“Ransomed” is an action drama film based on true events. Like its counterparts “Escape from Mogadishu” and “The Point Men,” the story is about a Korean diplomat trying to rescue their people in a foreign country. In “Ransomed,” alongside the action scenes – from gunfire to car chases filled with tension – there is a comedic aspect to it as Min-Jun (a Korean diplomat) and Pan-su (a Korean driver in Lebanon) come together to save Jae-seok (a Korean diplomat) from Lebanese terrorists. The film prioritizes depicting the events surrounding Jae-seok’s rescue rather than delving deeply into the characters themselves.

This article contains spoilers.

Ransomed (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

The film opens in 1986, in Beirut, Lebanon, amidst turmoil and conflict, and Korean diplomat Oh Jae-seok is kidnapped by Lebanese terrorists at gunpoint in broad daylight. The Koreans back home assumed Jae-seok was dead until 1987 when Lee Min-Jun from the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs receives a call confirming that Jae-seok is alive. The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, led by Minister Choi, mobilized efforts to confirm Jae-seok’s status and unofficially dispatched Min-Jun to request assistance from Richard Carter. Known for his work in the Middle East, Richard Carter has numerous contacts to get the job done. However, when Min-Jun makes an unofficial request, Carter is not thrilled. Min-Jun reminds him that a man’s life is in danger, whether it is official or unofficial.

Minister Choi requests funds to rescue Jae-seok, and the government agrees that it would only be possible if Choi could bring proof of Jae-seok’s safety. Another task is ready for Min-Jun as he has to visit Hayes, an art dealer, who is already aware of the situation. Before Min-Jun makes any requests, Hayes informs Min-Jun that Jae-seok is safe. However, Min-Jun needs physical confirmation and asks Hayes to get a picture of Jae-seok holding a Time Magazine on which Min-Jun has written something. Despite Min-Jun’s suspicion, Hayes gets the picture.

Min-Jun in Lebanon

Having the desire to be posted in the US, Min-Jun volunteers to go to Lebanon to rescue Jae-Seok. Before his departure, Hayes instructs Min-Jun to deliver a painting to a man at the airport, get Lebanese money, and give the cash to Karim. As Min-Jun lands in Lebanon, the atmosphere is tense, but he gets through the security before being ushered in by Hayes’s men. The painting is exchanged for money and gets out through the emergency exit. Despite airport security spotting him and giving chase, Min-Jun manages to escape and finds the taxi he was supposed to take. Thankfully, the driver, Pan-su, is a Korean who drives away as the security shoots at his vehicle.

Min-Jun discovers that Pan-su is fond of money and adopts a tough-to-please attitude to assist Min-Jun. After offering some cash, Pan-su agrees to accompany Min-Jun to a secure location to tend to his injuries and call Korea. Vice Minister Lee recognizes Pan-su, revealing that Pan-su had previously aided Jae-seok. After the phone call, Min-Jun agrees to pay Pan-su more money to take him to Karim. On their way, there is a bomb blast that scares both Min-Jun and Pan-su. Reaching the destination, Pan-su wants to take his money and leave, but Min-Jun is afraid to go alone and tricks Pan-su to go with him.

Search for Jae-seok

The duo meets Karim, who is glad to see Min-Jun safe, but he is concerned to know if Min-Jun has the money. After being assured of the possession of the cash, Karim tells them that they will meet Jae-seok and ensure their safety. On the other hand, Pan-su advises Min-Jun not to give the money until he sees Jae-seok and to make sure not to trust anybody. Terrified, Min-Jun offers a US visa to Pan-su in exchange for his company through the mission. Along with Karim and his men, Min-Jun and Pan-su reach Jae-seok’s location but are met with gunfire.

Ransomed (2023) Movie Ending Explained
A still from Ransomed (2023)

Karim’s men investigated the location, but their efforts were in vain. Min-Jun witnesses the terrorists kidnapping Jae-seok again. They manage to capture one terrorist, and after extracting the necessary information, Karim’s men kill him. Recognizing Min-Jun’s danger, Karim offers him and Pan-su refuge in a safe house. Later that night, Pan-su discloses his past service in the Vietnam War. Once Min-Jun falls asleep, Pan-su absconds with the money. Unfortunately, the safe house is no longer secure as airport security comes looking for Min-Jun. On the other hand, Min-Jun discovers that Pan-su has stolen his money, but he needs to escape the security guards.

Karim and his men find Jae-seok

As Min-Jun escapes from the security guards, he spots Pan-su, steals a car, and chases after him through the mountain roads. Misfortune strikes Min-Jun as his car breaks down, leaving him stranded in the wilderness. To make matters worse, a pack of dogs starts chasing Min-Jun. On the other hand, the Lebanese terrorists are after him. Min-Jun has had enough and walks towards the city. Meanwhile, Pan-su gets an earful from his wife, Laila, for stealing Min-Jun’s money, and he returns the funds to Min-Jun. At first, Min-Ju is furious, but the heat and sleeplessness take over, and he trusts Pan-su once again. They drive to meet Karim and give him the money in exchange for Jae-seok. However, Jae-seok is scared because of the Lebanese terrorists’ torture.

Karim lets the men take refuge until it is time for them to leave. However, the Korean government has stopped withdrawals, putting Min-Jun and Jae-seok’s lives at risk. The Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs employees unite, contributing three months’ worth of their pay to send assistance. Meanwhile, Minister Choi takes charge, initiating action to aid the situation. However, Lebanese terrorists locate Min-Jun and his group, triggering a frantic car chase. Min-Jun and the group think they are done for as their car topples, but Karim and his men come to the rescue.

Ransomed (2023) Movie Ending Explained:

Will Min-Jun return to Korea safely?

Karim gives Min-Jun the good news that the Korean government has come through and that he has two plane tickets from the UN. A happy moment turns bittersweet as Pan-su is stuck in Lebanon. Making a strategic move, Min-Jun lies to Pan-su that he is joining them, and they reach the airport. However, after getting Jae-seok and Pan-su through security, Min-Jun promises Pan-su that he needs to leave and that he will take the next flight and meet him in Korea. Pan-su is upset as this was not the outcome he had expected.

Min-Jun manages to buy a ticket to Morocco, but the airport security catches him. Analyzing the situation, Min-Jun starts running inside the airport, but the security fires shots to stop everyone. Realizing there are reporters inside the airport, Min-Jun loudly says that the airport security is arresting him illegally and that if he is caught, he may never be found again. Despite the reporters capturing photographs, the airport security arrests Min-Jun, and he is treated the same way Jae-seok was treated. It isn’t long before the Korean government pressures the Lebanese to release Min-Jun. Upon returning to Korea, Min-Jun reunites with Pan-su, who has also assumed the role of a driver there.

By the end of the film, Jae-seok is safely back home. Min-Jun develops trust in Pan-su, who initially appears to be motivated only by money. However, Pan-su risks his own life to save Jae-seok and Min-Jun. The film briefly showcases the trauma caused by torture as we see Jae-seok crumbling physically and mentally. Despite being an action thriller, Jae-Seok and Min-Jun’s chemistry brings out a lot of comedic moments.

Read More: 10 Best Korean Movies of 2022


Ransomed (2023) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
The Cast of Ransomed (2023) Movie: Ha Jung-woo, Ju Ji-hoon
Ransomed (2023) Movie Genre: Drama/Action/Comedy/Mystery & Thriller | Runtime: 2h 12m
Where to watch Ransomed

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