Is Yaksha: Ruthless Operation a True Story?

Netflix’s new spy-action thriller in Yaksha: Ruthless Operation is a refreshing Asian film that departs from the usual romance, drama, and supernatural movies that we often see in South Korean films. In that regard, this is more of a good cop, bad cop kind of movie that allows us to see a black ops squad teaming up with a prosecutor in an East Asian affair. But is Yaksha: Ruthless Operation a true story?

It is unlikely that Yaksha: Ruthless Operation is a true story because of how it involves espionage that involves some East Asia powers like China, Japan, South Korea, and North Korea. There are also political connections that should’ve been publicized to the world had this been a true story.

Like a lot of the different spy movies that we have seen on the screen, Yaksha: Ruthless Operation is most likely fiction. Of course, it could be possible that its story is based on events that may have happened on a smaller scale. Nevertheless, it is best that you understand more about what this movie is about for you to see why it couldn’t be based on a true story.

What Is Yaksha: Ruthless Operation All About?

Netflix is one of the best streaming service providers when it comes to some of the best Asian films. In that regard, Yaksha: Ruthless Operation departs from the usual romance, drama, and supernatural movies that we often see from South Korean filmmakers and focuses more on a James Bond type of film that’s less on the gadgets and more on the action and drama.

The film opens up with a scene wherein Ji Kang-in, the head of the Shenyang branch of the NIS or the intelligence agency of South Korea, is in the middle of an action-packed series of events that ended with him killing a supposed traitor in Hong Kong.

From there, the movie fast-forwards four years from that event and allows us to see Han Ji-hoon, a prosecutor in Seoul, trying to bring down a high-ranking Korean politician using the strong arm of the law. 

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But when his colleagues were caught trying to gain evidence in a manner that didn’t follow the books, he ended up getting demoted to a laidback yet meaningless position with the NIS until he was sent to Shenyang to serve as the investigator of the NIS Shenyang branch of the NIS, which is composed of a black ops squad headed by Ji Kang-in, who is also nicknamed Yaksha due to his rather harsh yet effective way of exacting his own brand of justice.

It goes without saying that Han Ji-hoon and Ji Kang-in would clash because of the difference in the manner in which they see justice. Ji-hoon follows the letter of the law and believes that justice should be served the right way. On the other hand, Kang-in prefers to use brutal yet effective methods to get the job done, regardless of who has to die on the way.

Han Ji-hoon gets caught up in a huge conspiracy involving numerous espionage agencies in Shenyang, which has the largest concentration of spies in the entire world. It ultimately became a battle between Japanese spies and Yaksha’s group in a race to obtain valuable information from a Korean informant. And the reason why it was important to get hold of this information goes back to the fact that it involves numerous companies, countries, and agencies all around the world and how they are involved in the espionage war in East Asia.

At first, Han Ji-hoon was reluctant to get himself tied up with the entire conflict between the different spy agencies involved, but he had no choice but to do so because his life was already on the line and because the entire conspiracy was closer to home than what he originally thought it was.

In a manner of speaking, this is a tale of two different sides of justice. One looks at justice as something that should be handled legally. Meanwhile, the other side looks at justice as something that should be handled using whatever means is necessary because you can’t always follow the letter of the law when it comes to powerful people that could basically find a loophole around the legal system.

Is Yaksha: Ruthless Operation A True Story?

As mentioned, Yaksha: Ruthless Operation is a movie that has events that are more or less grounded on realism because there are no supernatural elements or anything close to that concept. So, does that mean that this is based on a true story?

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It is unlikely that Yaksha: Ruthless Operation is based on a true story. That’s because this movie is all about espionage and the different secret operations that involve those who are working on the field as spies and operatives for different government agencies. Things as sensitive as espionage and government secrets are not stories that are easily available to movie writers.

Of course, there’s the fact that a lot of the things involved in the film involve sensitive information regarding different governments in East Asia. For example, had this been a true story, it would undermine the Japanese government because of how the Japanese spies in the movie are painted as the antagonists who bribe different spies to switch over to their side.

On top of that, the movie takes place in a Chinese city that was painted as the city that has the highest concentration of spies around the world. Had this been a true story, it is unlikely that China would allow the movie to paint a Chinese city in that color.

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Then there’s also the fact that we are looking at government officials who are also involved in the larger conspiracy in this movie. The big reveal of the movie came when the director of the NIS herself was actually painted as a turncoat that supported the Japanese government. Meanwhile, at the end of the film, the high-ranking politician that Ji-hoon tried to bring down at the beginning of the events was also involved in the entire conspiracy as well.

Those are stories that are actually quite sensitive in terms of the grander schemes in South Korea’s government setup. And a scandal as big as high-ranking government officials becoming involved with espionage and treason should be something that should’ve been highly publicized by the world media had it been a true story.

Given the sensitivity of the plot and the scope that’s covered by the movie, it is highly unlikely that Yaksha: Ruthless Operation is based on real events, even though it might be possible that similar espionage stories are happening in different places around the world.

  • Ysmael is a self-professed geek that loves anything related to fantasy, sci-fi, video gaming, and anime. Spends his free time watching movies, TV shows and gaming, a lot.