Top 10 Best Asian Gangster Movies of All Time

Watching action movies is all-time fun & favorite pass time for every individual. In fact, movies play an important role in our life when we are stressed with extra workload, bored from routine life activities & need some relaxing moments with our family & friends. Therefore, keeping in mind the importance of movies, we are describing here 10 best Asian Gangster movies. The movies, we are introducing here can be viewed by audiences of every age group. High popularity of these movies is the result of plot on which the storyline is based and the natural performance of their actors, obviously. Provided below is the detailed description of top 10 best Asian gangster movies of all time. Choose your best one out of them!

Top 10 Best Asian Gangster Movies of All Time

10. A Better Tomorrow (1986)

A Better Tomorrow (1986) - Asian gangster movies

In Hong Kong, the gangsters Sung Tse-Ho and Mark are best friends. Ho’s younger brother Sung Tse-Kit wants to be a police officer and does not know that his brother is a criminal. When Ho travels with another criminal to Taiwan for a negotiation, he is betrayed and arrested by the police. Meanwhile Mark kills the gang that betrayed his friend. After three years, Ho is finally released from the prison and returns to Hong Kong. He finds that Kit hates him and is investigating the Mafia and Mark is limped and in complete misery. But Ho promises that he would not return to life of outlaw and prefers to work as taxi driver. However he is haunted by his past and the need of protecting his estranged brother.

The film was released on Aug 2, 1986 and directed by John Woo. “A Better Tomorrow” is a characteristic fable of male friendship, stoicism, courage, and men living by a personal code, in which women are marginalized. Lung Ti, Leslie Cheung & Yun-Fat Chow’s acting is just phenomenal.

9. Fireworks (1997)

Fireworks (1997)

A tragic story of a police men who wants to do everything for their loved ones in order to make them happy. Nishi, a cop, whose wife is near to death due to leukemia finds himself guilty for the permanent disability of one of his colleague while on job. Nishi left police department in order to spend more time with his dying wife. While doing good things for his loved ones, Nishi did something unacceptable that resulted into deadly consequences.

Fireworks is a Japanese masterpiece of director Takeshi Kitano. The beauty is the love story, the happiness between a cop & his wife. The movie was released in November, 1997 in Tokyo International Film Festival which stars Takeshi Kitano, Kayoko Kishimoto & Ren Osugi in lead role.

8. Ichi the Killer (2001)

Ichi the Killer (2001) - Asian gangster movies

When a Yakuza boss named Anjo disappears with 300 million yen, his chief member Kakihara, and the rest of his gang starts looking for him. During their search, they found a rival yakuza member & tortured him for answers. But they soon realize that they have the wrong man and continues search for the man named Jijii who tipped them off for the very first time. Very soon, Kakihara and his people encounter Ichi, a psychotic, sexually-repressed young man with amazing martial arts abilities. One by one, Ichi takes out members of the Yakuza while kakihara looking for the Ichi & his controller Jijii. When Kakihara encounters Ichi, everything was just near to death for Kakihara as the torture level of Ichi couldn’t be dreamed of.

Takashi Miike directed this movie in a perfect way. This action movie has some constituents of comedy as well which creates a light environment in-between. The Japanese movie released on Jul 25, 2002 is decorated with the star cast of Tadanobu Asano, Nao Ohmori, Shin’ya Tsukamoto & Pulyn Sun.

7. Infernal Affairs (2002)

Infernal Affairs (2002)

An idiom “Tit for Tat” holds good for the plot of Infernal affairs. Chan wing yan, a young police officer has been assigned an undercover task inside the local mafia for so long that he’s been able to reach a position of authority. Lau, a secret member of triads, infiltrates the police force with an equal level of success. Both Chan & Lau find themselves in dilemma while working for the opposite obligations of their real & fake superiors. With the course of time, Police & Mafia become increasingly aware of the moles in their respective departments. As this is dangerous for both, Chan & Lau tries to get out of the situation alive.

Infernal Affairs is directed by Wai-Keung Lau & Alan Mak. Andy Lau & Tony Chiu-Wai Leung are the lead stars in this movie who are primarily supported by excellent performances of Anthony Chau Sang-Wong, Eric Tsang, Kelly Chan, Sammi Cheng & Edison Chen. Infernal Affairs was released in 2002 (Dec 12, 2002).

6. Oldboy (2003)

Oldboy (2003)

The plot of movie is based upon a kidnapping and revenge by its victim. Screen starts with a kidnapping of Oh Dae-Su on a rainy night in 1988 on the day of his daughter’s birthday. He had been captivated for fifteen long years in a completely closed room for an unknown reason. Television was the only source which helped Oh Dae-Su kept going. One day, he is suddenly released with a cellphone, clothes & some money. After his release, he kept on looking for the captor. While looking for revenge, Dae-Su discloses deep secrets from his past.

Oldboy is a multi-starrer film leading with Min-sik choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-han ji and Dal-su Oh. This South Korean mystery-thriller movie was released on Nov 21, 2003 and directed by Chan-wook Park. Oldboy is a must-watch movie for mystery & action lovers.

5. A bittersweet life (2005)

A bittersweet life (2005) - Asian gangster movies

The story plots around the lead character, Kim Sun-woo, who is the manager of a hotel owned by a criminal minded boss, Kang. Sun-Woo was assigned to shadow his boss’s young mistress, Heesoo, whom he fears may be cheating on him with another, younger man. Sun-Woo had clear instructions to kill them both if he discovers their affair, but he decides to spare their life at his own expense. The final scene shows Sun-Woo looking out of a window at the city below him and then beginning to shadowbox his reflection in the glass. The ending is left ambiguous, as the viewer is unsure if everything that happened was a dream or if it is only a flashback.

Director Jee-woon Kim inserted few funny moments in the film which help the viewer lighten up. The stunning performances from the lead actors Byung-hun Lee, Min-a Shin, Yeong-Cheol Kim & Jung-min Hwang makes it worth watching. A Bittersweet Life was released on April 1, 2005 & presented in Thessaloniki film festival in November, 2005.

4. A Dirty Carnival (2006)

A Dirty Carnival (2006) - Asian gangster movies

The plot of the story is a 29-year-old gangster, Byung Doo, who works under the command of Sang-Shui in the mobster organization of the boss Hwang. Byung-Doo is facing financial problems to support his old mother and his younger siblings. Byung-Doo sees the chance to prove his loyalty to Hwang when he finds that Hwang is pressed by the corrupt prosecutor Park, in order to climb positions in his criminal career and improve his income. Doo kills Park and bury his body and the secret with his partner Jong-Soo. Later, Byung-Doo goes to a high school reunion with Min-Ho where he meets his high school crush Hyun-Joo. One night, after arguing with Hyun-Joo, Byung-Doo gets drunk and makes confidences to Min-Ho about his secret, affecting his relationship in the criminal organization and friendship.

A Dirty Carnival is the class in Asian Gangster Movies. Director “Ha Yoo’s “direction makes this movie truly amazing. The action sequences, the music & the acting are all fantastic. Great work from lead star cast In-sung jo, Ho-jin Chun & Namgoong Min adds an immense beauty to the film. The film made his first mark on Jun 15, 2006.

3. The Man from Nowhere (2010)

The Man from Nowhere (2010) - Asian gangster movies

The movie is full of Action, criminal intent & thrill. But at the same time, we can say that movie is emotional also at some instances. The story starts with a character Tae-Shik, who has a violent past & currently running a pawn shop. His complete life revolves around a little girl So-mi, who lives nearby. Hyo-jeong, So-mi’s mother is a dancer in a night club, who smuggles drugs from a Chinese trafficker & hides it in the pawn shop secretly. Very soon, traffickers came to know about Hyo-jeong & kidnap both Hyo & So-mi. The traffickers made a deal with Tae-Shik & promises to release both of them, if he makes a delivery for them. But one day Tae-shik found the disemboweled body of Hyo-jeong & realizes that So-mi’s life may also be in danger. Without skipping a second Tae-shik prepares himself for a battle.

Director Jeong-beom Lee succeeded to show a beautiful relationship between Tae & So-mi that attracts the first half of movie. Bin won, Sae-ron Kim, Tae-hoon Kim & Hee-woon Kim did complete justice with their characters. The Man From Nowhere was released on Aug 5, 2010 & had been superhit worldwide. We can call it as one of the best Asian Gangster movies.

2. The Yellow Sea (2010)

The Yellow Sea (2010) - Asian gangster movies

If you are a die-hard fan of action-thriller movies, then you must watch “The Yellow Sea”. It is the story of a cab driver in the Yanbian Province of China. He is overloaded from the gambling debt and his wife has gone missing while working abroad in Korea. A local gangster offered him with a deal that his debts would be paid off and he would get a chance to find his wife in exchange for murdering a man on South Korean soil.

Director Hong-jin Na has beautifully crafted this movie right from the beginning. Lead stars Jung-woo ha, Yun-seok Kim & Sung-ha Jo performed exceptionally well. For sure, it would be difficult for anyone to move his/her eyes from the movie for a second. This South Korean product was released on Dec 2, 2011 (USA) and been appreciated a lot worldwide.

1. Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)

Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) - Asian gangster movies

This Indian movie is inspired by the real-life exploits of local gangs and beginning with the bandit-like career of Shahid Khan in the 1940s, the film follows the ruthless rise of his son Sardar and his offspring, Danish, Perpendicular and Definite Khans. Gangs of Wasseypur mirrors the explosive growth of modern India with ferocious cinematic intensity. The least likely of Sardar’s children – the perpetually stoned Faizal who rises to the top ranks of the Khan crime family, vowing brutal revenge on their longtime rival, the wily and seemingly unstoppable Ramadhir Singh.

Gangs of Wasseypur is directed by Anurag Kashyap & is one of the most voted Asian Gangster movies. The film stars Manoj Bajpayee, Richa Chadha & Nawazuddin Siddiqui as a lead role. The movie first appeared in theatres on Jun 22, 2012 in India & on Aug 2, 2012 in Singapore.


Action movie lovers are equally available to comedy movie lovers. The action/gangster movies are very popular among young generations, especially among school and college going students. Like comedy movies, the movies described above are real-masterpiece for action lovers, in which few of the Asian gangster movies are just fantastic in their own way.

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