Ballerina (2023) Netflix Review: A Gripping Korean Action Thriller

In Netflix’s latest South Korean offering, Ballerina, director Lee Chung-Hyun crafts an action-packed thriller that explores themes of friendship, vengeance, and justice. Starring Jeon Jong-Seo and Kim Ji-Hoon, the film takes us on a gripping journey as it delves into the darker aspects of society.

The Star-Studded Cast: A Reunion of Talent

Jeon Jong Seo and Kim Ji Hoon in the promotional posters for Ballerina
Kim Ji-Hoon and Jeon Jong-Seo in from Netflix’s Ballerina.

Jeon Jong Seo, who gained fame as Tokyo in Money Heist: Korea – Joint Economic Area, takes centre stage as Ok-Joo. She’s joined by Kim Ji-Hoon, also from the same series, who plays the role of Denver. The duo’s chemistry is palpable, adding depth to the film’s complex narrative.

The Plot: A Quest for Justice

Ballerina revolves around Ok-Joo, a former bodyguard grappling with a traumatic past. She reunites with her friend Min-Hee, a ballerina, only for tragedy to strike. When Min-Hee takes her own life, she leaves Ok-Joo with a mission: To avenge her death.

Ok-Joo embarks on a relentless quest, setting her sights on Choi-Pro, a criminal with a penchant for heinous acts.

Subtext and Missed Opportunities: Reading Between the Lines

The film hints at a deeper relationship between Ok-Joo and Min-Hee but leaves this subplot frustratingly unexplored. This narrative gap leaves viewers questioning the extent of their friendship and craving more depth in the storyline.

The Antagonist: A Portrait of Evil

Kim Ji Hoon portraying the villainous Choi Pro in Ballerina
Kim Ji-Hoon in a scene from Ballerina

Choi-Pro, portrayed by Kim Ji-Hoon, is the quintessential villain. With a history of drug trafficking, sexual abuse, and murder, he embodies the darkness that Ok-Joo seeks to eradicate. His character adds a layer of urgency and danger to Ok-Joo’s mission.

Action Sequences: A Ballet of Violence

Well-choreographed action scenes featuring Jeon Jong-Seo were a joy to watch.

The film shines in its action scenes, masterfully choreographed to showcase Jeon Jong-Seo’s skills in martial arts and weaponry. These sequences serve as a testament to Ok-Joo’s training and previous life as a bodyguard.

Jeon Jong-Seo deserves praise here for her physicality and determination throughout the film’s fight sequences. She leaves no doubt about her character’s capabilities to take on goons twice her size.

Emotional Depth: The Heart of the Film

Park Yoo-Rim shines as the tragic Ballerina Min-Hee.
Min-Hee is a talented but struggling ballerina who dreams of making it big.

The movie does an excellent job of portraying the emotional toll of loss and revenge. Park Yoo-Rim shines as Min-Hee the titular Ballerina. Min-Hee’s charming and cheerful persona easily wins over the troubled loner Ok-Joo giving her a much-needed reason to leave her violent past.

Through Ok-Joo’s flashbacks, we get glimpses of Min-Hee’s vibrant personality, making her untimely death all the more tragic. All in all, director Lee Chung-Hyun crafted a visually stunning masterpiece reminiscence of acclaimed Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai’s highly stylised works.

The cinematography and attention to detail in Ballerina deserve high praise.

A Must-Watch Thriller

Ballerina may tread familiar ground, but its execution sets it apart. With its compelling characters, well-crafted action scenes, and emotional depth, this Netflix original is a must-watch for fans of the genre.

Stay tuned for more K-Entertainment news! In the meantime, check out these other articles:

Read | The Ultimate K-Drama Binge List for October 2023

Read | 10 Historical K-Dramas you can’t afford to miss

FOLLOW US on our social pages and let us know what you think: FACEBOOK | TWITTER (X) | INSTAGRAM