min as Kim Min
  • Oh Dal-soo as Seo Pil
  • Kim Ji-won as Wol-young
  • Kim Bum as Cheol-woo
  • Lee Min-ki as Man in Black


The anticipation for Heungbu is high for many reasons. It feels surreal, still, for me, to watch the late Kim Joo-hyuk talking about the movie in one of the interview videos, knowing that he’s not by our side anymore, but the movie itself is probably a gift he left behind for us. Also known as Age of the Rebellion, the Korean title is a reference to a famous folk story ‘Heungbu and Nolbu’, written by an unknown author. However, the movie takes liberty in portraying the author, named Yeon Heungbu, as a famed novelist of his time searching for his long lost brother Nolbu. The story he wrote actually mocks the two noble brothers, as suggested by the younger brother himself, Jo Hyuk. I am excited to see Jung Woo in his first sageuk outing ever, and latest Nation’s Heartthrob (I made up that title myself so please don’t kill me) Jung Hae-in as the helpless king Heonjong. Plus, there’s cross-dressing Chun Woo-hee and the appearance of the famed poet Kim Satgat.

First Teaser:

Title: 흥부 (Heungboo: The Revolutionist)

Director: Jo Geun-hyeon (Late Spring, 26 Years)


  • Jung Woo as Yeon Heung-bu
  • Kim Joo-hyuk as Jo Hyuk
  • Jung Jin-young as Jo Hang-ri
  • Jung Hae-in as King Heonjong
  • Kim Won-hae as Kim Eung-jib
  • Jung Sang-hoon as Kim Satgat
  • Jin Gu as Nol-bu
  • Chun Woo-hee as Seon-chul



It has been a long wait for this movie; it feels like forever since Lee Seung-gi’s enlistment and he’s already back in his post-army project Hwayugi, and only now the wait to see Gunghap on the big screen is (almost) over. Touted as the second installment Korean Confucian ‘mechanics’ series to the first Gwansang (The Face Reader), Gunghap (lit. marital harmony) plays around the subject of the title, following the impending marriage of Princess Songhwa. Seo Do-yoon is tasked with finding the best divine chemistry between the princess with a nasty fortune and her three suitors, but the adventure begins when Songhwa decides to take matter into her own hands and Do-yoon getting mixed into the princess’ fate. Gosh, how do you choose between Lee Seung-gi, Yeon Woo-jin, Choi Woo-shik, and Kang Minhyuk? The choice is in our Princess’ hands, Shim Eun-kyung.

First Teaser:

Title: 궁합 (lit. Marital Harmony)

Director: Hong Chan-pyo (Unforgettable, Summer Snow, The Huntresses)


  • Lee Seung-gi as Seo Do-yoon
  • Shim Eun-kyung as Princess Songhwa
  • Yeon Woo-jin as Yoon Shi-kyung
  • Kang Minhyuk as Kang Hwi
  • Choi Woo-shik as Nam Chi-ho
  • Jo Bok-rae as Yi Gae-shi
  • Kim Sang-kyung as King


I’ve just realized that all three of them chose Joseon era as the background, although fictional route is preferred for the story. It’s still cold in February over there in Korea, but couples might flock into the theaters for Valentine’s Day and possibly affects the ticket sales. Apart from these sageuk movies, Golden Slumber (starring Kang Dong-won) and Little Forest (Ryu Jun-yeol and Kim Tae-ri) will also meet the fans next month, so I hope to see at least of these titles making it into my country. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed!

7 thoughts on “February Movie Watch: the Sageuk Edition

  1. Actually looking forward to two of these: Detective K and Marital Harmony. I don’t really know much about either of these (Detective K has two prequels I haven’t seen), but people have been sharing posters and stills on Twitter and they’ve gotten me rather curious (Yeon Woo Jin in hanbok = hearteu eyes). Besides there are a lot of familiar faces in these, so I could watch for that fact alone. Thanks for the info!

  2. Thank you for this blog, first of all. I’ve learned so much here–Korean history, language, and oh yes, great recs. Thank you, blessings. I want to know–what is the building on your main page? I’ve looked over photos of buildings in Gyeongbokgung and I can’t recognize it. It doesn’t seem to be one of the buildings at MBC Dramia (I so want to go there when I visit SK one day) either. It really does look like the building and courtyard where the final scene of the coup in Warrior Baek Dong-soo was filmed. Do you know if it is? Thank you.

    1. Hello! I’m glad you find the blog useful despite its current state right now ^^;
      FYI the building featured on the header is Injeongjeon Hall, located in another important palace of Joseon Dynasty, Changdeokgung. It’s the main hall (aka throne hall) of the palace.

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