We Die Young: the movie ending, simply explained

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This article reveals the explained plot and the detailed events in 2019 movie We Die Young, revealing its meaning, symbols, ending and storyline. We recommend you to read it only after watching the movie, and not before, in order to preserve the pleasure of the first vision.

We Die Young is a action movie released in 2019, starring a 59 years old Jean-Claude Van Damme playing a old war veteran who came back home and tries to help two young brothers to escape the gang they belong to. The movie goes quite fast, and the ending may look confusing to somebody. In this article we will explain the plot and the ending in the simplest way possible.

The plot of the movie

Lucas is a young boy who recently entered the local gang, as a drug dealer. During the movie we understand that Lucas is not a bad boy, but the place where he lives is dominated by criminality and he sees the gang as the only way to “be someone” in life. He does his job, he tries to respect everybody and stay away from violence.

Nevertheless, one day something breaks the balance: his younger brother, Miguel, wants to join the gang too, and impress Lucas. Lucas is furious: Miguel is a smart boy, he’s a promising student and he cannot waste his talents on the street. The day he assist at his brother’s initiation rite for the gang, something breaks inside Lucas. He has to take his brother and leave the city as soon as possible.

This happens in a special day: Lucas has two valuable bricks of drug on his backpack and he’s supposed to drop them in a place, as ordered by the boss of the gang, Rincon. That same day, Rincon’s sister gets married, in a special ceremony held at Rincon’s home. When Jester, Rincon’s right hand, discovers that Lucas wants to take Miguel away from his career in the gang, he chases the two boys, considering this a betrayal.

Here is where Daniel, the character interpreted by Jean-Claude Van Damme, takes action. He’s a war veteran, addicted to pills that he uses to cope with the anxiety and the PTSD originated in the Afghanistan war. He’s a good person and he thinks Lucas and Miguel should stay away from the streets, so he helps them escape Jester’s guys. That makes him a target of Rincon’s fury. And this brings us to the ending of We Die Young, that you’ll see explained in a second.

We Die Young: the ending explained

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In a Gran Torino style ending, Daniel approaches Rincon’s home, right when his sister’s wedding is taking place. Knowing that out of his home there is always the FBI watching them, he attacks two of Rincon’s men and takes one of them hostage, entering his home. The FBI notices that something bad is going to happen and breaks the coverage, ordering the men in the house to drop the weapons. The outcome is not a surprise: a big shooting starts immediately.

All this is happening while Lucas and Miguel are inside Rincon’s home, already caught by Jester. Rincon’s is out of control: his sister’s wedding is ruined, the guy who had to receive the two bricks came to visit him in the middle of the wedding and tried to rape a member of the family, getting killed by Rincon’s hands. And now Rincon wants to know what happened. But the shooting with the FBI breaks the scene.

During the shooting, Daniel enters home, grabs the two kids and all three manage to escape. But they are reached by Jester and Rincon, armed with guns. There is a confrontation between Rincon and Lucas, where Rincon asks why he behaved that way, and Lucas answers: “you know why”. In those few words, seeing that Lucas’ only interest was to protect his brother, Rincon (who just saw his sister dying few moments before) understands the good intentions of Lucas and releases him, telling him to leave and never come back.

Jester is not ok with that and, in a moment of fury, kills Rincon. He wants to kill the boys too, but Daniel is aiming at him. They agree to both drop the weapons. Daniel throws the jacket to Lucas, and the two boys leave forever. Then Daniel throws the brick to Jester. At this point we already know that the bricks didn’t actually contain drugs, but money.

In last scene, Jester notices that the brick is empty and asks Daniel where is the money. He won’t get the answer: he’s killed by another young boy who recently entered the gang. Just because. The movie ends with Miguel finding the money inside the jacket that Daniel gave them: it was him taking out the money from the brick and putting it inside the jacket, to allow the two boys to start over again in a new place, where Miguel can start the school that just accepted his application.

Why doesn’t Van Damme talk in We Die Young?

The reason why Daniel, the character played by Jean-Claude Van Damme in We Die Young, isn’t talking is exactly the accident he had in war, during the flashback we see in the movie: while fighting in the war Daniel was a perfectly functional soldier, but then he’s hit by an explosion and his voice will be affected forever. In the movie he tries to communicate with the digital voice on his phone and writing. His character acquires therefore a peculiar aura, a man capable of expressing feelings without words.

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