“The Wild” (2023) takes us on a gripping journey through the many layers of conspiracies and betrayals seen in the drug trafficking world. The narrative takes us through layers of deception and characters like Bom caught in the crossfire because of criminal deals and power struggles. The film balances its crime narrative with psychological mind games and action. Woo-Cheol’s character stands out as a hero with shades of darkness and a bit of humanity. This article contains spoilers.

The Wild (2023) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

The film begins with a flashback in prison. Mother and son are visiting Woo-cheol. The mother asks the son to get a better look as he is the one who has killed his brother. The flashback continues, and we see Woo-cheol has been sent to prison for eight years and is taking a fall for Do-Sik. Woo-cheol is a boxer, and in a match, he kills the other boxer, Ji Hwan. In the present, Woo-cheol is released from prison early for good behavior. His friends and colleagues, Do-sik and Hyun-tae, come to pick him up from the prison. Hyun-tae offers him cigarettes, but Woo–cheol refuses, saying he is going to quit smoking. Woo-cheol is introduced to Yoon Jae, the director of Do-sik’s business.

On their drive to a restaurant, Woo-cheol tells Do-sik that he wants a quiet life and has no intention of joining him in his business. At the restaurant, they reminisce about the dreams they had. Do-sik gets a call as something has gone wrong and asks Hyun-tae to give Woo-cheol a great time. They both drink, and Hyun-tae asks Woo-cheol to go to a hotel room. Woo-cheol enters the room and finds a girl waiting for him. She is a sex worker and asks Woo-cheol to make himself comfortable. However, Woo-cheol doesn’t feel like sleeping with her. Still, she gets close to him, and he notices cut marks on her wrist. Meanwhile, another sex worker is killed in a bathtub, and Do-sik asks his men to take care of her.

Do-sik is furious with Jeong Gon for ruining his business, and he slaps Do-sik. Do-sik does not do anything and lights a cigarette. Jeong Gon is mad as he thinks getting rid of North Korean defectors will help them make more money. They both have different ideas, and Jeong Gon leaves as he wants to sleep with Bom. Do-sik tells him she is Madam Han’s favorite, and he tells Do-sik he loves her.

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On a boat, Gak-su is tasting the drugs to test the quality. Bom decides to leave Woo-cheol alone and go home. But she receives a call from Madam Han informing her Jeong Gon is looking for her. She stays back with Woo-cheol to stay away from Jeong Gon. Subsequently, Woo-cheol has a nightmare about the time Ji Hwan’s mother and brother visited him in prison. He wakes up the following day and sees Bom has left. There is a note for him with her number. That night, he calls her, and they meet.

Bom tells her that Jeong Gon abuses her but admits to going back to him willingly as she can get drugs. As they walk, Bom notices his movements and gets to know he is a boxer, as she has learned a little. Bom realizes he wants to sleep with her that night but apologizes as she isn’t in the mood. He thanks her, but she gives him a peck, and they part ways. Woo-cheol meets Do-sik and tells him it is Ji Hwan’s death anniversary, and he wants to visit the grave. However, Do-sik tells him it’s a bad idea. Woo-cheol, at the grave, gets to know that Bom was Ji Hwan’s girlfriend/wife and feels heartbroken. We see a flashback: Woo-cheol is an underdog, and a bet occurs.

Do-sik asks him to go ahead and take care of Ji Hwan. He is hurt and is drinking when he receives a call from Bom. Subsequently, he hears her screaming and rushes to the location. He sees Jeong Gon torturing her. Naturally, he stops himself as he remembers Do-sik’s words about avoiding trouble. Jeong Gon is walking on the street, and Woo-cheol hits him. He takes out his ID and realizes he is a cop. At the same time, Jeong Gon is getting a call from Do-sik.

Do-sik is trying to make a deal with Gak-su but refuses to do the drug deal without Jeong Gon. Do-sik gets a call saying there is an accident. Woo-cheol apologizes for causing problems, and Do-sik tells him there is a solution. He asks him to join him in his dealings and take down Gak-su. Do-sik is trying to convince Jeong Gon to forgive Woo-cheol. Jeong Gon says as a cop, he can let it go, but he’s finding it to be difficult.

Woo-cheol arrives at the hotel and has a one-on-one with Jeong Gon. Jeong Gon beats him but decides to work with him. Do-sik, Woo-cheol, and Gak-su have a meeting. In the meeting, Woo-cheol learns he will work with Madam Han. Gak-su informs them that he has 40 kg of drugs and plans on fetching them. Moreover, Gak-su asks Do-sik to buy his usual amount, and he does not have to worry about the rest. Woo-cheol and Gak-su forge a bond. Woo-cheol gets instructions to work with Madam Han. Unfortunately, he sees Bom sleeping with many men, which hurts him. Do-sik meets with Jeong Gon and tells him Woo-cheol is ready to work with them. He says he is playing Woo-cheol. But in a flashback, we see him discuss ways to get Jeong Gon down with Woo-cheol. Do-sik leaves, and Jeong Gon says he knows what Do-sik is up to.

Hyun-tae is in love with another girl, and they get involved. Yoon Jae starts beating Hyun-tae for this, but Woo-cheol stops him. Two men enter, and Madam Han asks Woo-cheol not to get involved, no matter what these men do. Bom confronts these men, and they start to harass him. Woo-cheol stops him and beats him. Later, Yoon Jae stops Woo-cheol, and they fight. Woo-cheol beats Yoon Jae to a pulp. Cops arrive, and Jeong Gon takes Woo-cheol away from the other cops. Jeong Gon and Woo-cheol talk in an alleyway. When Jeong Gon turns to leave, Woo-cheol is attacked.

Ji Hwan’s brother has attacked Woo-cheol, and Woo-cheol is shocked. At the police station, Ji Hwan’s brother does not care about going to prison. At the same time, he sees Myung Joo (Bom), and they go out for a meal. He tells her that Ji Hwan had fought with his mother to borrow $5000 so he could give her a lovely house, and his mother felt bad about not giving it as he died after the fight.

The Wild (2023) Movie Ending Explained
A still from The Wild (2023)

Bom feels guilty and uses it to his advantage by asking her for money. Bom and Woo-cheol meet by the beach, and she asks him to get beer. Furthermore, she uses his phone to do something. In a flashback, we see Jeong Gon asking her to work for her to trap Woo-cheol and Do-sik by revealing that Woo-cheol had killed her partner. Yoon Jae is annoyed and embarrassed. However, Do-sik calms him down, talking about his bigger dreams. In fact, he wants to finish this deal and go to Seoul. He will also be taking Yoon Jae with him.

Hyun-tae wants to get in on the deal to help his girl repay her debt to Madam Han, and Woo-cheol helps him. Hyun-tae, Do-sik, Woo-cheol and Gak-su meet. As a result, Do-sik reveals he wants to buy all the entire 40kgs of drugs. Woo-cheol and Gak-su have a conversation separately. Gak-su asks Woo-cheol to work with him. He tells Do-sik what is offered to him, and Do-sik thinks it’s a good idea as he can take down Jeong Gon.

Jeong Gon has planted a listening device on them, and he hears the conspiracy against him. Later, Jeong Gon meets Gak-su and asks him to be careful if Woo-cheol approaches. Jeong Gon also visits Woo-cheol and tells him that Do-sik had drugged Ji Hwan, and that’s why he had died. Woo-cheol tells him he knew that and voluntarily went to prison. Madam Han gives money and chocolates to Bom without asking for anything. She takes it and gives it to Ji Hwan’s brother. Subsequently, Woo-cheol finds Bom and calls her Myung Joo. This triggers her. Woo-cheol tells her that he has come because he is worried.

She asks for his phone to delete her photo but deletes the bug she planted. She visits Do-sik and is strange and confrontational towards him. He asks him if the plan fails if he has to go to prison for him again. Do-sik is mad and visits Madam Han and asks Bom to strip and give him a blow-job to know why Woo-cheol liked her. Madam Han stops him, and he sexually assaults her.

Jeong Gon opens his phone to spy on Do-sik and Woo-cheol but realizes what Bom has done. He uses Ji Hwan’s brother and sends him to Bom’s house. Soon, things take a nasty turn, and she kills him. Woo-cheol comes to her and promises to take care of it for her. Do-sik is planning to betray Woo-cheol with Hyun-tae. Woo-cheol gives Bom instructions and leaves if he does not return. Moreover, Jeong Gon threatens Woo-cheol and asks him to bring him money, and he will set him free along with Bom. Do-sik asks Woo-cheol to get inside the boxing ring and fight. Woo-cheol hits Do-sik after provocation and leaves the ring. Do-sik tells him that he has repaid his debt. Woo-cheol does not answer when he asks if he is still his friend. He calls everything from now on with him a business deal.

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Woo-cheol, as instructed, visits Gak-su. He reveals that Do-sik’s men will be waiting to attack him. Therefore, due preparation is necessary. The others are listening to the conversation through the tapping device. Jeong Gon promises Do-sik to catch all the men once he receives his money. Woo-cheol asks Hyun-tae to leave if he does not return on time. Do-sik asks Woo-cheol to take down Gak-su and his men.

Woo-cheol does precisely that. He gives them the money but fights them and destroys them. Do-sik is watching them from afar. His next task is to deliver the cash to Jeong Gon, who is waiting for him. Jeong Gon gets the money and starts to threaten Woo-cheol, asking him if he wants to live at gunpoint. He shoots at Woo-cheol’s leg, and Woo-cheol loses his cool and shoots Jeong Gon. Before he is killed, Woo-cheol makes sure Bom is out of the police station. Hyun-tae picks Bom up from the station. Do-sik and Yoon Jae prepare to leave after confirming if the cops have reached the location. Hyun-tae is waiting for Woo-cheol. Woo-cheol realizes Bom is not in the car. Hyun-tae lies that he has dropped her off safely elsewhere. In truth, Bom is inside the car’s trunk, and she makes a noise.

The Wild (2023) Movie Ending Explained:

Will Do-sik Survive His Conspiracy?

Hyun-tae attacks Woo-cheol and apologizes, saying if he does not do this, Do-sik will kill his girl. Woo-cheol understands, asks him to promise that he will ensure nothing happens to Bom, and lets him stab him. Do-sik is in for a surprise as Gak-su and his men arrive and start killing all the men. Do-sik runs away, and Gak-su tells Yoon Jae that the owner always abandons his dogs. In a flashback, we see Woo-cheol double-crossing Do-sik and showing the Gak-su that their conversation is being heard.

Bom comes back to where Woo-cheol is and finds him dead. Do-sik is fishing somewhere, and he asks about Hyun-tae’s whereabouts to Yoon Jae. Hyun-tae is actually killed. Both of them leave towards the car, and Yoon Jae stabs Do-sik. Madam Han and Gak-su are the new business partners—Gak-su drinks in Woo-cheol’s name. Bom is back with her drug addiction because of losing Woo-cheol.

Despite being a crime thriller, “The Wild” has less action but more mind games. The conspiracy takes place to manage one deal. In the end, it is unclear if Yoon Jae, after killing Dong-sik, joins Gak-su. Gak-Su had probably left him alive to kill Do-sik, but maybe he needed more men, and Yoon Jae could be a great addition. The storytelling nature was predictable in that we knew who would double cross whom. It was clear Woo-cheol was the hero, and it was his revenge for taking the fall for Do-sik now. Do-sik’s selfish character was well established as well. Despite certain things being obvious, the film gets increasingly complex with so many layers of betrayals. Woo-cheol’s character has a villain’s demeanor yet has a human side, which is nicely done.

Read More: The 40 Best Korean Movies of the 21st Century

Trailer:

The Wild (2023) Movie Links: IMDb
Cast of The Wild (2023) Movie: Park Sung-woong, Oh Dal-su, Joo Suk-tae
The Wild (2023) Movie Genre: Action, Crime, Drama | Runtime: 1h 51m

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