Starring: Ryu Seung-ryong, Shim Eun-kyung, Park Jung-min
Director: Yeon Sang-ho
Running Time: 101 mins
Psychokinesis is a South Korean film about a man who discovers he acquires the ability to move objects with his mind, but soon becomes a target of the authorities and an evil company as he strives to save his daughter.
While it’s a premise that’s worked well on occasion – Unbreakable, Chronicle etc. – I wasn’t all that impressed with Psychokinesis, as it proves a rather simplistic and predictable superhero vigilante movie, and while it’s backed up by some decent comedy at times, it’s never a particularly interesting or entertaining watch.
First things first, the film’s premise may sound like the sort with the potential to be both funny and intriguing, but the reality is that it just doesn’t have the depth to really impress. While there’s a silly entertainment value in watching a man unexpectedly acquire superpowers, and then go about trying to save his daughter and her local community by himself, there’s not all that much more to the story.
In comparison, Unbreakable looked at the parallels between the world of comic books and reality, while Chronicle offered up an enthralling analysis on the morality of superpowered vigilantism. Psychokinesis, on the other hand, is a film about a man who gets some superpowers, and then sets about using them against the baddies, and it’s not a story that proves particularly inspiring at any point.
With that said, where the film does try to branch out a little bit is with its humour. It’s not quite a full-on parody, but nor is it as serious an affair as the likes of Chronicle, so it’s where the film should have been able to really impress and entertain.
Unfortunately, the humour isn’t all that great either. While there are some good laughs here and there, the majority of the comedy falls flat alongside the rather underwhelming story, as you try to grasp just how seriously the film wants you to take what’s going on. It’s a difficult tightrope to walk – between parody and serious action – and unfortunately Psychokinesis falls off it on a number of occasions.
Finally, a word on the performances, which are at times the film’s strongest point, and at times one of its weakest areas. On the one hand, the lead turn from Ryu Seung-ryong is a lot of fun, and he proves the strongest demonstration of the film’s sense of humour, while Shim Eun-kyung, who plays his daughter, is also a likable presence, even though her character doesn’t have all that much to do.
With that said, some of the supporting cast just come across as a little amateurish in comparison to the leads, with some of the villains proving laughably silly, and a number of other supporting players failing to provide the same energy and excitement that the two leads do. It’s never a huge problem, but it can occasionally take away from the film’s most entertaining moments.
Overall, then, I wasn’t overly impressed by Psychokinesis. While it does have its moments, it’s a generally underwhelming affair that suffers with a rather simplistic story, an issue compounded by a muddled atmosphere between comedy and genuine superhero action. It’s not a terrible film, but with little to really rave about, it’s not one that I’ll remember for a long time to come, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.5.