3 Korean Films in Early 2024 That Tell True Stories

Three true story-based Korean films of early 2024—Citizen of a Kind, The Roundup: Punishment, and Hijack 1971—captivate with authenticity.
3 Korean Films In Early 2024 That Tell True Stories

The South Korean film industry is known for its diverse genres, ranging from action-packed thrillers like The Roundup: Punishment to horror movies like Exhuma, and romantic dramas such as Wonderland. These genres attract millions of viewers, with The Roundup: Punishment and Exhuma alone amassing over 10 million viewers each.

Among these genres, there are several films based on true stories, providing a unique blend of real-life events and cinematic storytelling. In the first half of 2024, three standout Korean films draw inspiration from actual events, captivating audiences with their authenticity and emotional depth. Let’s dive into these films.

1. Citizen of a Kind

Citizen Of A Kind

Image Source: Instagram.com/Showbox.movie 

Citizen of a Kind tells the gripping story of Deok Hee (Ra Mi Ran), a victim of a voice phishing scam orchestrated by a criminal organization based in China. After being swindled, Deok Hee receives a call from Jae Min (Gong Myung), the scammer who deceived her, but with a twist – he wants to collaborate with her to expose the organization.

Despite limited information from Jae Min, who is also trapped by the organization, Deok Hee attempts to report the crime to the South Korean police, but her pleas fall on deaf ears. With the help of her friends, Deok Hee embarks on a daring journey to China to gather evidence strong enough to compel the police to take action.

The film is inspired by a real-life incident involving Kim Seong Ja in 2016. Although the first half of the movie mirrors his experience, the segment where Deok Hee ventures to China is a dramatization. Unlike the film’s happy ending, Kim Seong Ja never recovered the 32 million won he lost. Despite his significant contribution to the investigation, he didn’t receive the 100 million reward advertised by the police.

Kim’s poignant words highlight his despair: “At that time I was not stupid, but I was desperate. It felt so unfair that I wanted to die. I couldn’t sleep without alcohol and sleeping pills.” His story was brought to the attention of director Park Young Joo, who was moved to tears and determined to adapt it into a film. This dedication to authenticity resonates deeply with audiences.

2. The Roundup: Punishment

The Roundup: Punishment

Image Source: Instagram.com/Ba_Enter 

The Roundup film series is known for integrating real-life cases into its plots. The fourth installment, The Roundup: Punishment, centers on the 2015 murder of a Korean software developer by the operator of an online gambling site in Pattaya, Thailand.

The main perpetrator, Kim, fled to Vietnam after the crime but was eventually captured and extradited to Korea in 2018, where he was sentenced to 17 years in prison. His accomplice, Yoon, received a 14-year sentence.

In the film, the investigation starts with drug sales via delivery apps, leading Ma Seok Do (Ma Dong Seok) and his team to discover that the developer they were tracking had been killed in the Philippines. This revelation unravels a web of crime linked to a large-scale online gambling organization run by Baek Chang Ki (Kim Moo Yul) and Jang Dong Cheol (Kim Dong Hwi).

This film’s blend of action and true crime not only entertains but also sheds light on the dark underbelly of organized crime, making it a gripping watch for audiences.

3. Hijack 1971

Hijack 1971

Image Source: Instagram.com/Kidaristudio.movie

Hijack 1971, set to release on June 21, 2024, recounts the harrowing tale of a passenger plane hijacking in 1971. The plane, piloted by Gyu Sik (Sung Dong Il) and co-piloted by Tae In (Ha Jung Woo), faces an explosion shortly after takeoff from Sokcho airport, orchestrated by Yong Dae (Yeo Jin Goo), who aims to divert the plane to North Korea.

Tae In and Gyu Sik, along with flight attendant Ok Soon (Chae Soo Bin), strive to protect the passengers amid the chaos. The film is based on the actual 1971 Korean Air F-27 hijacking attempt, with director Kim Sung Han focusing on a realistic portrayal of the events.

Kim Sung Han explains, “Because these events actually happened in the real world, I aimed to depict them faithfully. I noticed that audiences these days are usually not interested in stories that are too sentimental, even though I personally find them interesting.”

Bringing real cases to the silver screen is a challenge, but the dedication to authenticity and compelling storytelling in Citizen of a Kind and The Roundup: Punishment has already proven successful at the South Korean box office. We eagerly await the reception of Hijack 1971 as it brings another true story to life.


These three Korean films, Citizen of a Kind, The Roundup: Punishment, and Hijack 1971, offer a captivating blend of true stories and cinematic artistry. They highlight the power of film to reflect real-life events and evoke strong emotional responses from audiences. Whether you are a fan of action, crime, or historical dramas, these films provide a rich viewing experience that is both entertaining and enlightening.

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