An ordinary guy suddenly gains superpowers in this South Korean superhero movie from acclaimed filmmaker Sang-ho Yeon (Train to Busan).
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BY Aaron Yap Flicks Writer
Yeon Sang-Ho’s follow-up to his rapturously received zombie pic Train to Busan isn’t as fresh and invigorating an experience. It resorts to a few too many boilerplate beats, and suffers from tonal whiplashing that sits uncomfortably in the context of the real-life tragedy that it’s partially based on.... More
The latter — a deadly 2009 clash in Seoul’s Yongsan district between riot police and redevelopment protesters — is echoed in Psychokinesis’ plot: a schlubby security guard (Ryu Seung-ryong), after drinking mysterious asteroid fluid from a mountain spring, finds himself an unwitting hero to embattled, soon-to-be-evicted business owners.
Much less cosmically scaled than Marvel and DC juggernauts — think Chronicle or Hancock — the film does produce minor rewards for its resolutely blue collar, for-the-people, sensibilities. It’s an earnest David vs Goliath story with no fancy outfits, geeky gadgets or elaborate team-ups.
Superhero tropes are doled out competently, but lack genuine surprise. Its CGI parade of levitating objects, skyscraper pogo-ing and crushed metal are par for the course. But Yeon conjures occasional instances of inspiration: the scene where Ryu tries to impress his estranged daughter by turning a necktie into a snake-dancing cobra positively recalls the heartfelt, grin-inducing magic of Stephen Chow.
I also appreciated the running gag involving Ryu considering a newfound career as a magician. At a brisk 100 minutes, Psychokinesis is difficult to completely hate, but its blend of overwrought melodrama, dopey slapstick and assembly line spectacle requires some adjusting to along the way.Hide