Netflix’s latest South Korean revenge thriller Ballerina combines stunning visuals and punchy music with good old South Korean violence to dish out a revenge thriller that knows how to play its cards well, no matter how few they are in number. Ballerina follows the former private bodyguard, Ok-ju (Jun Jong-seo), who ends up on a path of revenge upon discovering that her best friend, Min-hee (Park Yu-rim), has committed suicide. When she finds out about the role of a local gangster in her friend’s untimely death, she lets her lethal side take over and sets out to seek vengeance in a rather bloody fashion. At the end of Ballerina, Ok-ju avenges the death of Min-hee by burning Choi Pro (Kim Ji-hoon) alive using a flamethrower, making an action style-statement even before dropping the curtains in the final moments. But it’s what follows the barbecue in the climax that evokes the most excitement.

A revenge thriller won’t be any good without the punishment and penance following the chaos and death in the end. However, Ballerina’s ending robs Choi Pro of attracting even an iota of sympathy from viewers who were made to hate him to the core (not that any redemption was in any way possible for the character) by this point in the movie. If anything, Ballerina quickly establishes that forgiveness is a fate that Choi Pro doesn’t deserve. The dreaded nature of Choi Pro’s character, who shows no sign of remorse even when death stares into his eyes, helps add to the feeling of satisfaction emanating from his scary fate. But before its closing moments, Ballerina decides to bring about a change in the life of Ok-ju by lending her a greater purpose to seek, setting up a possible sequel that may see Ok-ju carrying out more carnage.

When the scene shifts from Choi Pro’s burning Lamborghini to Choi Pro’s residence, Ok-ju is seen paying a visit to retrieve the data drives containing the videos of other girls, preyed upon by the film’s antagonist. During her retrieval, she also finds a diary containing the details of Choi Pro’s customers who availed Choi Pro’s services to gain access to his dark repository. In the final moments of Ballerina, Ok-ju can be seen speeding on her bike, with a sense of purpose reflecting in her eyes, as the rising sun shines on her face. It’s very well possible that Ok-ju is on her way to ensure that nobody else meets the same fate as her dear friend, by retrieving any evidence that may exist. In this context, avenging her friend is not the only goal Ok-ju has achieved throughout the film. Although by pure chance, she had helped save a school girl who was enslaved at the hotel Choi Pro used to bring his victim. When Choi Pro kidnapped the girl later, Ok-ju showed no mercy to anyone who stood in her way. Possibly, although Ok-ju remained a recluse for much of her life, Ok-ju has realized that she can save many others who may need her, just like Min-hee did.

By placing the pivotal diary in the hands of Ok-ju through pure coincidence, Ballerina sets up a story that may more than be a saga of personal vengeance. But one question still remains. With the actual ballerina’s story (Min-hee’s story) coming full circle with Choi Pro’s death, does it make sense to have a Ballerina 2? This is where the exchange between Ok-ju and Choi Pro becomes crucial. When Ok-ju is faced with a confused Choi Pro who isn’t aware of the reason he’s being tormented, Ok-ju introduces herself as the “Ballerina.” Choi Pro labeled the data drive containing Min-hee’s compromising videos with the same title. At this moment, Ok-ju embraces the identity, although it didn’t belong to her originally. It’s as if Min-hee and Ok-ju unite at this moment. It also hints that Ok-ju may have now decided to set out on her own path in search of freedom — something she might achieve by helping other girls similar to Min-hee. The revelation that Min-hee desired to be a fish, as she believed it would help her become free, adds to the choice of Ok-ju. Min-hee may be dead, and her story may be over with the death of Choi Pro, but certainly, the “ballerina” can live on through Ok-ju.

Finally, much like John Wick‘s ending, Ok-ju has caused ample damage to create ripples among groups of dangerous people who may come hunting. It would have been a different ending if Ok-ju only killed Choi Pro, but she went a step further by killing his boss, who, in all fairness, seemed pretty powerful and intimidating until Ok-ju put a hole in his head. Moreover, it’s not beyond consideration that Choi Pro’s client list may consist of some dangerous perverts. Importantly, very little is revealed about Ok-ju’s personal life beyond her interactions with Min-hee. For a brief moment, Ok-ju meets her former colleague to get the contact of an old couple who’d help her with the firearms she needs in her mission. Let’s not forget the old pair of gun dealers who help Ok-ju with the flamethrower, which she ultimately uses to roast Choi Pro. If a sequel were to be explored, these characters may be seen with more pivotal roles to play. Moreover, there’s a great deal of background to be explored when it comes to the film’s deadly protagonist. Taking into account the multiple untied threads in Ballerina, there’s ample to suggest that a sequel may very well materialize for this stylized South Korean revenge thriller. Not only does Ballerina’s ending show promise for Ok-ju, but it also hints at a potential future for the film.

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