Ballerina (2023)

Posted in Reviews by - December 27, 2023
Ballerina (2023)

Jeon Jong-seo steals the show in this slick Korean revenge thriller which follows the trend for bad-ass, female-led Asian punch-a-thons like The Villainess and the excellent series My Name. As ice-cold killer Ok-ju, she ends up smashing, shooting and flame-throwing her way through a gang of Korean drug pushers in her quest to find and kill Choi (Kim Ji-hoon), a billionaire playboy with a side-hustle in rape and revenge porn. One of his victims is Ok-ju best friend (and lover?), a ballerina named Min-hee (Park Yu-rim), who ends up taking her own life after being assaulted by Choi, sparking Ok-ju’s quest for vengeance. Jeong carries a resigned look of apathy throughout her killing spree, brightened only in flashback scenes which explore her relationship with Min-hee, although it’s never quite certain whether their relationship is anything more than plutonic. She throws herself into the visceral fight scenes, which are edited a little too zealously, although the energy and emotion still lands. It looks stunning throughout with a wonderful neon-tinged haze added to much of the mise-en-scène making it feel ethereal in parts, while the K-pop soundtrack gives it a contemporary buzz and freshness. The story and script don’t offer too much in the way of originality, but if you’re in the mood for a stylish slice of ultra-violence, this delivers.

This post was written by
Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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