ResetReviewed By Jay Seaver
Posted 07/02/17 01:04:35
There are bits of "Reset" that suggest something has been lost in translation or, more likely, as the filmmakers tried to wrestle a twisty sci-fi story into a crowd-pleasing action movie, bits that connect in the right way but which lack the right emphasis or revelations that don't make a whole lot of sense. That's kind of what one expects from a movie like this, despite hoping for something a nice surprise, but the good bits in this one often wind up highlighting how dumb other parts are.The hook is clever - it's 2025, and two companies are racing to develop travel between parallel universes; unfortunately, American firm IPT has seen their program end in disaster. They think they can recover if they steal the work of Chinese competitor Nexus Corp, where the project spearheaded by director Cheng Yijie (King Shih-chieh), Xia Tian (Yang Mi), Da XIang (Liu Chang), XIang Dong (Jin Xiyuan), and Huang Chen (Anita Wang Lidan) is making good progress. The solution proposed by mercenary Tsui Hu (Wallace Huo) is crude but potentially effective - kidnap XIa's young son Doudou ("Hummer" Zhang Yihan), inject an explosive in his neck, and tell her to get them their research data in an hour. The potential hitch with this plan is that Xia is surprisingly resourceful even without a machine that, while untested on humans, can position the other end of its wormhole up to 75 minutes in the past.
That is, admittedly, the past of a parallel but apparently identical universe, which is useful for not having to go on about paradoxes but is something that kind of gets put on the back burner as the story plays out. It makes for a rather grim set of implications that the filmmakers could spend a little more time examining even if it slowed down or spread out the action that winds up being rather backloaded, though enough is implied that doing so might have made the themes too obvious. There's still a lot that winds up being pretty dumb in the script without that: Aside from the security at Nexus HQ being so porous that this sort of risky blackmail gambit seems unnecessary (if you've got perfect eyeball containers on hand, there seems like a much easier way to go about this), there's a lot of sneaking around and yelling not shooting oneself in the foot by not explaining things. If there was ever a situation where the heroine could say "I'm you from an hour in the future of a parallel universe and we need to secure this building now" and have people believe it rather than mess around with chloroforming her doppelganger, it's this one.
The cast seems to have a hard time selling this as a result, although it may also be a case of this sort of twisty sci-fi movie not being as common in China as it is in the U.S. despite China eating this sort of thing up when they import it. Yang Mi, for instance, initially feels a bit out of her element , although to her great credit she proves up to the challenge of portraying increasingly desperate takes on the character by the time there are three Xia Tians running around. Not messing around apparently suits her, enough so that XIa TIan going from being Sarah Connor in The Terminator to Sarah Connor in Terminator 2 over the space of a couple hours is something the audience can roll with. She's the only one that really gets a lot to do, unfortunately; Wallace Huo often seems like a stand-in for a more interesting villain, the Liu Chang/Jin Xiyuan/Wang Lidan trio is terribly underused, and King Shin-chieh hits every beat of the mentor role in seemingly tentative fashion.
The action, on the other hand, can get pretty good when directors Chang and Yoon Hong-seung get to let loose. They're occasionally hampered by CGI that is a notch or two below what you'd expect from a similar movie made on the other side of the Pacific, and despite having Jackie Chan as "supervising executive producer", there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of work from his crack stunt team. There are a fair number of fun bits as vehicles bang each other around bridges and a port, however, and while a school under reconstruction seems like a bit of a random spot for a big sequence to go down, it not only leads to some Hong Kong-style running around on scaffolding, but the most entertaining use of a piano in an action sequence since Iron Man Three.In that way, "Reset" is a lot like similar American movies, where the science fiction hook is a good excuse for big explosions and a little more creativity in the action, but not necessarily something where the plot implications have been hammered out. In this case, the fun action isn't quite timed right to overcome just how much of the movie doesn't make a lot of sense.
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