Kiss me, kill me aka Kill me (2009) by Yang Jong-hyeon

"Love is the greatest energy that moves people''


‘’Kiss me, kill me’’ is a not a conventional romantic movie, since, except romance, it also includes elements of thriller, drama and humor. It’s the first feature film of director and writer Yang Jong-hyeon.

Yoon Hyeon-joon (Shin Hyeon-joon) is a quiet and lonely contract killer who lives with his alcoholic mother (Kim Hye-ok). Seo Jin-yeong (Kang Hye-jeong) is a depressed, suicidal young woman, dumped by her boyfriend. Fate brings the two of them together when Seo Jin-yeong hires Yoon Hyeon-joon through his agency, to kill her in her sleep, because she wants to ‘go out with a bang’. Yoon Hyeon-joon, unaware of the fact that he is going to kill Seo Jin-yeong, but instead under the impression that he is going to kill an old man in his sleep, he arrives at her house. This meeting changes both of their lives.

Because the film starts with fights and killings, someone might think that this is a typical heavy melodramatic romantic-thriller movie. This impression, however, is shattered in the scene where Yoon Hyeon-joon is on the roof, getting ready for his next target. This is the first hint that this is not a typical movie, but one filled with humor. Furthermore, the humor is never out of place, instead it draws laughter from the viewers, naturally, without forcing it. 

Director-writer Yang Jong-hyeon conveys one clear message: in life, not everything  goes the way we want it or as we planned it, either this concerns love or profession. In addition, he underlines the nature of humans, that settle in one situation and type of life. If this comfort zone changes suddenly and without warning, then it’s even possible for someone to become emotionally unstable, like Seo Jin-yeong.

Moreover, Yang Jong-hyeon stresses the importance of closure in romantic relationships, in order to be able to move on and create a new one. Only when all the loose ends are tied up, one can comfortably move forward and create a new relationship.

Another significant message is the following: Even if in the past we deeply loved someone, to the point to say ‘’I love you to death’’ and he/she severely hurt us, we can and should move on. The bottom line is that another love, even greater than the previous one will come. 


The motto at the begging of the movie "Love is the greatest energy that moves people'' is the axis of the film. Love truly can move people, can make them put new goals and can motivate them to change their lives and become better individuals.  An example for this is Yoon Hyeon-joon's transformation, after meeting Seo Jin-yeong and falling in love with her. This transformation is portrayed through subtle details like the petting of the dog at his friend's pet shop, and more vividly, by making mistakes at work. These mistakes also cause him to lose his job, but in the end, both Yoon Hyeon-joon and Seo Jin-yeong come to realize that love is important and life is better than death.

Through the movie, there are various scenes that show what unconditionally loving and trusting someone means. One identifying scene is when Yoon Hyeon-joon takes Seo Jin-yeong hostage on the rooftop after they kiss. Seo Jin-yeong knows deep inside her that Yoon Hyeon-joon would not betray her that easily, in contrast to her ex-boyfriend. She knows that all these were a part of an act in order to protect her. 

The lives of Yoon Hyeon-joon and Seo Jin-yeong are convoluted and they are fated to be together as it’s suggested in various occasions. Many of their meetings are unintentional and they meet due to fate, a favorite theme of Korean movies. 

One of my favorite scenes that supports the above statement takes place towards the end of the movie. This scene gives a new light to their first encounter, at the beginning of the movie, even before they met at Seo Jin-yeong's house. In this scene, Yoon Hyeon-joon gets into a car accident while staring at Seo Jin-yeong (at that time without knowing who she was) and the leaves on the roof of the car get disturbed. One of these leaves lands on Seo Jin-yeong's shoulder, who was crying.  She removes the leaf with her hand and it is carried by the wind, reaching Yoon Hyeon-joon once more.  Yoon Hyeon-joon is now on the roof of a building with a gun just before he misses his target and shoots Seo Jin-yeong, by mistake. It’s a really poetic, beautifully made scene, both in terms of directing and hidden meanings. The scene is accompanied by heartwarming background music, as it really touches the heartstrings of the viewer.



Yang Jong-hyeon does a magnificent work both with the directing and with the script, which includes smart dialogues. As for the cinematography, it is truly beautiful, and the panoramic views of the streets are breath-taking. The editing by Steve M. Choe and Jin Lee also stands out, since it is fast enough to facilitate the action scenes and create the proper suspense. As for the music, in some scenes is catchy and in others heartwarming and sad, triggering the right feelings to the viewer.

Shin Hyeon-joon does an excellent job as Yoon Hyeon-joon and his acting is very natural. His distinguishing facial features really help him to be great  both in the dramatic and the funny scenes. He portrays a man who  is paid to kill, but  he is a likable character and the viewer roots for him.

Seo Jin-yeong as Kang Hye-jeong is also excellent and portrays a really likable character. Particularly in the emotional scenes, she is really exceptional.

‘’Kiss me, kill me’’, entails  heavy themes including heartbreak, suicide tendencies, contract killing, but with the addition of humor becomes light-hearted and entertaining,  without failing to convey an important message: Love can even be found in the most unbelievable situations, we all have the right to love and we deserve to be truly loved. 


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Asian Film Vault: Kiss me, kill me aka Kill me (2009) by Yang Jong-hyeon
Kiss me, kill me aka Kill me (2009) by Yang Jong-hyeon
"Love is the greatest energy that moves people''
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