Hard Days Ending Explained – Who gets the money from the vault?

By Lori Meek
Published: November 30, 2023
Hard Days Ending Explained
Hard Days Key Art | Image via Netflix

Netflix’s Japanese thriller Hard Days is a remake of a Korean film and the fourth adaptation of the same material. The film’s ending comes after a consistently suspenseful two hours, providing the payoff for the ongoing feud between two cops on a collision course as well as revealing the forces that have pitted them against each other. 

The film starts by introducing our protagonist, Yuji, as he’s drunk driving his way to the hospital to visit his dying mother. Yuji’s tendency to take bribes from Yakuza members has thrown him in the middle of an internal affairs investigation, and his police chief seems more than happy to place the entirety of the blame on him. 

When his estranged wife calls to tell him of his mother’s passing, a shocked Yuji accidentally hits a young man who stumbled in front of his vehicle, killing him instantly. Desperate, the detective takes the man’s body in the trunk of his car and comes up with a rather ingenious (and callous) way to dispose of the body. 

In comes Yakazi, the internal affairs officer investigating Yuji and the sole witness to the accident. But it seems Yakazi is not interested in seeing his colleague face justice for what he’s done. Instead, he wants to retrieve the young man’s body for his financial gain.

We soon learn that Oda, the young man Yuji ran over, was far from innocent. Oda was a small-time drug dealer who stole the key to a vault where Yakazi and his equally corrupt boss/father-in-law, Uematsu, stashed billions of yen. The night Yuji accidentally ran over Oda, Yakazi was desperate to find the young man and retrieve the key. 

How did Oda die?

However, it wasn’t the accident that killed Oda. On that fateful night, it was Yakazi who shot the young man to death before he stumbled in front of Yuji’s car. Poor Oda wasn’t Yakazi’s only victim that night. The officer also killed his father-in-law, Uematsu, in a fit of rage after the older man threatened to ruin his career and force him to separate from his new wife.

After Yakazi beats him in the parking lot and demands Oda’s body, Yuji has no other choice but to try and stop the cremation and retrieve the dead man from inside the casket. Luckily, he gets help from his reluctant friend and colleague, Kugayama.

After placing Oda back in the trunk of Yuji’s car, the two detectives notice the young man’s gunshot wounds on his back. They then use Oda’s phone to set up a meeting with his girlfriend, Mayuko, and they finally figure out why Yakazi is so desperate to get the body. Oda has the keycard on his person, and Yakazi needs the dead man’s fingerprints to enter through one of the safe’s doors. 

As Kugayama and Yuji are trying to come up with a plan, Yakazi calls, and he’s less than pleased with the other detective’s involvement in the case. So he does what any sane person would – he murders Kugayama and orders Yuji to come to a meeting point before he does the same to his little daughter. 

How does Yuji rescue his daughter?

At the meet-up, everything goes almost according to plan. Yuji gives Oda’s body to Yakazi and safely recovers the little girl. But of course, Yuji planted a timed bomb with the body, so before Yakazi could drive away with his newfound riches, he exploded. 

Yuji drops his daughter off safely with his son-to-be ex-wife, then heads to the vault and uses Oda’s keycard and severed finger to open it. As he’s debating whether to help himself with some of the cash, Yakazi shows up and starts shooting at him. 

Yakazi somehow survived the explosion, only for the two men to engage in a showdown inside the money vault. 

Who gets the money from the vault?

The clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve when Yuji successfully defeats his adversary. He’s then blindsided by the Yakuza member, Semba, whose plan all along was to steal the money from the vault and use both Yuji and Yakazi as pawns in his game. 

When he wakes up the following morning, a severely injured Yuji hobbles back to his car and calls his wife, begging her to give their marriage a second chance. After the phone call, our detective is surprised by none other than Yakazi, who is somehow still alive. 

How does Hard Days end?

The film ends with both badly injured men racing each other in their beat-up cars. Considering the vault had already been emptied by Semba the previous night, it’s unclear why Yakazi and Yuji are still fighting each other. 

The end credit scene adds further context into why Oda stole the keycard from Yakazi in the first place. It turns out that the young man owed money to the Yakuza, more specifically to Semba, who spent the entire movie playing the two detectives up against each other. 

What did you think of the ending of Hard Days? Comment below.

Endings Explained, Movies, Movies - Ending Explained, Netflix, Streaming Service