Director: Yoon Hong-Seung
Cast: Yang Mi, Wallace Huo, Jin Shijie, Liu Chang, Zhang Yihan
Runtime: 1 hr 46 mins
Released By: mm2 Entertainment, Clover Films, Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 29 June 2017
Synopsis: Xia Tien is a single mother who works as an associate researcher, helping to complete a technology that can allow people to go back in time. One day, her son is kidnapped by a mysterious man and she was forced to hand over her life's work. She takes a risk and travels to a time an hour and fifty minutes earlier in hopes of saving her son where she meets 3 of her own selves.
It’s exciting times. Nexus is a research facility close to completing a time-travelling device. Just two kinks - living subjects seem to exhibit some kind of cell degeneration after a period of time, and current energy levels at the site can only send them back a maximum of an hour and forty-five minutes.
Xia Tian (Yang Mi) is the talented associate researcher who heads the project with her mentor (Chin Shih Chieh). Struggling between her work and spending more time with her young son, the demure but passionate single mother opts to give her all and promises a fortnight’s deadline to the directorial board to rectify all loose ends. Unknown to her, a rival group has sent a hitman (Wallace Huo) to retrieve the data and her for their own gain, using her son as bait.
This sci-fi thriller, produced by Jackie Chan but directed by korean Yoon Hong-Seung has a plotline that’s not difficult to predict. And even though it’s a little cliche, it does have its moments, such as when an alternate Xi Tian gives up her son to the original Xia Tian.
Sadly, Reset fails to generate much past those occasional moments. The faultlines run through the entire film, with faults in four major areas - its actors, production value, scripting and editing.
As a film heroine, Yang Mi never really convinces. Her winsome ways are almost annoying, only matched by the inaptitude of her ex-husband Da Xiong (Liu Chang). Often the pair’s interaction is reduced to him asking Xia Tian what is happening, while she repeatedly stresses there’s no time to explain. She limps and struggles through every scene, even though she didn’t suffer any extra trauma - an awkward dramatisation that leaves me feeling detached.
Adding to the poor immersion are the sets and CG effects of the film. With the exception of the actual time portal, the other environments look recycled and make-shift. From the over-use of glass panels as writing boards and computer screens, to those embarrassing styrofoam of a statue and physic-defying CGI container collapse scenes, everything seems forced.
Gaping discrepancies are everywhere. The cast repeatedly emphasizes how the experiment is not ready for live human subjects, but when Xia Tian takes on the risk to save her son, she not only puts on a ready-made suit for the machine, but also punches in the activation sequence, inside the machine. Most laughably, when she goes back in time and exits the chambers, she asks her Da Xiong for some spare clothes and he presents it to her.
Most shocking of all is the editing. Kim Sang-beom has an impressive resume, having worked on brilliant films like Oldboy and Lady Vengeance, but in Reset, the uts feel tedious, insinuating that someone might have skimmed over storyboarding.
Reset is that new trend of merging Asian talents, and while a few have succeeded, this entry will go down as another lesser effort that suffered in translation.
(Going back in time seems like a good idea right about now for producer Jackie Chan. Reset requires all to revert to the drawing board)
Review by Morgan Awyong