Netflix’s ‘Believer 2’ is a South Korean action crime film directed by Baek Jong-yul and continues the events of 2018’s ‘Believer.’ The film follows Detective Jo Won-ho, who is obsessed with catching the enigmatic drug lord, Mr. Lee. However, after coming close to catching the drug kingpin, Won-ho comes to a rude awakening when he learns about the true nature of Seo Young-Rak, a low-level drug dealer who was helping him. The second installment introduces a new threat in the form of Lee’s associate, Big Knife, and the return of Brian Lee, who seeks revenge against Rak and Won-ho. As a result, viewers must wonder how Rak and Won-ho navigate this complex game and what their fates are at the end of ‘Believer 2.’ SPOILERS AHEAD!
Believer 2 Plot Synopsis
‘Believer 2’ takes place after Detective Jo Won-ho realizes Seo Young-Rak tricked him, but prior to the fated encounter between the two at the end of the first film. Rak escapes with his associates, Manko and Rano, while Brian Lee is arrested for the crimes the elusive Mr. Lee committed. Despite Won-ho believing that Rak is the real “Lee,” the latter reveals to Manko and Rano that he has planned to draw out the real drug lord of Asia. Meanwhile, Lee’s right-hand woman, Big Knife, learns of Jin Ha-rim’s death and the loss of the Laika consignment.
Elsewhere, Brian escapes from police custody with his team’s help but is left badly scarred by the burn marks inflicted on him by Rak. On the other hand, Won-ho tries to convince his superior that the real Mr. Lee is still at large, and Rak finds an old, isolated factory where he starts making another consignment of Laika to draw out Lee’s remaining associate, Big Knife. Brian meets Big Knife and offers to make drugs for her using his raw material and Rak’s talents as a chemist. As a result, Big Knife tracks down Rak, while Won-ho also arrives on the scene.
At the factory, Won-ho’s partner is killed by Big Knife’s men while they take Rak away. Eventually, Rak and Brian are taken to Thailand, where Big Knife’s past is revealed. She sees Mr. Lee as her father and craves his approval. On the other hand, Won-ho also arrives in Thailand after tracking down Lee’s origins as a school teacher and tracing them to the country. Big Knife plans on killing Brian after receiving the raw substance, but he and Rak are secretly working together. As a result, Brian’s team takes over the compound and subdues Big Knife’s forces.
Through Big Knife, Rak confirms the existence of the real Mr. Lee before killing her. Rak and Won-ho are held hostage by Brian, but he agrees to spare the latter as per their terms of working together. Brian threatens to kill Rak’s friends unless he tracks down Lee and kills him. Brian wants to take over Lee’s business and uses Rak as a pawn. However, Rak has his own motivations behind targeting Lee, leading to an enthralling conclusion that ties together the fates of Won-ho, Brian, Rak, and the enigma that is Mr. Lee.
Believer 2 Ending: Who Is the Real Mr. Lee? Why Did Rak Kill Him?
Throughout the second film, breadcrumbs left in the trail act as clues that slowly but surely confirm the existence of a real Mr. Lee, the undisputed king of Asia’s drug business. However, he is an enigma, and Rak has to get through Big Knife to confirm his existence. However, Mr. Lee is now retired and does not associate himself with the drug business, leaving Big Knife to run it at his behest. During the film’s climax, Rak uncovers that Lee lives in Norway and is tasked with killing him to free his friends, Manko and Rano. Rak travels to Norway, where he finally faces the former drug kingpin.
Rak questions Lee about why he created a drug as dangerous as Laika, and the latter reveals he created it out of curiosity. Furthermore, Rak finally unveils his true motivation behind tracing the elusive drug lord – revenge. Rak’s biological parents were killed because of the drugs Lee gave them while they were crossing the border. Lee does not recollect the incident, which further fuels Rak’s desire for revenge against the man responsible for his parents’ death. Rak reveals he has already killed Lee’s daughter, son, and granddaughter. However, before an enraged Lee can shoot Rak with a concealed gun, Rak fires a bullet, instantly killing Lee and ending his chapter. In the final moments, Rak reunites with Won-ho, leading the detective to him through the tracker planted in his beloved dog.
Why Did Won-ho Kill Rak?
The film’s ending resolves the mystery around the real identity of Mr. Lee, but the final scene brings the overall thematic storyline to a conclusion. The sequel film’s closing scene returns viewers to the first movie’s ending. Won-ho tracks Rak down to a remote ice-covered town, where they briefly interact before a gunshot is heard. The entire second installment takes place before this fated encounter. After killing Lee, Rak seemingly settles in Norway with Manko and Rano, but the latter’s eyesight is severed by Brian while torturing Rak to do his bidding.
Inside the house, Rak reveals the truth about Lee and his involvement in his parents’ death. Rak admits to being driven by revenge, but despite fulfilling his quest, he does not feel satisfied as his parent’s death and the resulting trauma still haunt him. Rak reveals his desire to become the new Lee and moves to attack Won-ho, and the latter instinctively shoots Rak, leading to his death. When Won-ho arrives at the house, Rak compliments him for his instincts. Earlier, Rak specifically asked Brian to spare Won-ho as the latter was important for his “grand finale.” Thus, it is implied that Rak had planned his death at Won-ho’s hands from the start.
Meanwhile, throughout the two films, Won-ho is obsessed with finding Lee. He loses several partners in this quest, furthering his desire to capture the drug lord. Rak plays with Won-ho’s obsession and triggers him by claiming to replace Lee, ensuring the detective will shoot him. As a result, Won-ho finally fulfills his quest, albeit ironically, as he kills the person he perceives to be “Lee.” Ultimately, the film cleverly uses the enigmatic “Mr. Lee” as a personification of the obstacles Rak, Won-ho, and Brian face in achieving their true purpose. However, as Rak learns the hard way, overcoming this obstacle does not lead to fulfillment but to further despair, resulting in a decent overall metaphor for the war against drugs and the resulting violence the film aims to explore.
What Happens to Won-ho?
After killing Rak, Won-ho checks his former informant’s gun only to realize that Rak’s gun has no bullets. Thus, it is confirmed that Rak planned to have himself killed at Won-ho’s hands to escape the suffering he was dealt because of his past and exasperated by his desire for revenge. However, as Won-ho leaves, processing the implications of killing Rak, he is shot from behind and killed. The shooter is revealed to be Manko, one of Rak’s friends who also suffered a great deal because of the hunger for power and drug operations linked to Lee.
While Manko’s motivations are not fleshed out, it is evident that he killed Won-ho because of the circumstances he and Rona face because of the cycle of violence, of which Won-ho is the last link. Moreover, it is also possible that he shot Won-ho as revenge for Rak’s death. However, seeing how Rak was counting on Won-ho killing him, the second option seems less likely. Ultimately, Won-ho’s fate also ties in with the movie’s overall exploration of obsessive personal agendas, which end badly for everyone who peruses them, including Big Knife, Rak, and Won-ho. The closing scene also features a news broadcast that announces Won-ho’s promotion, implying had he given up on his obsession with catching Lee, he could have survived the dark fate.