Yaksha: Ruthless Operations summary and ending explained 

‘Yaksha: Ruthless Operations’ is a Korean action film revolving around a war between spies of various Asian countries and a prosecutor who gets muddled in it. It is now streaming on Netflix.

Plot summary

Kang In (Sol Kyung-gu), also commonly known as Yaksha, after the demon that is also considered a deity in the Buddhist mythology, interferes with an exchange. The culprit has betrayed him, but it’s unclear what happened exactly.

Four years later, Ji-hoon (Park Hai-Soo), a righteous prosecutor in Seoul, South Korea, attempts to arrest the chairman of a high-profile company, but fails, as it turns out his investigators entered their offices illegally.

If they try to arrest those who have committed the crime, they can simply get the investigators and prosecutor arrested in return. Ji-hoon admits defeat due to his righteous ideals and the fact that they committed a crime themselves. He lets the chairman go, but not without vowing to get him back.

As a punishment, he is transferred to the National Intelligence Service (NIS) in South Korea, where there is barely any work. He meets a former prosecutor who had the nickname ‘justice bulldozer’, but now just spends time in the NIS, and even regrets working so hard in the past.

Ji-hoon quickly realises that this role does not suit him, and jumps at the opportunity of getting back into action when his boss refuses the offer by the NIS director for an internal review of spies in the city of China, letting him go instead.

He is moved to Shenyang, where a number of spies from China, South Korea and Japan are operating from their respective countries.

There, he is acquainted with the group of Yaksha, who is a South Korean spy whose questionable methods are overlooked because he always gets the job done.

He begins closely observing their operations. Yaksha introduces him to Ozawa, a Japanese spy considered to be the best in Asia, and hinted to be Yaksha’s enemy.

Yaksha’s group attempts to find Moon Byung-uk, the head of Room 39, a group that’s part of North Korean’s central committee, which raises foreign investment and maintains the Kim family’s funds in offshore accounts.

When they infiltrate Room 39, they find a woman instead of Byung-uk, who turns out to be Moon’s daughter, Ju-yeon. But before Yaksha can reach her, Ji-hoon frees her, thinking Yaksha’s group was torturing someone innocent.

Yaksha finds Ji-hoon and pummels him. The latter tells him that Ji-hoon forced him to get out of the car and fled.

When the group finds Moon, he is on the verge of death and it’s a trap from the Japanese to lure them there. Before dying, he tells them not to let his daughter come into the hands of the Japanese.

Ji-hoon notices that Yaksha asked for something from Moon before his death, and believes he wanted money from the foreign exchange. However, it turns out that though the group does embezzle money, it’s for the families of the squad members who died during operations. Yaksha doesn’t care about the money himself.

When the group plans to infiltrate the Japanese consulate, Ji-hoon laughs off the idea. But Yaksha tells him that the Japanese wanted to burn South Korea’s consulate down.

Years ago, when Yaksha was betrayed by his team member, it was because South Korea and North Korea were planning to hold talks to join hands, and Japan felt threatened by this and managed to turn the team member to their side. In the end, the talks never happened.

The Japanese have captured Ju-yeon and are torturing her for information. Yaksha’s group manages to save her.

She reveals that her father believed that he was working for the benefit of North and South Korea, but the Japanese had lied to him. He decided to leak the information on Japanese spies to Yaksha’s group, which is why the Japanese are after him.

If you still have doubts about the ending, here’s a detailed breakdown.

Yaksha: Ruthless Operations ending explained in detail:

The spy war

Ji-hoon and Yaksha begin to suspect that there is a mole in the NIS, and it turns out the section head of Yaksha’s group and the director of the NIS were both working for the Japanese.

Yaksha survives his battle with the section head, who doesn’t kill him, and then moves and captures the director of the NIS.

Ji-hoon asks to meet Yaksha alone, and shoots him, after getting blackmailed by Ozawa, who threatened to kill his sister and mother if he doesn’t kill Yaksha and bring Ju-yeon to him.

He does just that and as the police begin to chase him, the Japanese arrive and pick him and Ju-yeon, as they have no other choice but to escape with them.

They take the two to Ozawa, who is at the location where all the data of the Japanese spies had been stored by Moon.

Yaksha reawakens

Ozawa orders Ju-yeon to access the data through the system, while one of Ozawa’s men encounters Yaksha’s group member in the facility.

All the other members of the group arrive as well, shooting their way in, followed by the entry of Yaksha, who had managed to survive being shot earlier.

In a flashback, it is revealed that Yaksha knew Ji-hoon was going to shoot him but had asked him to trust him when he does. They had faked his death, with fabricated blood and a bullet-proof vest. Ozawa feels betrayed by this revelation.

Ju-yeon manages to access the data and Ozawa asks her to delete it. When he is about to do it himself, a battle ensues. Yaksha tells Ji-hoon and Ju-yeon to escape while he takes care of Ozawa. The two fight it out, but the Japanese spy has the upper hand.

With the building about to collapse, Ji-hoon goes back to help Yaksha, who is struggling. Ozawa fends off both their efforts and presses delete.

To his shock, the system was programmed to transfer the data to all South Korean spies in case someone tries to delete it.

He attempts to break down the machines, but Yaksha turns the tables and gets rid of Ozawa once and for all by killing him.

Partners in ‘crime’?

As the building is about to collapse, Yaksha tells Ji-hoon to find the NIS director and get her arrested. He is the only one he can trust to clean after him. Yaksha’s fate in the building is ambiguous. 

Sang-in Group, the company that Ji-hoon had attempted to take down before, is also found guilty of being involved with the Japanese. He finally gets his revenge on the chairman as well.

When a colleague from earlier suggests that it is unlike Ji-hoon to strike someone from behind, letting Ozawa believe something else, he responds that his ways have changed.

During his time with Yaksha, he has learned that justice has to be preserved by any means necessary, as opposed to his earlier ideal that just actions can preserve justice.

He gets a call from an unknown number. It’s Yaksha, who’s miraculously managed to survive again. He offers Ji-hoon the chance to partner again to face a trespasser of the law.

The film ends with the reveal that Yaksha is actually calling from London, hinting that if there’s a sequel, it’s likely to take place in the United Kingdom.

In a mid-credits scene, spies around the world receive the details on their phones, presumably of the next mission that Yaksha was talking to Ji-hoon about.

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