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Watch the explosive sci-fi thriller Illang: The Wolf Brigade before it leaves Netflix

The rare live-action adaptation that lives up to its anime counterpart

The gas masked armored members of the Wolf Brigade in Illang: The Wolf Brigade Image: Warner Bros.

Disney Plus and Hulu aren’t the only streaming services that are shedding content next week. Illang: The Wolf Brigade is expected to leave Netflix on Tuesday, May 23. This is unfortunate, not only because the sci-fi political action thriller is one of the best movies on Netflix, but because, as of this writing, there is no other way to purchase, rent, or stream the film in the United States.

Released in South Korea in 2018, Illang: The Wolf Brigade is I Saw the Devil director Kim Jee-woon’s adaptation of Hiroyuki Okiura and Mamoru Oshii’s 1999 anime film Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, and it was quickly acquired by Netflix shortly after its premiere. Set in 2029, Illang follows Im Joong-kyung (Gang Dong-won), a member of a militarized police force tasked with quelling an insurgency caused by the impending reunification of North and South Korea following a disastrous economic depression.

Shaken after witnessing the death of a suicide bomber, Joong-kyung attempts to grow closer to the bomber’s sister (Han Hyo-joo) in order to discern whether or not she too is working for her sister’s compatriots, and to assuage his own conscience. Joon-kyung quickly finds himself at the heart of a maelstrom of byzantine political infighting, and is forced to choose whether or not to continue fighting as a member of the Wolf Brigade or run away with the woman in hopes of a better life.

Gang Dong-won as Im Joong-kyung in his armor holding a pistol in Illang: The Wolf Brigade. Photo: Cho Won Jin/Netflix

Unlike other live-action adaptations of beloved anime like 2017’s Ghost in the Shell or 2009’s Dragonball Evolution, Illang: The Wolf Brigade is among the precious few adaptations that manage to meet the standard set by their predecessors. While not nearly as wistful and melancholic as Jin-Roh, Illang more than makes up for it with blisteringly intense firefights, pulse-pounding close-quarters action scenes, and exquisite practical effects and costume designs, especially in Brigade’s haunting gas mask-adorned armor suits. It’s less a film that supplants Okiura’s original as it is a companion piece to it, one that demonstrates the creative elasticity and enduring resonance of its source material.

Illang: The Wolf Brigade will join over 80 Netflix originals that have since departed the platform. Some are now available on other streaming services, or to rent or purchase digitally. Others are not available to watch anywhere legally in the United States.

Watch Illang: The Wolf Brigade on Netflix while you can, and while you’re at, go check out Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, currently streaming on Crunchyroll and Tubi with ads.

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