Resurrection of the Little Match Girl (성냥팔이 소녀의 재림 - Sungnyangpali sonyeoui jaerim) is a 2002 South Korean action film. It was screened at the 2003 London Film Festival and was the opening film of the Fantasia Festival that same year.
The movie starts with a recap of the original story, modernized and moved to Korea. The Match Girl wanders the streets, trying to sell lighters to the people. No one will buy any, and stores close their doors from her. Cold and hungry, she tries to warm her hands with the lighters. A passersby tells her she should sniff the fumes instead, which she does. Feeling no more hunger or cold, she sees the snowflakes falling on her turn into cherry petals, and in the midst of the beautiful scenery she dies in the street.
After the introductory scene we move to a bar, where Ju and his friend Lee are entertaining two young women. Lee gains some popularity by telling he is a StarCraft player in a tournament. Ju however is more interested in his meal and ends up leaving alone. He works as a delivery boy, humiliated by clients and his employer alike. He wants to be a great gamer like his friend Lee, who wins the tournament and becomes a professional.
Ju wastes his time at the game arcade, after which he meets the Match Girl and buys a lighter from her. He then follows the girl, but she is joined by another man and Ju follows them at a distance to the port. The girl and the man leave on a boat, and the words "Game Over" appear. Ju wakes in front of the arcade, still holding the lighter but the Match Girl is gone. He runs to the port, but finds no sign of her. He then calls the number on the lighter and is greeted by a welcome message to the game "Resurrection of the Little Match Girl". After hearing an explanation of the game and its dangers, Ju joins the game. His mission is to let the girl die, but she must die thinking of him as her beloved.
After a further explanation of the characters Ju must save the Match Girl we meet some of them. An organ harvester's plans are foiled by a small gang and a female gunslinger riding on a motorcycle. Ju later meets this woman, and her name is revealed as Lara - like Lara Croft, only a lesbian, as she is described in the film. Ju begs her to take him as a student, but she rejects him.
The gang hatches a plan to threaten to rape the Match Girl, after which the leader would show up to save the girl by beating up his underlings in order to win her heart. The plan fails as another group of gangsters shows up and captures the girl. Lara battles them, but she is knocked unconscious and is only saved from death by Ju's intervention. They chase the gangsters on a motorcycle to a night club, where Lara is severely wounded after a gun fight.
The leader of the gangsters gives orders to kill Lara, but then receives a call from the System. Ju is explained to be a suspected virus, and he is targeted instead. Meanwhile, Ju is taking Lara to a hospital when he receives a message that if he goes to the hospital he will surely lose. Ju abandons Lara and takes her guns and motorcycle. Ju is soon detected by what appear to be soldiers and police, and as he runs from them he is saved by the designer of the System, who hides in the world disguised as a fisherman. He also meets his friend Lee, who lets him go on account of friendship.
Ju finds the Match Girl and takes her to a restaurant while evading the police and soldiers. The next morning the girl wakes beside him and leaves with his light machine gun - the abbreviation LMG is probably not coincidental. The girl continues to sell her lighters as in the introduction, but now she is quick to retaliate with her gun as she is rejected. During this bloody rampage she rises quickly into a popular icon. After further failed attempts by both the gangsters and by the police and soldiers to capture her she turns the gun on herself and threatens to shoot herself if she is approached. The soldiers withdraw, but they allow the gangster leader to talk to her - she hates him for killing her old boyfriend, and therefore is likely to use her few bullets on him rather than on herself. She shoots the lovesick gangster, but as his dying words he says he did not kill her boyfriend - the System did. The Match Girl is taken away to be reprogrammed.
Ju, now desperate, finds the System designer fishing at the pier and asks for his advice. He is told to ask for a mackerel at the booth where he met Lara. The mackerel turns out to be a toy gun, but a very powerful one. Armed with the mackerel and joined by Lara, whose life was saved by the merchant at the booth, Ju attacks the System itself. After a battle on the road leading to the System building Lara is killed, and Ju enters the building alone.
Inside, Ju encounters a rapidly changing virtual world and enemies emerging from the very walls around him. He can sense the direction of the Match Girl, and runs through various landscapes towards his goal. Finally he meets Lee again, and after Ju defeats him they walk to their final encounter in the System core. Lee is killed in the ensuing gunfight with the System soldiers, and Ju is allowed to enter alone.
Ju is congratulated for his performance in the game, however he is too late - the Match Girl has already been reprogrammed and no longer recognizes him. In a desperate attempt to regain her Ju is killed, and the words "Game Over" appear. Ju watches the words on the screen in front of him, and returns to his boring life as a delivery boy.
In true video game fashion, this is named the sad ending, and the good one is shown next. In this version, Ju asks to give the lighter back to the Match Girl, and he is allowed to do so. As he hands it to her, his tear falls on the girl's hand. This time as the girl is led away she seizes a machine gun from one of the soldiers and starts shooting at them, and Ju joins in the fight. The girl chases a butterfly out to the sea running on the waves, but her shots miss. She is then shot in the back and sinks. Ju dives in after her and saves her. He then shoots out the butterfly, and the entire world shatters.
Ju awakes in an unknown place and time, where he lives with the Match Girl, who has forgotten everything about her past. Ju wonders if this is good or bad, but doesn't really care. They are happy.