With its AI robots, Blade Runner-like world, and introductory action sequence, Netflix’s new hit JUNG_E is unlikely to leave anyone emotionally unmoved.
Directed by Yong Sang-ho, director of the memorable Korean peninsular zombie horror film Train to Busan, this sci-fi thriller follows a researcher and her team as they try to find the key to building the ultimate AI combat robot. The secret connection with the test subject and the ethical issues of cloning human consciousness add to the complexity. But mostly this is a heartfelt story about the relationship of mother and daughter, traveling through the war-torn gloomy Earth.
However, although initially the tension also makes you wait for something big and climactic, but it never appears. Viewers expect the whole storyline of JUNG_E to culminate in something explosive, but the way it ends up unfolding is by no means satisfactory as this exciting premise with great potential fizzles out in the second half as everyone continues to expect conflict just for the sake of it. in order to realize that the film is almost coming to an end.
What is the movie JUNG_E about?
Set in a dystopian future, JUNG_E tells the story of humans using artificial intelligence to win their wars for them and the consequences that follow.
At the center of the conflict in JUNG_E is Captain Yoon Zhuo-yi, a famed female warrior who lost her life on a combat mission and is now the subject of an effort by the global biotech corporation Chronoid to create an AI killing machine that decides to use the saved in the cryogenic mass the brain of the deceased. The scientist leading this project is Seo-hyun. Only a few of her colleagues know that she is the adult daughter of the subject of the experiment.
It should be noted that the intrigue of the plot was built on one key point, which was the meaning of the last mission of Captain Yun. As shown in the opening episode “JUNG_E”, Yun was defeated in her attempt to destroy the robot swarm. Using the memories stored in her brain, Chronoid created a simulation of this particular fight and made Yun relive it all over again. But each time the confrontation ended with the same deplorable result. Why exactly she lost was not clearly stated in the film itself, but from Yoon’s conversation with Seo-hyun, it can be inferred that her own personal feelings got in the way.
The fact is that shortly before she was shot, Yun looked at the doll given to her by her daughter. And, as confirmed at the end, she thought about it during the mission. From the looks of it, Yun was indeed distracted by her worries about her daughter and her potentially life-saving operation.
As the film progressed, So-hyun came to realize that the people she collaborated with didn’t respect her vision. One of the warning signs was the frustrated behavior of Chronoid representative Kim Sang Hoon and his outrage at the lack of progress. Briefly pointing a gun at Seo-hyun made it clear how desperate he was to complete projects, and helped signal to Seo-hyun that her mother’s DNA had fallen into the wrong hands.
Further strengthening her decision to destroy the results was the disturbing revelation that management had green-lit tests to see if Captain Yun could work as a sex bot. That her mother’s memory could be perverted for carnal pleasures rightly angered her, and it was enough to help her realize that their goals were not the same. Chronoid’s only real interest was profit, and they wouldn’t hesitate to use Yoon’s image even to create a female model for sex with completely different people.
So in addition to delivering the message that caused the re-created Yoon to rebel against the Chronoid, Seo-hyun faked the memories. Before the final fight, Seo-hyun confessed to Kim Sang-hoon that she erased Yoon’s memories of her. Despite their deep bond between mother and daughter, Seo-hyun decided to remove this fundamental part of Yoon’s personality. Her reasoning is reflected in the conversation they exchanged at the end of “JUNG_E” when Seo-hyun said, “Don’t worry about me anymore!”.
The unexpected turn of events had a much bigger impact on Kang Sung Hoon than it seems. After he was shot in the face, it was revealed that he himself is an artificial intelligence. It was a fact that even he himself had never known. As So-hyun pointed out, he was just a “toy” for the shadow chairman of Chronoid.
The idea that he was always the Chronoid’s weapon explains the superhuman agility and combat skills he displayed in the final fight with Yun. While it’s true that his abilities came out of nowhere, it makes sense that the chairman wouldn’t make a defenseless right hand out of himself. Not only did he need a disposable decoy to monitor his operations, but he also seemed to need an artificial intelligence well-equipped for combat situations.
The meaning of the film “JUNG_E”
After everything that has happened, Seo-hyun now realizes that the only way an android can “become free” is if she gets rid of her memories of her daughter. These emotions have held her back in the past, but if they are completely removed, she could theoretically enjoy a much less painful existence in the future. Also, it’s worth noting that their removal may have been a factor in Captain Yun’s ability to outsmart the scientists. She had lost all her previous fights, and the absence of those memories may have been what allowed her to pull this off so successfully.
Conversely, the “Jeon-yi” ending hinted that whatever Seo-hyun’s actions are, at least some of them somehow persist in Captain Yun’s mind. The familiar way Yoon nudged So-hyun as they embraced implied that their emotional connection still exists in some capacity, but how aware she is of their history remains ambiguous.
Explanation of the ending of the movie “JUNG_E”
Much of the film was an emotional story centered on the relationship between the two main characters, but the game-changing decision made by Seo-hyun also changed the film’s atmosphere and led to a tense climax. Here’s what happened at the end of JUNG_E and what it all means.
So, in the final simulation, Yoon appears to be shot, but when her body is taken away to be destroyed, she escapes thanks to the measures taken by So-hyun. The last shot of her looking at the sunrise teased of new adventures she could share after the end of JUNG_E. Due to her new appearance, Yun is unable to blend in with humans, making any semblance of a normal life seem impossible, leaving her future open to interpretation.
Seo-hyun herself transfers her brain into an ordinary android, and fights with Kim, who is actually also an android of the chairman of Chronoid. In a fight with him, Seo-hyun kills him. After that, Seo-hyun tells Yoon to live only for herself, after which she escapes and, now free from laboratory simulations, looks at the vast mountainous landscape.
As JUNG_E is set in a world where AI robots are developing their growing presence in the world, there’s a chance Yoon might find acceptance from others of his kind. Alternatively, she may have to take care of herself in the wilderness for many days to come.