‘Project Wolf Hunting’ Explained: Arranging the Events in Chronological Order to Explain the Bloody Violence
Project Wolf Hunting is a fantastic action-horror movie, but its story isn’t the easiest to follow. Find answers to all your biggest questions here!
Table of Contents
Project Wolf Hunting is one of the best action-horror movies of the modern era. The basic premise of this South Korean film is simple: criminals versus cops trapped together on a ship. That premise leads a lot of people assuming that Project Wolf Hunting is like Con Air (1997) on a boat, but it’s so much more than that.
Project Wolf Hunting is a blending of various genres and subgenres including action, crime-thriller, monster movie, and science fiction. The one subgenre that unites them all is “splatter.” Project Wolf Hunting is extremely gory, with blood covering the walls and flowing down the corridors of the ship the movie is set on. The copious amount of blood isn’t just for shock value or set dressing though. It actually serves a purpose in the story, a story which is more complex than viewers might expect.
The first hour of Project Wolf Hunting is fairly straightforward. The second hour, however, dives deep into a decades-long conspiracy that is part of the reason why there is so much bloodshed happening now. The backstory is told in flashbacks which dole out information in pieces, expanding and repeatedly changing our understanding of character motivations. It can be a lot to digest in a single viewing, so this guide will help you to make sense of everything that happens in Project Wolf Hunting.
Project Wolf Hunting Plot Summary
Project Wolf Hunting is about a group of prisoners being extradited from the Philippines to South Korea aboard a cargo ship called the Frontier Titan. The prisoners have a plan to escape the custody of the police detectives watching them, and most of the movie shows the extremely gory battles that erupt on the ship once the prisoners are freed.
At a certain point in the movie, it is revealed that a genetically altered human called Alpha is hidden on the ship. Alpha is being illegally transported to South Korea in secret, and most of the prisoners and police are unaware of his presence. Alpha is supposed to be kept asleep for the entire trip, but the blood and violence of the fight between the criminals and police wake him up. Project Wolf Hunting turns into a sci-fi monster movie at this point as Alpha tries to kill everyone he comes across.
The story surrounding Alpha and why he is aboard the ship is the most complicated part of the movie, and it is explored in greater detail in the “Timeline of Events” section below. Put simply, there is a secret plot concerning a pharmaceutical company, Aeon Genetics, which contributes to everyone on board the Frontier Titan being slaughtered.
So, in effect, there are three factions working against each other on the ship: the prisoners, the police, and Aeon Genetics. The following three sections explain the roles of each faction along with the main characters that you might need help keeping track of. The rest of this article contains major spoilers!
Main Characters: Prisoners
The prisoners aboard the cargo ship Frontier Titan are being extradited from the Philippines to Korea for prosecution for their crimes. A few of the prisoners prepared an escape plan in advance, and it is that plan that sets everything into motion in Project Wolf Hunting. Listed below are the main prisoners seen throughout the movie.
Played by: Seo In-guk
The heavily tattooed Jong-doo is the de facto leader of the prisoners aboard the cargo ship Frontier Titan. Though it isn’t explicitly stated in the movie, Jong-doo appears to be an elite member of a gang. Not every criminal aboard the ship is a member of Jong-doo’s gang, but a few are (as noted below). Jong-doo is the mastermind behind the escape plan which sets all the prisoners free. His goal is to free his fellow inmates, take control of the ship, cut off all communication and tracking, and divert the ship away from its destination in Korea.
Played by: Ko Chang-seok
Gun-bae knows Jong-doo, and he is presumably part of the same gang. Gun-bae takes orders from Jong-doo, but he delegates those orders to other, even lower gang members. Gun-bae is a lot more level-headed than Jong-doo, but he is totally fine with the rampant murder happening aboard the Frontier Titan. Gun-bae is tasked with clean-up duty and freeing Myeong-ju as part of his main goal of supporting Jong-doo’s escape plan.
Played by: Jang Young-nam
Myeong-ju is another member of Jong-doo’s gang. As one of only two female prisoners aboard the Frontier Titan, Myeong-ju is held in a separate location from the rest of the inmates and is the last to be freed. Myeong-ju and Gun-bae have a good relationship with each other, and it appears as if they care for one another. Mainly though, Myeong-ju just wants to escape with everyone else.
Played by: Jang Dong-yoon
Lee Do-il’s backstory is slightly complicated, and his story ends up being the most important in the movie. Do-il’s motivation is getting revenge on Aeon Genetics. Do-il was an unwilling participant in Aeon’s genetic experiments. The experiments gave Do-il superpowers (strength, speed, slowed aging), but when he tried to escape Aeon’s grasp, they killed Do-il’s wife and abducted his son. Do-il played a role in putting Alpha aboard the Frontier Titan so that he could track where Alpha is taken and find where Aeon is located. Do-il didn’t know about Jong-doo’s escape plan, and he doesn’t care about it. He just wants to get to Korea and find Aeon.
Played by: Son Jong-hak
Soo-cheol is not directly associated with anyone else aboard the Frontier Titan. He is just a criminal being extradited to Korea for dealing drugs. Soo-cheol isn’t particularly happy with the Jong-doo’s escape plan. He’d rather be going to Korea. Soo-cheol stays close to Lee Do-il because Do-il seems to be the least threatening of all the prisoners when they’re freed, and because Do-il also wants to go to Korea.
Main Characters: Police & Ship’s Crew
The police aboard the Frontier Titan just want the voyage to be nice and quiet. They are there to monitor the prisoners, with each detective initially assigned to a single criminal. None of the police officers have a hidden agenda, but the same isn’t true for the crew of the Frontier Titan. There is a contingent of the crew who are working with the prisoner Jong-doo. Also, the doctor who volunteers to help the police is working with Aeon Genetics. Listed below are the most prominent members of the police and crew, along with where their loyalties lie.
Played by: Park Ho-san
Seok-woo is in charge of all of the detectives aboard the Frontier Titan. He is selfless in his duty, putting his life in danger repeatedly in order to help his comrades, and to try to regain control of the ship. Seok-woo isn’t afraid of getting physical with the inmates to keep them in line, but he is a fair and honorable police officer. He is also completely unprepared for Jong-doo’s escape plan and for the presence of Aeon’s super-soldiers.
Played By: Jung So-min
Da-yeon is one of only two female detectives aboard the Frontier Titan. She is highly perceptive, and she takes her job more seriously than the majority of her fellow officers. Throughout the movie, Da-yeon protects the people she can while doing her best to support Seok-woo in his attempts to get the ship back under police control.
Played by: Jung Moon-sung
The cap-wearing Gyu-tae leads a small group of gang members who are masquerading as members of the ship’s crew. Gyu-tae is loyal to Jong-doo, and he is a vital part of Jong-doo’s plan. Gyu-tae and his men use their roles as members of the ship’s crew to gather weapons hidden in the galley, free the prisoners, and take control of the bridge. Gyu-tae also leads the effort to cut power to the tracking devices used by the control center in South Korea.
Played by: Lee Sung-wook
Lee Kyeong-ho is a doctor who volunteers with the police to be part of the voyage on the Frontier Titan the day before the ship sets off for Korea. It can be assumed that the original doctor meant to be aboard was removed by Aeon Genetics, because it is revealed that Kyeong-ho is secretly paid by Aeon to make sure that Alpha is anesthetized and rendered unconscious throughout the trip. Kyeong-ho is not regularly employed by Aeon though, and he is kept in the dark about all of the secret plots going on aboard the ship.
Played By: Hing Ji-yoon
Eun-ji is the nurse who accompanies the doctor Lee Kyeong-ho. She is not a police officer, but she and the doctor are working with the police aboard the Frontier Titan for the duration of their journey. Eun-ji volunteered to help Kyeong-ho, but she has no knowledge of his ulterior motives concerning Alpha and Aeon. She is aboard the ship to simply be a nurse, and she becomes an unfortunate victim of circumstance.
Main Characters: Aeon Genetics
Aeon Genetics is a pharmaceutical company. Publicly they sell anti-aging vitamins. Secretly they perform illegal experiments on humans. Aeon’s most important human test subject, referred to as Alpha, is hidden in the bowels of the Frontier Titan. The goal of Aeon Genetics is to have Alpha safely and secretly delivered to South Korea for further research into his cells’ anti-aging properties. Like the police, Aeon wants a calm and quiet journey. They have nothing to do with the prisoners’ escape plan, but that plan forces Aeon Genetics into direct action in the second half of the movie.
Played by: Choi Gwi-hwa
Alpha is the result of experiments conducted during World War II. He is animal-like and is motivated by instinct. Alpha was lobotomized at some point, and that combined with a history of extreme pain causes him to react violently to other people. Alpha was blinded as part of the experiments performed on him, but he has enhanced hearing and smell, and he can sense heat. His strength is five times that of a normal human, and he is three times faster than average. He ages considerably slower than other people, and Aeon Genetics see him as the key to better anti-aging technology and as the key to kick-starting the next phase of human evolution.
Played by: Sung Dong-il
Oh Dae-woong was granted powers similar to Do-il and Alpha through Aeon’s experiments. Dae-woong has worked for Aeon for many years. He has various duties within the company, and he is the person who killed Do-il’s wife and took his son. When Project Wolf Hunting begins, Dae-woong is stationed in Korea where he, pretending to be a high-ranking member of the Coast Guard, takes over the control center overseeing the Frontier Titan’s voyage. Dae-woong is there to ensure than Alpha successfully makes the trip to Korea and to presumably intercept him when the ship arrives. The prisoners’ escape plan puts Dae-woong’s goal in jeopardy, forcing him to take matters into his own hands.
Played by: Lim Ju-hwan
Not much is revealed about Chief Pyo, but he is a powerful man within Aeon Genetics. He has powers similar to Do-il and Dae-woong. Also, he can be seen in images with Alpha from the 1940s, so we can assume Chief Pyo was experimented on around the same time. We see Chief Pyo give orders to Dae-woong, and even though Dae-woong bristles at Chief Pyo’s words, he still does what he is told. Chief Pyo is violent and quick to anger.
Timeline of Events
With Korea under Japanese rule, Kim Han-gyu (later known as Alpha) is conscripted into the Japanese army and sent to fight in the Philippines. On August 13, 1943 Han-gyu is sent to a camp in Zamboanga City on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. The man later referred to as Chief Pyo is at the same camp, as seen in photographs from that time.
It is at the Zamboanga City camp that Han-gyu becomes a test subject in the Kemono Project (“kemono” is Japanese for “beast”). After multiple experiments overseen by the Japanese Army, Han-gyu displays the best results of all other test subjects. After the final successful operation, Han-gyu wakes up on the operating table and slaughters the doctors, nurses, and military personnel present with him in operating room. Despite the brutally efficient murders (or perhaps because of them), Han-gyu’s results give him an “AA” distinction. He is assigned the code name “Alpha” and is presumably kept as a prisoner until we later see him aboard the Frontier Titan nearly 80 years later.
2012 (approximate year)
Lee Do-il is stabbed in what appears to be a gang war. The fight began over the death of a man’s brother, though Do-il claims his gang didn’t do it. With the participants of both sides of the fight all either dead or dying, Oh Dae-woong arrives with a team from Aeon Genetics to gather the bodies for experiments. Do-il is included in the bodies gathered.
Judging by the timing of Dae-woong’s arrival, it can be assumed that he was watching the fight. It is also safe to assume that he framed Do-il’s gang for whatever death started the fight in the first place. When Dae-woong is confronted by Do-il on the Frontier Titan about a decade later, Dae-woong doesn’t recognize Do-il at first. From this and other context clues, it is likely that Dae-woong and Aeon regularly manipulated gangs and criminals into fighting each other so they could collect the battered bodies for their research.
Of the group that Do-il was a part of, most if not all of them died during the experiments. Do-il dies as well, and his body is taken away to be disposed of. Do-il wakes up when he and the corpses of other Aeon victims are dumped into a pig farm to be eaten by the pigs. With newfound strength and speed thanks to Aeon’s experiments, Do-il kills Aeon’s disposal crew and escapes.
Do-il attempts to return to his normal life with his wife (or possibly girlfriend). They have a son together, but their happiness doesn’t last long. Aeon sends a crew to collect Do-il, but he resists. In retaliation, Dae-woong kills Do-il’s wife. Dae-woong notices that Do-il’s baby boy has glowing eyes, indicating that Do-il might have passed some of his powers to his child. Dae-woong abducts the boy and takes him back to Aeon.
Exactly what happens to Do-il after he discovers that his wife is dead and his baby is missing isn’t clear. Jong-doo recognizes Do-il when they meet aboard the Frontier Titan, saying he is a “stone-cold killer” and a “celebrity.” This could mean that Do-il was blamed for the death of his wife, and he became the subject of a public manhunt. Jong-doo also says Do-il hasn’t aged a day in ten years, meaning Do-il has probably been out of the national spotlight in that time.
South Korea and the Philippines form an agreement to investigate Korean criminals fleeing to Philippines.
Per the agreement between the two countries, 47 Korean criminals are extradited by aircraft from the Philippines to South Korea. After landing at Gimpo International Airport in Seoul, a man with bombs strapped to himself targets one of the prisoners. The explosion kills multiple prisoners and police officers, and it injures about thirty citizens. The disaster leads the two governments to change their approach for the next extradition which will take place in five years. They decide to use a cargo ship instead of an airplane, since a ship can be better isolated from the general public.
In a flashback to 2021, Do-il holds a Filipino police officer at gunpoint. Do-il is wearing an orange-striped prison shirt similar to what Alpha wears. This likely indicates that Do-il was captured and imprisoned in the Philippines by Aeon some time after his wife was killed.
The officer Do-il is threatening uses a computer to pull up information on the Frontier Titan, but it’s not entirely clear what they are doing. Dae-woong blames Do-il for putting Alpha onto the Frontier Titan, but earlier in the movie Chief Pyo blames Dae-woong for the same thing.
Here’s a possible explanation. Do-il wants to find the people responsible for ruining his life. He knows Alpha is important to them, so he decides to track Aeon down by following where Alpha goes. Do-il learns that Alpha, who was being kept in a facility in the Philippines, is going to be transported to an Aeon location in South Korea for important research. Knowing this, Do-il escapes Aeon’s custody while still wearing his Aeon prison garb. Do-il then forces a Filipino police officer to arrange to have Alpha transported aboard the Frontier Titan. Do-il kills the officer and gives himself up to the local police, knowing that he too will be placed onto the Frontier Titan for extradition since he is marked as a highly-wanted criminal.
So even if Dae-woong didn’t arrange to have Alpha put on the ship, he was still in charge of the logistical side of the journey. He could’ve assumed that Chief Pyo wanted Alpha on the Frontier Titan, and their phone conversation where they blame each other for the problems aboard the ship is more about the lack of planning in regards to security rather than about who decided to use the ship in the first place. Also, Dae-woong seems to think that Chief Pyo forced him to travel out to the ship to personally pick up Alpha because Chief Pyo knows that Do-il is also on the ship, but that’s not made very clear either. There are gaps in the story, and many of the finer details are left vague, but the general idea is there.
A few days before the Frontier Titan sets off, Kim Gyu-tae and his men kill five members of the ship’s crew and steal their passports. This happens on Dunlop Street in Singapore, though the passports appear to be from the Philippines. This could mean that Gyu-tae’s men caught the crew while they were away from home.
On September 11, the original doctor who was supposed to join the police aboard the Frontier Titan cancels. A detective calls around and finds a new doctor, Lee Kyeong-ho, to volunteer, not knowing that the new doctor is being paid by Aeon Genetics to attend to Alpha. Nurse Song Eun-ji also volunteers for the trip. The fate of the original doctor is unknown.
On September 12 at around 4:00 p.m. local time, police and prisoners arrive at a port in the city of Manila in the Philippines for the extradition of multiple criminals to South Korea. By this time, Gyu-tae and his men are already on the ship disguised as crew members. Alpha and the two men watching over him are also already onboard, hidden in the lower decks. After everyone else boards, the ship departs just after 5:00 p.m.
In South Korea, Dae-woong and a team from Aeon take over the Busan Vessel Traffic Service Center where the Frontier Titan’s voyage is being monitored. Dae-woong and his men are disguised as members of the Coast Guard.
Once you know the backstory of everyone aboard, the events on the ship become very straightforward. Gyu-tae initiates the release of the prisoners by killing the few detectives watching the hallway where Jong-doo is being held. Gyu-tae then goes to the bridge while Jong-doo and other criminals free the rest of the male prisoners. Gyu-tae and his men take the bridge and destroy all of its communication devices. One of Gyu-tae’s men then goes out onto the deck of the ship is cuts power to the Frontier Titan’s tracking device.
By this time, a few of the detectives are becoming suspicious, including Seok-woo and Da-yeon. Gyu-tae and most of his men are killed. Meanwhile, the bodies of the many dead detectives killed by the freed prisoners are stacked in the ship’s freezer. The vast amount of blood now flowing through the ship’s pipes begins to leak onto Alpha. The blood wakes Alpha despite the efforts of the doctor to anesthetize him.
The criminals and police all head to the engine room to find the last known communication device on the ship. The criminals get there first and destroy the device. The police arrive and a fight begins. Possibly attracted by the blood and noise, Alpha arrives and kills nearly everyone who is still alive, including Jong-doo. Jong-doo’s gory death results in a vast amount of blood that runs into the ship’s engines, shutting them down. The Frontier Titan is dead in the water.
On the ship, Alpha is stalking and killing anyone still alive. Everyone aboard the ship is in survival mode as they scramble to determine what is happening. In Korea, Dae-woong is ordered by Chief Pyo to fly to the ship and retrieve Alpha. Once Dae-woong arrives with his team of enhanced soldiers, most of the people on the Frontier Titan are already dead. Dae-woong kills Alpha and removes his head so he can take it back to Aeon. Do-il and Dae-woong, the final two people left alive, fight each other. They both end up falling off the ship, with Do-il apparently killing Dae-woong (though his death is unconfirmed). That brings us to the ending.
Project Wolf Hunting Ending Explained
After we see Do-il and Dae-woong fall off the Frontier Titan, we next see Chief Pyo giving people a tour of an old prison facility located in what appears to be the Philippines. After the debacle aboard the Frontier Titan and the loss of Alpha, Aeon Genetics decides that it is too big of a risk trying to transport their test subjects to South Korea. Aeon will instead conduct its research and testing in the Philippines where its test subjects are located.
The prison Chief Pyo is currently in holds people who Aeon has tested on and who they want to study more. One of the people held is Do-il’s son, who appears to be around ten to twelve years old. It can be assumed that the boy has been in the custody of Aeon since he was a baby. The boy’s left eye glows bright blue, indicating that he has powers passed down to him from his father.
The final scene of the movie shows Do-il washing up onto a secluded beach some time after falling off of the Frontier Titan. Judging by where the Frontier Titan was last shown on the computer screens tracking its voyage, the beach Do-il finds himself on is most likely somewhere in Taiwan. Do-il strides forward, unsure of where he is but still on a path of revenge.
So what does all of this mean? Well, it leaves the story open for a sequel. Do-il’s story is left wide open with no real closure other than getting revenge on Dae-woong (if Dae-woong is really dead). Do-il is still trying to find the higher-ups at Aeon Genetics, and in that sense his original plan is a failure. We’re still not sure if Do-il knows about his son still being alive, and it seems clear that he definitely doesn’t know where his son is. Showing him on the beach at the end of the movie doesn’t say much other than that his story will continue. Whether or not we’ll get to see that play out in a sequel remains to be seen.