The South Korean drama offerings for 2017 include several shows that explore the wonders of the time travel trope. The latest addition to this list is Kim Jae Joong’s upcoming series Man-hole. Last weekend I watched Reset, a big budget China-Korea production that also contains the time travel element.
Back in 2011, reports about China’s ban on time-slip programs circulated online. These news were later on clarified as not a total ban but just a discouragement on the use of the said theme to avoid possible misrepresentation of historical figures in films and television shows.
Reset is a science fiction suspense film produced by the legendary Jackie Chan. Even though he didn’t even appear in the movie, his name will still certainly attract the audience. In my case, it was Wallace Huo who made me rush to the theater. He is one of my longtime favorite Taiwanese actors and I’ve had the biggest crush on him since the 2003 drama At The Dolphin Bay.
In Reset, Wallace Huo plays Tsui Hu, the big bad villain who kidnaps Xia Tian’s precious son in exchange for the research data of a major scientific discovery. Xia Tian manages to comply with his demands but as she hands over the fruit of their company’s labor, things go awry and her son dies in front of her eyes. In her desperate attempt to revive him, she goes through the unfinished wormhole to travel an hour and fifty minutes back in time at the risk of her own health.
Yang Mi plays top scientist and single mom Xia Tian. I personally thought her acting was a tad awkward in the beginning but she got better as the story progressed. Her badass transformations, her spontaneous portrayal of different variations of her character, as well as her powerful delivery of the dramatic moments make her worthy of the Best Actress Prize that she received at the 50th World-Fest Houston International Film Festival.
Wallace Huo successfully portrayed the cold-blooded psycho but unfortunately, the antagonist Tsui Hu is an underdeveloped character. The revelation of his backstory is quite a letdown and in spite of my love for the actor, I still find it difficult to sympathize with his character.
The concept of a mother who time-travels to save her kidnapped child is similar to the 2014 South Korean drama God’s Gift – 14 Days starring Lee Bo Young. Reset, however, is more action-packed and fast-paced. The more Xia Tian goes back in time, the less vulnerable she becomes and this aspect somehow reminds me of All You Need is Kill/Edge of Tomorrow.
Director Yoon Heung Song – who goes by the pseudonym Chang – manages to build a slick, gizmo-filled world and give us a female protagonist worth rooting for, but he decides to stick with a serious tone all throughout the film. It lacks the comedy that most people would probably expect from a Jackie Chan-related project. Reset is just another one of those ‘parents go to great lengths to save their child’ kind of film but more than just the good-looking leads and the exhilarating chases, this dramatic core of a mother’s love from which the plot is built upon is exactly why this film is worth your time.