Netflix’s new South Korean action thriller film “Kill Boksoon” is the tale of a masterful assassin who struggles to find a balance between her professional and personal lives. Along with being a respected worker in the contract killer world, Gil Bok-soon is also a single mother to a teenage girl, Gil Jae-yeong, who she has had a tough time understanding in recent times. Although “Kill Boksoon” is mostly focused on high-paced action, there are also some elements that give a respite from this usual pace and make the film all the more interesting.
‘Kill Boksoon’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
Gil Bok-soon is a woman living two starkly different lives in her hometown of Seoul: working as a professional assassin on the one hand and constantly keeping that a secret in her personal life on the other. The fictional world of Korea in this work has a number of contract-killing agencies that indulge in taking orders from clients in exchange for high amounts of money for murder. Not only do such agencies exist rather easily in the underbelly of society, but they are also organized in a proper manner, with corporate-like hierarchies and strict guidelines that must be followed. Bok-soon works for one such organization, named MK Ent, and is considered the best “knife” or assassin in the company and perhaps even in the field. It is because of this that Gil is lovingly called Kill Bok-soon by her colleagues and associates.
“Kill Boksoon” begins with the woman facing off against a Japanese-Korean target, but she takes a slightly different approach to her work in this case. Along with the role of a fierce killer, Bok-soon also has to play the difficult role of a single mother to a teenage daughter who is always trying to question her mother’s actions. The daughter, Jae-young, had recently taught her mother about what is right and wrong in the world and how the unfair conditions of the world need to be questioned. Seemingly inspired by such ideas, Bok-soon gives her target a fair chance to fight back, but her instinct for ultimately ending her job successfully soon comes back. Bok-soon shoots her target dead while he is busy showing off his skills with a katana. It is evident that Bok-soon finds her professional role much easier than that of being Jae-young’s mother since the girl is increasingly growing more distant from her. In an effort to spend some more time with Jae-young, Bok-soon has been contemplating not renewing her contract at MK Ent and taking retirement from work. However, what she perhaps does not know is that such a decision will not be so easy to take and that it will all end with a finality more fierce than she can imagine.
How Had Bok-soon Become A Part Of The Contract Killer World?
Bok-soon’s boss is a man named Cha Min-kyu, who also happens to be powerful enough to head the entire crime syndicate, and it is the rules made by him that are followed by every contract killing agency in the country. These rules are simple enough: first, no minors can be killed; second, one can only take on assassinations that have been sanctioned by the agency or company they work for; and third, one must sincerely attempt an assassination that their company has assigned them to do. The very manner in which these crime syndicates have been shown to operate is interesting, for they take on the pretense of running some entertainment industry. Every assassination attempt is referred to as a “show,” and the more public attention a case gets or the number of cameras that a “show” can attract, the more praise the killer gets. Therefore, in this sense, Bok-soon’s lie to her daughter and everyone else that she works as an event planner is highly appropriate, as, after all, what she does can be referred to as putting up events or shows in exchange for money.
The crime syndicate, headed by Min-kyu and his MK Ent company, has also created a hierarchy among its workers with a structure with tiers, apparently based on the skills of the workers. Every worker, or contract killer, is assigned a grade, and they are then given jobs with the appropriate grade requirements. For Bok-soon, a grade-A employee, only the highest-paying and most dangerous, as well as prestigious assassinations, are offered. But in the case of her colleague and lover, Han Hee-seong, having a lower grade means that he is not given enough opportunities to work. Such is the organized structure of the hitman business that the companies now hire young men and women as trainee rookies and only some of them are allowed to make their much-awaited debut, just like it happens in the entertainment business. Kim Yeong-ji, a young woman, is one such rookie who apparently resembles Bok-soon a lot for her age. There also exist other killers who are not affiliated with any such companies, and out of desperation to get some work, they still sometimes take hit offers from outside, which is not something appreciated by the syndicate.
But long before any of this organizational structure had been brought into existence, Bok-soon was a young girl living a horrid life with an abusive policeman father who used to beat her up at every opportunity. Bok-soon was clearly frustrated with life, but it was not like she could do anything about it either. Probably because of his profession in the police, somebody had put out a hit on the father, and the assassin who took the job happened to be a young Cha Min-kyu. Although Min-kyu had been ordered to kill both the policeman and his teenage daughter, his decision changed on the spot when he first saw Bok-soon. Mesmerized by her beauty and charm, Min-kyu fell in love with her, and the fact that Bok-soon herself had happily participated in the killing of her father (which was being staged as a suicide) meant that there was no danger in letting her live either. Since then, Min-kyu has remained in love with Bok-soon, and they seem to have had a romantic relationship for some time in the past as well. Although “Kill Boksoon” does not explicitly mention it, there are suggestions that it is actually Min-kyu who is the biological father of Jae-yeong. This romantic angle and his preference for Bok-soon over anyone else do make others jealous, especially Min-kyu’s own incestuous younger sister, Cha Min-hee. The sister is always trying to find ways to bring Bok-soon down and does not mind getting her killed either.
Why Does Bok-Soon Have A Falling Out With Min-Kyu?
Despite being in the horrible profession of killing people for a living, Bok-soon has her priorities straight about keeping her principles higher than earning money. It is almost like Bok-soon agrees to be in this business only because there are certain guidelines and rules that keep things in place here. A direct conflict between her principles and her profession arises when she is assigned a specific task to be performed with the rookie Kim Yeong-ji. Bok-soon is required to kill a young man and stage the scene to appear like he had committed suicide. Her suspicions rise immediately when the man looks quite young to be a target, but Min-kyu clarifies that he is indeed not a minor but a young adult. Nonetheless, the question of who should be considered too young and the motive behind the murder rage inside Bok-soon’s mind, and she decides to investigate more into it, which is something that she intentionally never does in other instances. In this case, though, she finds out that the man is the son of a high-profile politician and a candidate to be the next prime minister.
Only sometime earlier, the politician had been involved in a scandal where he had paid bribes to get his son illegally selected at some reputed college. Realizing that the son was too tarnishing for his image still, the politician was now paying MK Ent to kill his very son and stage it as a suicide. With a daughter of almost the same age, Bok-soon obviously does not go through with this assassination and therefore flounders on the third rule of her profession. For quite some time, Bok-soon had been thinking of turning down a contract renewal, even though Min-kyu wanted her to keep working for him. She now makes use of the situation to save the politician’s son, telling Min-kyu that she will sign a contract extension if the company decides to drop the assassination attempt. Min-kyu does agree, but this promise is ultimately broken, which begins a long clash between Bok-soon and MK Ent.
Seeing this rule break as an easy opportunity to get rid of Bok-soon, the younger sister and director of the company, Cha Min-hee starts her own operation. She employs Han Hee-seong, the very lover of the woman she wants to destroy, to get her job done, and the man agrees since he has been desperately waiting for any job for a long time. Hee-seong is first instructed to kill the politician’s son, and then Bok-soon too, when the woman learns about this betrayal. It is only Kim Yeong-ji who sides with Bok-soon still, while the rest of her friends and associates try to kill her. Ultimately, the master assassin kills everyone, including her lover Hee-seong, and then moves on to take her own revenge. Meeting Min-hee at her office, Bok-soon is offered the contract extension, but she learns that her only supporter, Kim Yeong-ji, had also been killed by Min-kyu in order to remove the only witness to the failed assassination attempt. Bok-soon finally seems done with the entire company, and she kills Min-hee with the very pen that was offered to her to sign the contract extension. Bok-soon then sends the bloodied pen to Min-kyu as a symbolic gesture of sending one’s enemy a knife with blood on it, which signifies a call for duel between the two until one falls dead.
‘Kill Boksoon’ Ending Explained: Did Jae-young Find Out About Her Mother’s Profession?
Late that night, Bok-soon leaves her house to reach the MK Ent office, where she is soon met by her boss and ex-lover, Min-kyu. Ever since the very beginning, Bok-soon has been shown to have a special power of thinking ahead and anticipating the next step of her opponent, making her all the more fierce in her fights. Now, during this final confrontation, Bok-soon tries to use this imagination of hers but cannot come up with any specific plan for her attack since she imagines Min-kyu killing her no matter what. However, it is the most basic weapon, or advantage, that ultimately comes to the aid of Bok-soon, i.e., Min-kyu’s love and attraction for her. Just as she is about to kill the man, he reveals one last card up his sleeve: Min-kyu says that this entire fight was being recorded and was being streamed on a tablet device, which one of his men had just delivered to Bok-soon’s house. The woman had always been extremely particular about hiding her real profession from her daughter, for she did not want Jae-yeong to have a dangerous life like her. However, this final twist made it clear that Jae-yeong would definitely see her mother kill Min-kyu, and Bok-soon even imagined the shocked reaction of her daughter for a second.
Bok-soon does ultimately go ahead with the murder, killing Min-kyu, and then drives back to her house. She breaks down thinking about how she is going to face her daughter, but upon reaching home, Bok-soon is pleasantly surprised to see Jae-yeong sleeping in her room with no tablet device near her. As the two share a few soft words, Jae-yeong asks her mother to get some rest and also asks her to keep the door of her room open. As “Kill Boksoon” ends right here, there are different ways to look at this ending. It could be that Min-kyu had not actually sent anyone, and the fight was not being streamed at all, and he was only trying to make Bok-soon understand how she cannot always keep her murderous self a secret from her daughter. It could also be that Jae-yeong never noticed any tablet device and was, therefore, unaware of any of the things that had just occurred. Lastly, it is very much possible that Jae-yeong had actually watched the video of her mother fighting and killing a man, but she had decided to support her no matter what. It is not like Jae-yeong is very non-violent herself since she had already stabbed a boy in her school. It is also not that the girl was completely unaware of the kind of work her mother did; Jae-yeong did actually tell Bok-soon that she had found suspicious things in her bag and therefore believed that Bok-soon worked for the CIA. Despite the very grim circumstance, Bok-soon and Jae-yeong are, after all mother and daughter, and just like the mother earlier kept asking Jae-yeong to share things about her life with her, the girl too now wishes to be closer to Bok-soon, asking her to keep the door to her room open as the first step towards ensuring that there was no longer a barrier between the two.
‘Kill Boksoon’ Mid-Credits Scene Explained: What Does It Mean?
A mid-credits scene follows, in which the news playing on the TV at Bok-soon’s house announces that the politician who was hoping to be the next prime minister had been found dead inside his car. Although the police suspect this to be a suicide, we have by now seen multiple such instances to guess that Bok-soon must have killed the man as revenge for having got his own son murdered. Also, and more importantly, Jae-yeong is seen going back to her old school only to bid her best friend and ex-lover, So-ra, farewell. But Jae-yeong’s appearance and composure are quite different; looking more like her mother, as she tells So-ra that she had thought of either kissing her right in front of everyone or killing her. As she contains herself and walks away, pointing at the wound on the neck of the boy she had earlier attacked (and for whom she had to leave the school), it is quite clear that Jae-yeong definitely has got a confident, violent nature in her just like her mother, but she has also inherited the composure and principles of Bok-soon as well.