When Crime Pays – Romantic Dramas Involving Gangsters

My two favorite leading male stereotypes are the arrogant, self-centered types (for example the male leads in The Greatest Love, Master’s Sun, You Are Beautiful) and the hardened criminal with a soft spot for love.

When I say hardened criminal, I mean the type that you can count on to beat someone bloody on the street for you.  Cause… that’s a skill set you might need one day.  Especially if you inhabit K-World.  I do not mean the psuedo-criminal.  I do not mean the sensitive action heroes found in City Hunter or Healer.  I do not mean the men who thrill us with graceful acrobatics during a well choreographed fight sequence.  I do not mean white collar criminals or cyber criminals or dudes plotting their revenge.  I mean bloody knuckle criminals.  The ones that can be genuinely scary when they’re not romancing a lady.  My heart always goes wonky for the guard dogs, the yard dogs, the junkyard dogs of K-world.  The fighters.


Jung Kyoung-Ho in Heartless City.  The Doberman Pinscher.

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Drug courier.  Mob boss.  Cold blooded murderer in a finely tailored suit.  He’s the kind of guy who would gracefully stab you in the gut, smile, and walk away whistling Dixie.  He’s an emotionless, blank-faced slinky psychopath… and I love it.

Yang Dong-Geun in Dr. Kkang.  Pitbull.

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Ruthless gang member on the rocky path to redemption, always about two ticks away from going full throttle crazy on someone.  He’s a heap of nervous energy, street violence, and finely tuned paranoia.  You imagine his inner demons kicking his inner angels when they’re already down for the count.  Honestly, this actor plays the BEST unstable male lead in this role.  I felt nervous just watching this drama… which was why I fell just that much harder in love with it.

Jung Woo-Sung in Padam Padam.  Rotweiller.

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He might not have been a hardened criminal before he went to prison, but he sure as hell was when he came out.  Jung Woo-Sung!  The man is big, for one thing.  Big and muscled and overbearing.  He literally looms over the majority of Koreans.  In Padam Padam, he’s basically an overgrown teenager, stuck in the early development phase of adolescence due to his young imprisonment.  And everyone knows teenagers have easy triggers.  Jung Woo-Sung is no exception.  You know that frown could turn upside down… and it might break your ribs.

As with all things, to each his own.  Everyone has their own favorite leading male stereotype… repressed, carefree, rich and lonely, rich and crazy, rich and neurotic, arrogant, shy, honorable or devious.  They’re all great, honestly.  But sometimes there’s nothing better than bad guy for a good girl.

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