Are you up for a bit of action? The new Korean espionage action film, Yaksha: Ruthless Operations has arrived on Netflix, but is it worth the watch? Here is my Yaksha: Ruthless Operations review.
Yaksha: Ruthless Operations Review
Yaksha: Ruthless Operations is a 2022 South Korean spy action film directed by Na Hyeon. The film stars Sol Kyung-gu and Park Hae-soo Based in Shenyang, China, the film revolves around a leader of an espionage agency’s secret operation black team, and a prosecutor who was demoted to the espionage agency.
Nicknamed after a human-devouring spirit, Yaksha, the ruthless leader of an overseas black ops team takes up a dangerous mission in a city riddled with spies.
So after a pretty explosive opening, this movie took me just a bit to really get into. We follow a somewhat disgraced prosecutor who is doing his penance by working at these less than prestigious jobs.
Now, when the opportunity arrives to take on a big case and abrasive his superiors, he jumps at the chance only to find himself in the middle of a conspiracy that he’s not really equipped to handle.
This is part espionage thriller and part action movie where the espionage portion isn’t quietly mysterious. I mean, yeah, there’s definitely intrigue, but not in the form that you might expect. I think it’s more accurate to categorize this as an action flick that has an espionage angle.
We follow the prosecutor Jihoun, and he’s certainly a fish out of water because he’s just straight-laced by the book and not willing to cut any corners.
The Blackhawks team that he begins to work with doesn’t necessarily play by the same rule set though, or the moral guidance that he uses.
I think this storyline may have extra weight for the Korean audience as the story centers around political maneuvers and secrecy between north and South Korea and then interference from Japan.
While I understood the context and the issues as the story went along, I really do believe that the story is more impactful if you’re from one of those cultures as you’ve actually lived with some of the sentiments that are being displayed in this.
With the title, Yaksha is the name of the leader of the Black ops team, but the portion that becomes even more relevant is the subtitle Ruthless Operations. Yaksha is pretty ruthless when it comes to getting the intel that he needs.
Right from the outset, we see that he’s willing to do just about anything and that laws don’t necessarily apply to him and if they do, he just doesn’t care. This provides some crazy action than for the movie.
The team is so on mission that if anyone gets in their way, there’s going to be problems. And I’m serious about it being anyone. There are some huge gunfights between the team and another group that you don’t necessarily expect them to be shooting it out with, but yet they do.
Now, with the action, it’s not all gunfights and explosions. I mean, even though there is quite a lot of that to keep us entertained, there are several hand-to-hand battles and while those are exciting to watch, I was bummed by the massive amount of cuts that they used.
There are one or two sequences where we get to see more of the fighting uninterrupted by a cut, but for the most part as a punch is being landed or a kick is being executed, the angle changes, making a fight that could have been impressively choreographed seem like it was just ill-planned and that the actors weren’t able to perform their sequences just right.
I still got enjoyment from the scenes and the fights could be brutal, but I think that they would have been even more awesome to watch if we could get the full scope of the action without all those editing cuts.
And then in order to keep this TV 14, a lot of the actual violence is shown off camera and we’ll actually watch the camera pan up or maybe away any time a person was threatened to be executed.
I’m not saying I needed to see the actual Gore, but it became noticeable that the point of the kill was not shown. I think it still had the same emotional impact though, so the only thing that we’re really missing out on is the extreme violence.
I liked a lot of the back and forth that the story takes us on when it comes to uncovering the truth.
I do think some of it may be a little bit predictable, but there were also several moments that were surprised to me. And something frustrating though within this storyline is how Jun would constantly leave a spot where he was safe and then put himself in danger even if he didn’t mean to.
I mean, sure, the first one or two times it’s an honest mistake, but then it just becomes willful stupidity to leave the safety of an area to branch out on your own side quest.
But even with these dumb moves, I still rooted for him because as abrasive as he could be with his rigid adherence to the law, he was still a pretty sympathetic character.
This is a bit longer for an action movie at 2 hours and five minutes, but the pacing I think is accomplished pretty well. It’s not nonstop action, so that the story allows us to take a breather for a bit before throwing us back into the violent chaos.
As the story progressed, I found myself enjoying the character of Yasha more and more. He has a nobility to him, I mean, at least in his morals and his drive.
He may not accomplish all of his actions in a conventional way, nor in a way that regular society would really like, but he sticks to a certain code of honor which then also inspires his team.
And that was a great addition to the narrative to watch this close-knit team function and then to learn why it is that they’re so loyal to like Yaksha.
Now I really like how the movie resolves and what the very end of the story means. I’m just going to leave that there so it’s not to spoil anything.
So overall, Yasha Ruthless Operations is an energetic espionage thriller filled with some exciting action. The story is deeper than I thought it would be and I enjoyed how layered our main two protagonists are in their character depth.
While they’re constantly at odds when it comes to the execution of ideals, their goals remain very similar creating a narrative that becomes intriguing with building urgency.
I do wish there would have been fewer editing cuts and a lot of the action but what we get it’s still entertaining. There’s no sex or nudity, a lot of profanity, and a bunch of violence.
So I am going to give Yaksha: Ruthless Operations 3.5/5.
So what’s a good action film you’ve seen recently? Let me know in the comments below.
Guys thank you so much for reading the review of Yaksha: Ruthless Operations. See you next time.