Ballerina (2023) Ending Explained – How does Ok-ju get her revenge?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: October 6, 2023 (Last updated: October 10, 2023)
Ballerina (2023) Ending Explained - How does Ok-ju get her revenge?

It’s almost a little redundant to explain the ending of Ballerina (2023), a South Korean action-thriller streaming on Netflix with a plot so thin that if it turned sideways it would disappear.

Nevertheless, one might as well give it a go, especially since there are some sequences well worth describing in detail, a refreshing depiction of female friendship – I got a romantic vibe from it but nobody else seemed to, so I’ll leave it alone – and, perhaps most importantly of all, a flamethrower.

Needless to say, major spoilers will follow, though given you can predict the ending of this movie from about ten minutes in, I’m not sure the warning is necessarily needed.

Ballerina (2023) Ending Explained

So, here’s the general idea. Ok-ju (Jeon Jong-seo) is a former close-protection specialist whose best and only friend, Min-hee (Park Yu-rim), commits suicide. She does so because of the pressures of a brutal sex trafficking ring; a middle boss of which, Choi Pro (Jong-seo’s Money Heist: Joint Economic Area co-star Kim Ji-hoon), was blackmailing her into compliance under threat of revealing footage of him raping her.

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With that grim premise established, Ok-ju sets out, thanks to a note Min-hee left behind imploring her to take revenge on her behalf, to kill everyone even remotely associated with the gang, sympathetically bonding with another of its unnamed slave girls in the meanwhile.

When this girl is once again kidnapped and taken to the gang’s hideout, Ok-ju gets really annoyed, blessing the film’s final third with some of its most impressive, bloodiest action sequences and a final bit of catharsis for herself and the audience.

Ok-ju takes no prisoners

Ok-ju finds the gang’s secret lair of sorts by scaring its location out of a guy she maimed earlier at the seedy motel where Choi took his “dates” – including Min-hee.

Thanks to the old, faulty weaponry she bought off an eccentric couple in the film’s only pleasingly weird little flourish, Ok-ju is forced to improvise in what is essentially a massacre of most of the gang’s leadership — the movie’s best sequence by far.

To put a cherry on the whole matter, Ok-ju leaves one man alive to interrogate him by filling his mouth with broken glass and giving him a good old smack – a torture method that wasn’t very fun when I first saw it in Call of Duty: Black Ops and remains rather unpleasant here.

Why does Choi kill the pharmacist?

Eventually, Ok-ju is shot – though not fatally – by the disfigured and increasingly frantic Choi Pro, who has spent the entire movie being thoroughly emasculated and embarrassed by our heroine. Choi also shoots the gang’s greedy pharmacist, mostly since there’s nobody left alive to deal with the admin of paying him.

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The kidnapped slave girl uses this opportune moment to take a potshot at Choi, which misses, but serves a nice distraction for Ok-ju to mess him up and shove him in the boot of his car.

How does Ok-ju get her revenge?

The women take Choi to the beach, where Chekhov’s flamethrower, which was teased earlier by the mad old couple, comes into play.

Choi, terrified at this point, screams that Ok-ju is just blowing things out of proportion, which seems quite an extraordinary claim given the things he has gotten up to throughout. He’s mostly confused, though, since he doesn’t realize why Ok-ju has such a vendetta against him until she namechecks the ballerina, Min-hee.

Perhaps recognizing the inevitability of his fate, Choi spends his final moments vilely taunting Ok-ju about what he’ll do to Min-hee in Hell when he gets there, a bit like the girl from The Exorcist does with Max von Sydow, and Ok-ju finally barbecues him with the flamethrower in a beautiful side-on shot.

A final flashback reveals that the beach was a special, secret place for Ok-ju and Min-hee, so there was some personal significance in taking Choi there to meet his demise. His crackling body makes for a nice final shot to this nasty, thin revenge thriller.

What did you think of the ending of Ballerina (2023)? Let us know in the comments.

READ: Is Ballerina on Netflix a true story? 

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