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7 K-Dramas And Movies Starring 'Squid Game' Star Lee Jung Jae

Add these thrilling series and flicks to your Korean entertainment bucket list.
Lee Jung Jae Dramas
PHOTO: (LEFT TO RIGHT) COURTESY OF NETFLIX, CHIEF OF STAFF/JTBC
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If you've been watching Korean movies for years, Squid Game is most likely not your intro to veteran actor Lee Jung Jae. Fans of action films know that he’s no stranger to savage violence, sins and illegal activities, deception, and yes, even slaps. So it was no surprise that he was at the helm of Squid Game, the unexpected bloody hit from Netflix. If you wickedly enjoyed it, you might want to add Lee Jung Jae’s other series and movies to your binge-watch list. Here’s your cheat sheet to the *best* ones:

Early Projects

1. The Thieves (2012)

Who else is in it: Kim Yoon Seok, Kim Hye Soo, Jun Ji Hyun, Kim Soo Hyun

Where to watch it: Netflix

After a successful heist in South Korea, a band of criminals led by Popie (Lee Jung Jae) heads to Hong Kong for a new job. It was offered by an old friend who brought in other con artists in HK to be part of the team. Their goal: steal a 20 million-dollar diamond.

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2. The Face Reader (2013)

Who else is in it: Song Kang Ho, Lee Jong Suk, Kim Hye Soo, Jo Jung Suk

Physiognomy is commonly mentioned in Korean dramas. They say that certain features of the face show specific personality traits. They can also predict your future. The movie is all about a face reading expert from the Joseon Dynasty (Song Kang Ho from Parasite). His skills lead him to help solve a murder case. Eventually, becomes part of the power struggles in the royal courts. He is courted by Grand Prince Suyang (played by Lee Jung Jae) to enable his prospect of becoming King.

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3. The Assassination (2015)

Who else is in it: Jun Ji Hyun, Ha Jung Woo, Cho Jin Woong, Oh Dal Su

Where to watch it: Netflix

The movie is set during the 1930s, wherein Korea is still under the authority of Japan. Lee Jung Jae plays the role of an independence fighter planning for the assassination of a high-ranking Japanese official and a pro-Japanese businessman. At the same time, he’s a secret agent of the Japanese government. Meanwhile, actress Jun Ji Hyun plays a sniper of the independence fighters. The action-packed movie progresses with various themes like murder, betrayal, and patriotism.

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4. and 5. Along With The Gods: The Two Worlds (2017),  Along With The Gods: The Last 49 Days (2018)

Who else is in it: Ha Jung Woo, Ju Ji Hoon, Kim Hyang Gi

Where to watch it: Netflix

The fantastic movies show journeys of souls that passed away, which Koreans believe are on paths to reincarnation or Nirvana. It’s never a smooth-sailing voyage, though, as the souls need to prove their goodness on Earth and surpass hurdles set by gods—one of them played by Lee Jung Jae.

Recent Projects

6. Chief Of Staff (2019)

Who else is in it: Shin Min Ah

Where to watch it: Netflix

What happens behind the scenes of South Korean politics? This drama takes you inside the National Assembly and gives a taste of the corruption and games that happen there. The plot twists are all work of fiction, but you can’t help but wonder if they’re inspired by real events and real people, including the ambitious chief of staff played by the lead actor.

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7. Squid Game (2021)

Who else is in it: Park Hae Soo, Jung Ho Yeon, Wi Ha Joon

Where to watch it: Netflix

This psychological thriller starts with Lee Jung Jae’s character as Gi Hoon. He’s a former chauffeur who’s divorced, living with his elderly mom, and in a lot of debt. On top of that, he has a penchant for gambling. All his money problems push him to take a risk and join a mysterious game. Eventually, he finds himself as one of the 456 players vying for KRW 45.6 billion (around P2 billion) in childhood games. The catch: Make a mistake or lose and you’ll be eliminated for good.

MORE K-DRAMA ROUNDUPS FEATURING YOUR FAVORITE ACTORS:

8 Lee Je Hoon Dramas and Movies To Stream Right Now On Netflix And Viu

5 Must-Watch K-Dramas Starring Versatile Actor Lee Kyu Hyung

8 Kim Sung Cheol K-Dramas To Watch Because We Know How Much You Love Him

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