Movie Review of The Struggle of ILLang: The Wolf Brigade

Last Updated on May 9, 2023

Image of ILLang: The Wolf Brigade

Illang: The Wolf Brigade is a 2018 South-Korean action movie.

Six years from the present day, the political order around the Korean Peninsula is shaken. 2024, Territorial disputes with China, Asia’s hegemonic power, provoke Japan to remilitarize, pulling in the US and Russia and stirring the clouds of war. As a last resort for survival, North and South Korea agree to reunify, with a five-year interim. This causes significant backlash from the region’s powers (the U.S, Russia, China, and Japan) who oppose reunification. Fearing the emergence of a strong, unified Korea. Economic sanctions bring the vulnerable Korean economy to its knees and break the people’s will for reunification.

It causes protest and rage among the people, an anti-reunification terror group called the Sect appears. The threat they pose puts the provisional government in crisis. With the existing police force unable to cope with the Sect, the president creates a new police force, the Special Unit.

However, within a year comes the incident known as Bloody Friday. The Special Unit killed 15 innocent girls. After the accidental shooting of those innocent girls, the Special Unit was traumatized and started hiding their faces behind steel helmets. With their very humanity sealed in darkness, they venture out on a path of barbarism. The Special Unit should be fighting the Sect but the cruelest power struggle ensues is between the president’s administration and public security.

5 Years Later…

2029, there is still an ongoing protest “no to forced reunification”. The police made an announcement that they should stop the protest which is illegal but they kept on shouting “reunification is a homewrecker!”. The Police unit was in search of the Special unit while the Sect came out. The Sect started firing gunshots and throwing fire at the Police. People at the protest ran away from the premises. Just in time, the Special Unit arrived.

The Special Unit Head, Park Mu-Young, address his squad and told them to hunt every single of them. At the Sect’s hideout, their security camera showed that they have an invasion and it was the Special Unit. Alerting everyone about the invasion, they hurriedly gathered their stuff and ran out. Following their escape root through a channel underground, they spilled and went to a different channel to get to the main passage.

Meanwhile, after the Special Unit burned down their base, they were waiting for the Sect at the main passage. When the Sect got there, they realized that the Special Unit was there and ready to fire. In an attempt for the Sect to surrender, the Sect started shooting so the Special Unit fired and killed all present. At the channel, an underage girl was running to escape and one of the Special Units, Lim, caught her but couldn’t shoot at her. He asked her to surrender but the girl went ahead to pull the trigger on a bomb she was carrying. The Special Unit was saved by his member and the girl exploded.

The news went around and they were trying to set up a committee to disband the Special Unit for it. They started questioning the Special Unit and their line of work will undergo investigation. The Chief Presidental Secretary, Park Jeong-Gi, suggested that they blame the Special Unit, Lim, who was with the girl at that time. The captain said, he is part of the Unit’s history and if they do so the other men will lose their morale. Park Mu-Young says “it’s not their fault, the Sect has been using underage as bomb runners”. The Special Unit didn’t catch the Sect’s leader, Chul-Hyung, as he escaped that day so they have to restrategize.

Park Jeong-Gi left through the back exit door when public security came for an investigation. He wondered how far the public security will go in their investigation. In a conversation, a Special Unit officer told Han (public security officer) that the Special Unit is not a road to success, it’s about sacrificing oneself and there’s no spot for us at the National Cemetery. Meanwhile, Lim was getting treatment at the hospital and was recovering. He left to go and see Han at an uncompleted building. They talked about the underage girl that died and returning her book to her sister, Yun-Hee.

Lim met Yun-Hee, they talked about what happened and she said it’s not your fault, you didn’t shoot. They ate noodles at a noodles place and she took him to their bookshop and read him a story. When Lim left, it turns out that the sister made a deal with Han. They made a deal to bring Lim down by all means.

However, the Director of Public Security, Lee Ki-Seok, and Police Commissioner, Kim Myung-Bae met at a haircut salon. Kim Myung-Bae talked about the happenings at the Special Unit and praised the director for temporarily suspending the Special Unit. The Lee Ki-Seok said, “There is nothing much we can but have you heard of the Wolf Brigade?” Lee Ki-Seok went on to say that they are the ones who killed Director Yu last year and more. He said they believe it’s a secret operation from the Special Unit as the Sect doesn’t have such high-quality snipers and they are conducting something for them.

Yun-Hee texted Lim to meet up at Namsan Square by 6 pm. Han plotted that Yun-Hee will Lim at the observatory and spend ten minutes with him then she will stage a scene and take photos. He went on to arrange teams at different points, team two by the restaurant, team three by the parking lot, and others by the elevator. He said they should act naturally and take their positions 30 minutes before the time. A terror bomb was set at the observatory so that Lim’s only escape route will be the elevator. They will seal the elevator, the counterterror unit goes up then his team will barricade the ground floor and Lim will be trapped.

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Meanwhile, the captain of the Special Unit suspected Lim’s movement so he sent one of them to spy on Yun-Hee. The shy found that the Koo Mi-Kyung (wanted terrorist, head of the Women’s third unit in the Sect’s Southern committee) is there so he informed the captain about it. The captain told him to follow the terrorist and that he will put someone else to follow Yun-Hee. The spy on Koo Mi-Kyung got up with her and they had a fight and he knock her out. Their van came and carried them to another location.

The captain met Koo Mi-Kyung and told her why Yun-Hee is working for Public security and why their cash flow stopped. They made a deal that Koo Mi-Kyung will find their leader and the captain will give her a new ID. The spy on Lim found out that Public security hacked Lim’s phone and is tailing him. He informs the captain so they make another plan for a safer method. So they trace where Yun-Hee is headed, she is on her way to meet Lim so she gets there and takes Lim to the place.

The plan kicks off as everyone is in place, she left Lim alone and went to the bathroom. Lim stays there observing and setting his own plan. The plan was that she leaves the restroom smiling and approaching then drop the gun in front of him. She got ready and left the restroom but Koo Mi-Kyung stop her halfway and told her not to believe anyone then left. Yun-Hee panicked and left leaving Lim behind. Lim and the public officer in position started fighting and shooting. Lim saved Yun-Hee and asked her to follow him.

The public officers launch drones to see them and shoot at them. In an attempt to escape Lim destroyed the drone and jumped through the window. Han got the report that Lim broke the window and fled. He ordered every one of them to chase after them. Lim and Yun-Hee got away. Han reported back to the Director of public security, he wasn’t happy so he told Han to find them and shoot them.

After they escaped, Lim talked with their captain and he told them to go to the safe house and lay low. The public security found a suspected wolf brigade from the Special Unit, Kim Chul-Jin, and brought him to their bases. They killed him while investigating him. Meanwhile, Lim and Yun-Hee got to another place as they couldn’t reach the safe house so he informed them that they couldn’t get there. They told him to wait for their information. Yun-Hee told Lim why she did what she did and she apologize for everything.

While she was talking, the phone and it was their captain. He told Lim that they killed Kim Chul-Jin so change of plans. That Lim should come to underdrain C-21 before 0500 hours and Lim asked “with the girl?” he said yes. Yun-Hee activated the necklace so that Public security can find them. Immediately they got her location and sent troops to them. The captain of the Special Unit got the message and put ghosts in motion. Lim and Yun-Hee got to the underdrain, the exact spot in the beginning and she told him that she deceived him. The captain and others came out and walked toward them.

Public security arrived at the scene and got in. The captain started telling Yun-Hee that they knew everything from the beginning. He told her that Public security wanted to use her to pull them down but she was actually Lim’s bait. Lim starts putting on his suit while the captain goes on to ask Yun-Hee whether she has heard of the Wolf Brigade. Yun-Hee in shock looks at Lim as the captain says “he’s one of them, we’re not human in wolves’ clothing, we’re wolves in human clothing”.

The fight begins as Lim takes them out one by one. After killing them all, the Special Unit gathered their stuff and Lim asks the captain “What about the girl?” He said he will carry her to their base and finish her off. Lim couldn’t stop thinking about her so he came to where they were before they killed her and fought with the captain. It all ended as the Sect leader finally came out and had a press conference exposing all those involved. The temporarily suspended meetings on reunification were resumed.

Watch Illang: The Wolf Brigade on Netflix.

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