SPIRITWALKER (유체이탈자) (2021)

Genre: Action/Fantasy
Director: Yoon Jae-keun
Cast: Yoon Kye-sang, Lim Ji-yeon, Park Yong-woo, Park Ji-hwan
Runtime: 1 hr 48 mins
Rating: NC16 (Some Violence and Drug Use)
Released By: Clover Films
Official Website: 

Opening Day:
 25 November 2021

Synopsis: Ian wakes up in the middle of a car crash finding himself in the body of man he has never seen before. He doesn't remember his own name nor where he lives. What he only knows is that his spirit is suddenly brought to someone else's body, somewhere else, every twelve hours. Searching for clues and answers, he finally meets the mysterious woman, Jin-ah, who claims to recognise him. After revealing his identity, he's determined to find a way back to his own body before a secretive organisation gets their hands on him. 

Movie Review:

What if you can be in someone else’s body every 12 hours? This interesting premise has a lot of potential for hilarious and slapstick scenarios, but this Korean drama uses it to concoct an exciting thriller that will leave viewers at the edge of their seats.

Directed by Yoon Jae Keun, the movie starts with a man waking up at the scene of a car accident. He has no memory of what happened and how he got to the location. To his horror, he finds that his face is not his own. A series of bewildering events happen and lots of action happen. Twelve hours later, he changes into yet another body and continues to be confused by what’s happening. One thing that’s common – he is chased by different people and everyone wants to know where a certain Ian is.

The 108 minute movie begins refreshingly, before audiences begin spotting a pattern that becomes predictable. However, that is not an issue because each episode will reveal different bits of the story. And trust the Koreans to make an exhilarating movie that involves cat and mouse chases, exciting car chases and over the top characters that dramatically shout at each other. As the story progresses, viewers will find that the screenplay gets complicated with drugs, betrayal and deceit.

Besides the body swap element, audiences may also be reminded of movies like Memento (2000) and The Bourne Identity (2002). The protagonist tries his best to remember what happened which led to this strange phenomena, and every time he enters a new body, a new clue surfaces. Other than the thugs he has to fight off, a mysterious female character seems to be central to his life. Cue the appearance of flashbacks, photographs and red herrings that are meant to throw viewers off balance.

The main lead is played by Yoon Kye Sang, and the filmmakers cleverly use different approaches so audiences can grasp the concept of the body swap, while allowing Yoon to shine with an intense performance that expresses puzzlement, fear, anguish and wrath. Supporting actors also hold their own ground and each one manages to leave an impression. Lim Ji Yeon takes on the role of the woman who may or may not be the key to the truth, while Park Ji Hwan is responsible for providing laughs as a homeless person who becomes the protagonist’s trusted companion. The production values are high, and the large scale action set pieces will please fans of the genre. The cinematography is gritty, and the dynamic camerawork will engage viewers from beginning to end.

This is a solid popcorn movie that does not disappoint. When the full picture finally comes to light, it is not particularly groundbreaking but audiences would have been adequately entertained by the fast paced story and action sequences to have much qualms. This is a spy movie, it has an interesting premise, the character has a strong personality, the antagonists are pure villains and there are plenty of action packed scenes – what’s there not to enjoy?

Movie Rating:

   

(A solid popcorn movie that is exhilarating from beginning to end)

Review by John Li


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