20 Great Asian Movies You Probably Haven’t Seen

16. Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl (Hong Kong/USA/Taiwan, 1998)

Xiu Xiu The Sent Down Girl

Joan Chen’s masterpiece is a film that every person should take the time to watch, no matter how depressing the contents of the film actually are. This was one of the first Asian films I watched and as a result, sparked my interest in the region as a whole. A truly moving tale about a young girl sent away from her family during her teenage years and the hardships she has to endure.


17. A Better Tomorrow II (Hong Kong, 1987)


There is a movie titled A Better Tomorrow (sadly, a recent remake exists too), but the fact of the matter is this – you don’t need to have seen A Better Tomorrow to enjoy A Better Tomorrow II. John Woo was starting to find his form with A Better Tomorrow II. Chow Yun Fat is magnetic in this film, even if the entire reason his character exists in this movie is somewhat flimsy. The final action sequence alone rivals the bodycount of every Arnold Schwarzenegger movie combined.


18. Electric Dragon 80,000V (Japan, 2001)

Electric Dragon 80,000V

There is one rule you must adhere to when watching Electric Dragon 80,000V. That rule is that you must have the volume turned up to enjoy this bombastic and downright grimy soundtrack. The film isn’t too long, but it is definitely memorable. Cult director Sogo Ishii is no stranger to making insane films. Apparently this film was made as a pet project while filming Gojoe. This film may contain two of the most awesome character names in the history of cinema – Dragon Eye Morrison and Thunderbolt Buddha.


19. Castaway on the Moon (South Korea, 2009)


Castaway on the Moon is a quiet reflection on the simpler pleasures in life. A failed suicide attempt leads to a young man occupying a small island underneath the Han River. Gone is the everyday grind that led him to attempt suicide, so life can start anew for this man on his own. This is a beautifully crafted film. It explores the themes of rebirth, how severed we have become from the world around us and the reasons for this and finally, how love can be found in places for those least expecting it.


20. The Happiness of the Katakuris (Japan, 2001)


Takashi Miike has a habit of making films that are genre-bending and warped. The Happiness of the Katakuris takes The Quiet Family (Another great South Korean film, directed by Kim Jee-Woon) and flips it on its head. This film contains zombies, musical numbers, Claymation and a hotel that seems to only have guests that die in various horrific ways.

Author Bio: Paul D’Agostino is an Australian stand-up comedian and freelance writer currently teaching English in Japan. When he’s not watching movies, he can be found sporadically updating www.blogostino.com or on Twitter @4stancekungfu.