Ballerina follows a former bodyguard embarking on a quest for revenge for her best friend who takes her life and leaves one last request: sweet revenge.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Jang Ok-Ju lives a morose life as essentially a zombie. Her former life as a bodyguard made her into the hollow shell she is now.
One day, she gets a call from her friend Min-Hee, a ballerina who showed her how to be alive before a long period during which they didn’t communicate much.
Min-Hee asks Ok-Ju to come to her house, and she does. Ok-Ju finds that Min-Hee has taken her life and left a request for her, which is to take revenge for her.
Ok-Ju digs into the clues left for her and sets off on a quest for revenge. She tracks down Chef Choi, a drug dealer, and leaves him with a disfigured face before escaping the retaliation from his henchmen.
Pro Choi is threatened by his boss to take care of the girl and bring her to him, so Pro Choi mobilizes his men who get to her but she escapes. Pro Choi lies to his boss about having taken care of Ok-Ju.
She, meanwhile, heads off to the boss’s base of operations, and drenches the premises with the blood of all men there, before getting shot by Pro Choi but overwhelming him shortly. As Pro Choi gets what he deserves, Ballerina rolls the credits.
Ballerina ending explained in detail:
How does Min-Hee die?
Min-Hee is a wide-eyed and very kind young girl. She was in the eighth grade at the Yehwa School with Ok-Ju. As an adult, she is a ballerina.
She met Ok-Ju when she worked at a bakery where the latter once came to buy a cake. Min-Hee recognized her. Ok-Ju’s sad and grey life was shortly injected with colors as Min-Hee taught her to feel alive once again.
Cut to the present, Min-Hee is a ballerina, and one night, she calls Ok-Ju to come to her place if she’s free. They haven’t talked in a while but Ok-Ju heads off to her house.
There, she finds Min-Hee’s corpse in the bathtub, as she took her own life. The reason behind her suicide is unknown but she leaves a note for Ok-Ju, asking her to take revenge for her, mentioning also an Instagram username.
Ok-Ju finds out about the IG account and later gets a call from the man behind that username. She spies on him later on and observes as his men drop their drug-addled bento boxes to their designated spots.
She later breaks into his house and finds a stash of pen drives that contain porn videos of a number of girls that Pro Choi shot himself after drugging them.
He uses these videos to threaten them with a leak, lest they remain good girls and practically slaves to him. He does the same thing to Min-Hee, who has a nervous breakdown at her ballet performance after spotting him in the audience.
Not being able to contend with the fear, not only is Min-Hee’s dream of becoming a proper ballerina shattered, but also her will to live anymore.
Does Pro Choi die?
Pro Choi takes Ok-Ju to his usual spot, the Pony Club hotel where he drugs her victims and makes weird porn with them. He begins doing the same to Ok-Ju, who’s an outlier among his victims.
She slashes him a number of times with her knife, but Pro Choi is also a capable fighter so he offers great resistance until Ok-Ju overwhelms him completely.
She plunges her knife into his cheek and carves up a big scar, but before she can dispose of Pro Choi, his henchmen arrive and Ok-Ju is forced to escape. She’s also helped in her escape by one of the enslaved girls there.
They take Pro Choi’s Lamborghini with them, and the girl later informs Ok-Ju about Choi’s operations and the state of other girls like her. They plan their revenge and Ok-Ju buys ammunition from an old couple.
Before she can attack, though, Choi’s men arrive at her house and jump on her, forcing her to flee again while Choi’s escaped victim is caught again. Ok-Ju takes little time to retaliate.
She goes to Choi’s boss and his base of operations. He tries to talk her out of her agenda claiming he’s not her enemy, but Ok-Ju has no time for chitchat, as she immediately shoots the man down.
She then kills all the other men until Choi manages to shoot her with a shotgun from behind. She goes to kill her but is distracted by the escaped victim, who misfires a couple of shots at him.
The distraction gives Ok-Ju time to shoot Choi twice, before dragging him to a beach where the third act of Ballerina approaches the conclusion, and Pro Choi is burned to a crisp by Ok-Ju’s flamethrower.
Is Ok-Ju alive?
Ok-Ju is basically a zombie who works only as a lethal bodyguard for wealthy VIPs. She sees little value in living her life and won’t care if she dies.
Her defeated sense of life and purpose is changed by the arrival of Min-Hee, who brings happiness and colors to Ok-Ju’s life. Min-Hee shared that she will be working on becoming a proper ballerina, even going to Russian schools to do so.
After a patch during which they don’t communicate much, Min-Hee reaches out to Ok-Ju, whimpering as asks her to come to her house. Ok-Ju goes and finds Min-Hee’s dead body and the request for revenge.
That’s where the plot of Ballerina kicks into hyperdrive as Ok-Ju leaves a bloodbath in her wake, hunting down Pro Choi and even his boss, along with all the gangsters and goons who dare to resist.
As Ballerina comes to an end, Ok-Ju is shown to be alive and heading off on her motorcycle to all the places where Choi’s gang does its operations of trafficking and doping women.