Hunt (2022) is a South Korean action-thriller directed by Lee Jung-Jae and starring him, Jung Woo-sung, Go Yoon Jung, Jeon Hye-jin, and Heo Sung-Tae. It’s a concoction of fictionalized accounts of South Korean political events from the early 1980s, combined with some extremely gritty action sequences. The problem with it is how it undermines what is otherwise a fairly critical look at a most turbulent period of South Korean history by being an action film. Moving at a breakneck pace from beginning to end, it can be convoluted to grasp from time to time but is quite a rewarding watch nonetheless, that never overplays it but has a distinct emotional core that ranges from patriotism to filial love.




 

Hunt (2022) Plot

It is 1983, and Korean students in the US are protesting against the diplomatic visit of their President Chun Doo-hwan, a military dictator, to Washington. Chief Park, head of the KCIA’s Foreign Unit, and Chief Kim, head of the KCIA’s Domestic Unit, are part of the President’s security detail. Though they’re colleagues, they share a hostile history since, following the previous President’s illegal deposition, all KCIA agents were interrogated. Kim, then in the army, was Park’s interrogator, and the latter was physically injured by the former. A CIA operative informs the KCIA’s director that it’s essential for the current Korean president to hold on to power as it is essential to American military presence in the Asia-Pacific region. An assassination attempt on the President takes place but is foiled when following a chase, Kim kills the last member of the team, much to Park’s chagrin since he wanted information from them. 

Hunt 2022 Ending Explained

Back in South Korea, the KCIA is terrorized by the knowledge that a mole is part of the agency. He is known by the name of Donglim and is a North Korean spy who has infiltrated them, passing on their information to his countrymen. It is Donglim who leaked the President’s itinerary for his US visit, causing his life to come under threat. Across South Korea, student protests against the regime are being suppressed violently by the police as they arrest students en masse, keeping them in custody for large spans of time, as well as beating and torturing them.




The KCIA is hard at work to find Donglim. When a North Korean nuclear physicist with sensitive information wants to defect, a team is sent to Japan to take him in. But conflicting orders from the KCIA’s chief cause mayhem. The physicist dies, and his family is abandoned and left at the mercy of North Korean forces. The KCIA’s chief of Japanese operations gets wounded fatally and goes into a coma. Following this, Park uncovers the director’s corrupt dealings that caused the Japanese mission to extract Pyo and his family and the 417 spec ops mission to fail through an illegal internal investigation that forces him to resign.

Director Ahn becomes the new head and resorts to dirty tactics in order to speed up the discovery of Donglim’s identity. He plays Kim and Park against each other to facilitate this process by asking each to investigate the actions of the other. Things get serious when Kim arrests Cho Yoo-Jung, a university student that Park is watching over, following her father’s death in a mission that the two were a part of. Yoo-Jung is tortured and humiliated as a suspected North Korean spy. On the other hand, Park strikes Kim by raiding the office of Jupiter Corp, a military supply contractor. The head of that company, CEO Choi, is someone with whom Kim has a shady connection. This uncovering of each other’s past, associations, work, and secrets causes a veritable storm as the KCIA is split down the middle in its search for the elusive mole, Donglim.




 

What is Operation Hunt Peter? 

Operation Hunt Peter is the name of a covert operation that is being funded by Jupiter Corp and its head, CEO Choi. Chief Kim and Choi are both parts of a clandestine cell that aims to eliminate President Chun Doo-hwan. The unit has no connections to North Korea or its intelligence units and is an independent group that has, at its heart, the interest of South Korean democracy. Both Choi and Kim were part of the armed forces that were deployed at Gwangu in May 1980 during a brutal military suppression of an armed rebellion against the South Korean government, which was transitioning into a military dictatorship following the assassination of the country’s third president and the illegal deposition of the fourth one. Over the course of 10 days, the army murdered thousands of civilians, alongside committing a host of other crimes. 

Being placed right at the center of this struggle, Kim experienced the kind of government that had seized power, hence forming a clandestine unit to overthrow it. The operation is named after President Chun’s Christian name and was behind the assassination attempt in the film’s opening sequence in Washington. Chief Kim murdering the last member of the team that was to kill the President was hence a defensive tactic on his part to protect himself and the unit. The CIA is fully aware of the operation and doesn’t want it to take place since it hampers their own military interests in the Asia-Pacific region.




 

What is Operation Flare?

Operation Flare, as the chief of the Ministry of People’s Armed Forces, Cheon Bo-San outlines, is what will follow once the North Koreans have eliminated the South Korean president in an aggressive military coup. The plan involves invading South Korea, deposing its government, and unifying both nations. It is to take place over the course of 6 hours, during which the North Korean army will undertake large-scale elimination of South Koreans as it takes over the nation. For Chief Park, the real Donglim, as we discover, Operation Flare comes as a terrible shock since he believed that following the President’s assassination, a peaceful revolution would be undertaken to reunify both nations. Part of the plan involves killing off Park once the President has been successfully assassinated. 

Why does Kim save Park? 

The KCIA infiltrates the MPAF’s base just as Cheon is going to kill Park. From the spilled burning documents, Kim gets concrete proof of Park being Donglim. The words ‘peaceful revolution’ is written on the document, which Kim assumes is what the North Koreans plan on doing once the President is dead, unaware of Operation Flare. He, therefore, saves Park when he realizes that both their ideological goals involve killing the current President and that Park can be a valuable ally. Since the MPAF had already killed Jang, they framed him as Donglim, which allowed Park to go back to his old job as part of the KCIA and hence, aid Kim in Bangkok. 

Hunt (2022) Ending Explained

Why does Park try to save the President? 

Hunt 2022 Explained

The South Korean ambassador to Thailand turns out to be another North Korean spy who is in on Operation Flare. In fact, he even gives Park his best wishes with the proceedings of the day, which he knows involve the North Koreans eliminating the President and which Park won’t stop. At this moment, right before he shoots the ambassador, Park has an epiphany. If the president is assassinated, as he and Kim both want, what will follow is the unimaginable violence of Operation Flare. Suppose Kim’s plan involves restoring democracy in South Korea. In that case, the North Korean plan is hardly as amicable, and knowing the forces in place for its realization, it is here that Park understands why killing the President will unleash mayhem on the two nations. So, he reneged on his previous plan and instead tried to stop the assassination from happening to prevent the breaking of an all-out war between North and South Korea.




 

Who is Yoo-Jung?

Yoo-Jung is not a regular South Korean citizen who grew up in Japan but is a North Korean spy whose job is, as Kim’s team discovers during their investigation, to pass on Donglim’s intel to North Korea. Her real name isn’t Cheon Bo-san, though, as Kim’s team suspects. That’s why when Park meets her inside the interrogation chamber; he asks her to hold her ground and not give away any information. It’s also why she went to a North Korean school while growing up in Japan with her father, Won-sik, another North Korean spy in league with Park.

 

At the end of the film, when Park goes to meet her in Namhae, the MPAF is already with her and shoots down Park to foil their plans. Yet Park had already developed a paternal sense of affection for her. He had made Yoo-Jung a South Korean passport, so she could lead a happy life as a citizen of that country instead of returning to North Korea after completing their mission. In fact, he even gave her his own surname.


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Hunt (2022) Official Trailer

Hunt (2022) Movie Links: IMDb
Where to watch Hunt

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