Jung-E without flesh
"Jung-E without flesh," Jung-E, directed by Yeon Sang-ho, 2023, (Netflix)

“JUNG-E” is the same kind of surprise that “Squid Games” was, but with a lower time commitment.

Director(s) Yeon Sang-ho
Screenplay By Yeon Sang-ho
Based On N/A
Date Released (Netflix) 1/20/2023
Genre(s) Action, Drama, Sci-Fi, Non-English (Korean)
Duration 99 Minutes
Content Rating Rated TV-14
Noted Cast
Yun Seo-hyun Kang Soo-yeon
Yun Jung-yi Kim Hyun-joo
Kim Sang-Hoon Ryu Kyung-soo

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links which, if a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

Film Summary

Humanity ruined the Earth and thus began expanding and transitioning out into space. Naturally, factions began in the process of this, and the Adrian Republic was born and immediately went to war with what became known as “The Alliance” for its independence. But, with war comes opportunity, and being that Seo-hyun and her mother were poor and Seo-hyun had cancer, her mother saw the opportunity of being a mercenary as a means to pay for what her daughter needed to survive.

And ultimately, while Jung-yi failed in a mission that could have ended the war, she bought her daughters decades of life. However, in exchange, Jung-yi became both a war hero and owned by the Kronoid company.

You see, alongside the technology becoming so great that humanity was transitioning to space, duplicating someone’s brain became an option, and three types of rights were offered to those who wished to do this procedure. Type-A gave you near human autonomy, where you may have a robotic body but have full control over your mind. Type-B meant the government had access to your mind, with some limited autonomy, and Type-C made you the mercy of whatever company owned your brain. So, you would be immortal, but as shown with Jung-yi, you could become anything from a combat AI to potentially a sex doll.

Enter Seo-hyun, decades after her mom’s death, trying to make it so her mother could finish what she started and potentially recover the reputation of her being the reason the war continued on for decades. But, between waning interest in the “Jung-e” project, no real advancement, and faith beginning to be lost in the director of the project, Kim Sang-Hoon, Seo-hyun is running out of time. Not just because of lack of funding or general investment but also because the cancer has come back and metastasized.

Things To Note

Why Is “Jung-E” Rated TV-14

  • Dialog: No real notable cursing
  • Violence: So much gun violence, but mainly between robots with very little violence against humans
  • Sexual Content: Sexual imagery, but only in one scene with a pervert
  • Miscellaneous: Nothing notable

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Seo-hyun

Yun Seo-hyun (Kang Soo-yeon)
“Yun Seo-hyun (Kang Seo-yeon),” Jung-E, directed by Yeon Sang-ho, 2023, (Netflix)

As a child, Seo-hyun was poor and sickly, but thanks to her mom, she lived for decades, became well-educated, and even found herself using her mom’s still-alive brain to create combat AI to finish what her mom started. Though, in time, questions over whether her mom’s sacrifice was worth it, and if she blamed Seo-hyun for her death haunted Seo-hyun. Hence her taking on the task of testing robots who looked like her mom, even if watching over a dozen die, fail, and be decommissioned, became a daunting task.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Moon Hee in “Moon Hee”

Jung-yi

Yun Jung-yi (Kim Hyun-joo) talking to her daughter before her surgery
“Yun Jung-yi (Kim Hyun-joo) talking to her daughter before her surgery,” Jung-E, directed by Yeon Sang-ho, 2023, (Netflix)

Like most parents, Jung-yi was willing to do anything for her daughter, including taking part in a war that had no consideration for those of her socio-economic status. But, in the pursuit of being a mercenary to pay for her bills, she ended up gaining the reputation of a war hero. Which got threatened after a war-ending mission went awry.

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Kim Hye Ju in “Trolley,” Min Hye-jim in “Hellbound” and Choi Yeon Soo in “Undercover.”

Sang-Hoon

Kin Sang-Hoon (Ryu Kyung-soo) learning his project has been downgraded
“Kin Sang-Hoon (Ryu Kyung-soo) learning his project has been downgraded,” Jung-E, directed by Yeon Sang-ho, 2023, (Netflix)

Sang-Hoon is the eccentric leader of the group tasked with making Jung-yi’s combat experience into a mass-producible combat AI known as “Jung-e.”

  • You May Also Know The Actor From Being: Kang Geon in “Lovestruck in the City,” Deacon Yu-ji in “Hellbound,” and Choi Seung Kwon in “Itaewon Class.”

Review

Our Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Highlights

It Lacks Fluff Yet Still Delivers What You Expect And More

A lot of action films feel the need to stuff everything and more into the film. They need every kind of character archetype and lots of views so you can see all the VFX they spent money on, multiple grand action scenes, and so much more. “Jung-E” doesn’t do that.

“Jung-e” sticks to the core story and doesn’t introduce b-storylines. Everything is about Seo-hyun wanting to revive her mother being seen as a war hero rather than a scapegoat for the reason the war continued. Her guilt over her mom even ending up in a coma and being exploited by the Kronoid company is made clear, as is why Jung-yi failed.

Then, to make it more than an action film about redemption, they create a clear and affecting relationship between Jung-yi and Seo-hyun, as mother and daughter, even when Seo-hyun is talking to “Jung-e” more so than her mom. One that led us to tears and add in a bittersweet ending, and you get a film that gets in, does what is expected, gets out, and makes it so, while you may want more, you can still feel satisfied.

Jung-E without flesh
Jung-E (2023) – Review/ Summary (with Spoilers)
Overall
“Jung-e” is the rare action film that realizes that, as much as visuals matter, at the end of the day, it is about story, and there are many talented individuals who don’t need two or three hours of bloat to tell a story. Some know how to present an emotional arc, what drives the lead character, and quality action scenes within around 90 minutes, including the credits. Here is hoping this doesn’t remain an outlier but a return to when films weren’t a questionable time commitment.
Highlights
It Lacks Fluff Yet Still Delivers What You Expect And More
Disputable
84

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