Jung_E Plot And Ending Explained (Korean Film)

Jung_E is a 2023 Korean action science-fiction film written and directed by Sang-ho Yeon, who also brought us the runaway hit, Train To Busan. In the leading roles, the cast has Kim Hyun-joo, Ryu Kyung-Soo and Kang Soo-youn, who sadly passed away prior to the release of the film. The film is centred on a scientist using Artificial Intelligence and her mother’s brain’s data to build an unbeatable combat warrior. While the film’s initial premise is neat, the ending felt abrupt. Here’s the plot and ending of the Korean movie Jung_E explained; spoilers ahead.

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Contents

Here are links to the key aspects of the movie:

Jung_E: Plot Explained

What happened to Earth?

Nothing new, really. It’s the 22nd century, humans have destroyed Earth, and most people have had to flee to space stations. The space stations begin fighting with each other because humans never learn. Three of the space shelters group together to form the Adrian Republic, and the rest (including the handful on Earth) become the Allied Forces, and a war ensues for decades.

What is the Brain Replication program?

People who don’t want to die can opt for a digital copy of their minds. They have three packages to choose from.

Type A: This is a single private copy of the brain, which also secures human rights and covers a single-body prosthetic. This is the most expensive.

Type B: This is a public copy of the brain that the government can access and doesn’t offer human rights like marriage or adoption. While this is cheaper, it’s still a lot of money.

Type C: This is basically free, and you are the product. The brain data is owned by a certified company, and multiple clones will be created using this data. This is exactly like the free software (including social media) we use today, where we as users write off any ownership of our digital data on the app or platform.

Jung-yi jung_E Seo-hyun

Who was Yun Jung-yi?

Jung-yi was an ace mercenary on the side of the Allied Forces who was driven because of the escalating costs of her daughter’s cancer treatments.

Who is Yun Seo-hyun? What happened on Jung-yi’s last mission?

Seo-hyun is Jung-yi’s daughter and suffered from cancer in her younger years. On the day of her operation, in 2163, she offers Jung-yi a good luck doll, ironically leading to Jung-yi being distracted on the battlefield and shot down. Jung-yi goes into a coma, and the family is forced to allow her brain to be downloaded under the Type-C category, and in return, Seo-hyun’s education and living costs get covered.

Over the years, cancel culture has caused many people to blame Jung-yi for the continued war. Much like a critical player in any sport is criticized for that one performance and is attributed to the team’s loss.

Who is Kim Sang-hoon, and what is his connection to chairman Lee Dong-hee?

Jung_E Who is Kim Sang-hoon?

Chairman Dong-hee was one of the earliest rich folks to invest in the brain replication program. He wanted to live forever, so he created a robot, Sang-hoon, into which he could download his mind. But it was a failure. So over the years, he gets Sang-hoon to head the operation that would create Combat AI using Jung-yi’s replicated brain.

What is the Jung_E program?

Jung_E are the robotic clones of Jung-yi created and trained for combat. The test for the success of the Combat AI program, or the Turing Test, is to see if Jung_E is able to get past the point where Jung-yi originally got shot. Despite the efforts of the team, headed technically by Seo-hyun, they are unable to go past that point in the battle. Sang-hoon tries a variation where he shoots Jung_E in the leg; in this iteration, they notice a new area of Jung_E’s brain activated but don’t progress beyond this.

Why is the Jung_E program failing?

Jung-yi went into battle with the worry for her daughter, whose operation was scheduled on the same day. She regrets being on the battlefield instead of being beside her daughter. Jung-yi also loses the good luck charm that her daughter gives her, and looking at it causes Jung-yi to be distracted enough to be shot down. The yellow activity on the monitor is a representation of this.

Why does the chairman want to shut down the Jung_E program?

The war between the Alliance and the Adrian Republic is coming to a close as a peace treaty is being signed. There will no more be a need for Combat AI, and instead, the chairman asks Seo-hyun to focus her efforts on domestic help robots. Secretly, they also commission a sexbot variation of Jung_E to monetize whatever they can. Seo-hyun finds out about this and is devastated.

Jung_E Ending Explained: Why does Seo-hyun save Jung_E?

Jung_E ending explained

The ending of the movie Jung_E shows us that Seo-hyun subliminally instructs the final activated replica of Jung_E to fake her death and make a run for it. But Sang-hoon suspects something fishy, leading to an all-out showdown between robot cops, Jung_E and Sang-hoon.

Seo-hyun’s Guilt

Seo-hyun realizes that she was not only responsible for her mother’s death thanks to the good luck doll she gave her, but Jung-yi’s consciousness has also been living in purgatory through the Jung_E program. To make things worse, the company is looking to make sexbots out of her mother. Seo-hyun blames herself because her mother went to war as a result of her cancer, which has returned anyway. Jung-yi’s brain data was made clonable (Type-C) to support Seo-hyun’s continued medication, living and education costs. Seo-hyun wants at least one instance of her mother to be rid of worries for her daughter and live freely.

The Escape

Before the final iteration, Seo-hyun talks privately with the Jung_E bot and subliminally instructs it to act dead as the whole thing is a simulation. This message gets relayed to Jung_E like a dream in her daughter’s voice, and she follows the instruction. Seo-hyun also removes Jung_E’s feelings for her daughter, the yellow part. After the simulation, Jung_E makes a run for it. Sang-hoon rewatches the footage to realize that Jung_E faked her death and triggers Red Alert, although no one suspects Seo-hyun.

Other combat bots are sent after Jung_E. While Jung_E is able to take down most, one of them rips her arm off, and another begins choking her to death. Umm, Jung_E is a bot; she isn’t breathing; I’m not sure what the choking is all about other than Jung_E believing she’s dying. Thoughts anyone?

Brain Swap

Seo-hyun shows up, deactivates the combat bot, and swaps Jung_E’s brain into the combat bot. The cop bots shoot down Jung_E’s body but find out from surveillance footage about Seo-hyun’s switcheroo.

Jung_E and Seo-hyun run for it, and Sang-hoon shows up to stop them and shoots Seo-hyun. In the fight, he realizes that he’s not a human. Enraged, he attacks Jung_E, and the robot cops join in on the chaotic battle. After much metal-to-metal combat, Jung_E and Seo-hyun are the only survivors. Seo-hyun asks Jung_E to run away, be free, and start a new life. Though Jung_E’s feelings for her daughter were turned off, there are some fragments of it in her brain, and we see this in the way Jung_E give that cheek-to-cheek hug before leaving. 

Jung_E: Last Scene Meaning

The film’s final scene shows Jung_E on the run as she looks into the wilderness. She is a warrior bound to find ways to survive but will be hunted for a while to come. Seo-hyun’s guilt gave one Jung_E a free life – but is she really free? What would her purpose be? Her sentiment for her daughter is almost removed, the life as she knew it doesn’t exist. She’ll live as a feral metal creature constantly on the run, as tracking her is going to be rather easy as her body is company property and is bound to have location tracking. Jung_E has the brain of a person who would not have the technical knowledge to alter her body. It sure does feel like if the film went on for another 15 minutes, we’d see the company finding and taking Jung_E into custody, dead or alive.

What were your thoughts on the plot and ending of the Korean movie Jung_E? Do leave your comments in the section below.