Is Yung Jung-Yi Dead or Alive in JUNG_E?

Written and directed by Yeon Sang-ho, ‘JUNG_E’ is a science fiction film set in the 22nd century. The South Korean movie revolves around humanity’s efforts to build Artificial Intelligence-powered combat robots molded after Yung Jung-Yi (Kim Hyun-Joo). Under the guidance of scientist Yoon Seo-Hyun, Kronoid, a military weapons development company, constructs titular robots. Given the advanced technology utilized in modeling the robots after the legendary mercenary, viewers must be wondering about the actual Yung Jung-Yi is dead or alive. If you are looking for answers about Yung Jung-Yi’s fate in ‘JUNG_E,’ here is everything you need to know! SPOILERS AHEAD!

What Happens to Yung Jung-Yi?

In ‘JUNG_E,’ Yung Jung-Yi is introduced as a soldier for the Allied Forces. In the 22nd century, rapid climate change made the earth nearly uninhabitable for humanity. As a result, humans established colonies known as shelters in the moon’s orbit. However, some of these shelters came together and established the Adrian Republic leading to a war among humanity for dominance. The Allied Forces fought against the Adrian Republic, and Yung Jung-Yi was their most influential military commander during the war. However, the Jung-Yi we meet at the start is an advanced combat robot powered by Artificial Intelligence based on the real Yung Jung-Yi’s brain.

Later, it is revealed that Yung Jung-Yi’s daughter Yoon Seo-Hyun is the head scientist on the development of the robots dubbed “JUNG_E,” which is modeled after her mother. Flashbacks reveal that when Seo-Hyun was due for her cancer operation, Jung-Yi was assigned a mission that could have ended the war. However, Jung-Yi became distracted by her daughter’s memories during the battle. She was shot, and the injury landed her in a coma. Therefore, the real Jung-Yi is alive in only a vegetative form where her brain is used for research purposes, and there is no hope of her waking up from the coma.

Is Yung Jung-Yi Dead or Alive?

In the film, Seo-Hyun works to develop combat robots modeled after her mother that will help in the war. Later, we learn that after Jung-Yi was rendered comatose, Kronoid’s Chairman offered Seo-Hyun’s aunt money to care for the young girl and also pay to keep Jung-Yi alive. In exchange for paying her hospital bills, the Chairman wants to use the mercenary’s brain for research purposes leading to the birth of project “JUNG_E,” which is headed by Jung-Yi’s daughter. Therefore, the actual Jung-Yi is technically alive, and her body is kept at a hospital in a secure location.

Eventually, Seo-Hyun learns that the Allied Forces and Adrian Republic are signing a treaty that will end the war. As a result, there is no need for the JUNG_E project to research combat applications of AI. The Chairman’s words imply that Kronoid no longer needs the services of Jung-Yi and her body is practically useless to them. Therefore, it is unlikely that they will spend valuable resources to keep her alive in a comatose state. Hence, it is safe to say that the real Jung-Yi is dead by the movie’s end.

On the other hand, Seo-Hyun frees one of the test robots imprinted with her mother’s neural cortex. Although she erases the memories of herself from the robot’s program, in the end, the JUNG_E test robot remembers the moments Jung-Yi shared with her daughter. In the final moments, JUNG_E gives Seo-Hyun an affectionate cheek rub implying that all of Jung-Yi’s memories live on within the robot. Ultimately, Jung-Yi lives on due to her daughter’s efforts and research. The legendary soldier is spiritually alive in the form of the JUNG_E robot, and all her memories, as well as her love for her daughter, remain intact.

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