A time to thrill

This Jackie Chan-pro­duced time-trav­el­ling ac­tioner won’t be a waste of your time.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Movies - Re­view by MICHAEL CHEANG en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

Re­set

Cast: Yang Mi, Wal­lace Huo, Chin Shih Chieh, Hum­mer Zhang

Direc­tor: Chang

FILMS that deal with time-travel can be tricky. Not done prop­erly, the movie can be an in­co­her­ent mess of con­fus­ing time-para­doxes in­stead of a mind-bend­ing in­tel­lec­tual treat.

For­tu­nately, the Jackie Chan­pro­duced Re­set man­ages to lean more to­wards the lat­ter.

Re­set is set in a fu­ture where new de­vel­op­ments in quan­tum me­chan­ics have proven the the­ory of par­al­lel uni­verses and opened up the pos­si­bil­ity of time travel.

Two com­pa­nies – IPT Cor­po­ra­tion of the United States and Nexus In­sti­tute of China – are rac­ing against each other to make it pos­si­ble. How­ever, when some­thing goes hor­ri­bly wrong at the Amer­i­can com­pany and its re­search is wiped out, IPT hatches a plan to steal Nexus’ data in­stead.

En­ter Xia Tian (Yang Mi), a sin­gle mother and sci­en­tist lead­ing the team at Nexus, whose ma­chine has suc­cess­fully sent a chim­panzee 110 min­utes back in time.

Un­for­tu­nately, the sys­tem is still not per­fect – the “copy” some­how al­ways emerges as a more vi­o­lent ver­sion of the orig­i­nal sub­ject.

Just as Xia Tian is on the verge of solv­ing the prob­lem, IPT goon Tsui Hu (Wal­lace Huo) kid­naps her son Doudou (Hum­mer Zhang), and gives her an hour to steal the time-travel data and hand it over to IPT.

How­ever, when the mother and son are later be­trayed, Xia Tian de­cides to take mat­ters into her own hands and use Nexus’ time ma­chine to send copies of her­self, each one more vi­o­lent than the pre­vi­ous one, back in time to save Doudou and her­self.

The time-trav­el­ling premise may seem fa­mil­iar, but the story of a mother des­per­ate to save her son by any means nec­es­sary gives Re­set an emo­tion­ally charged premise to build upon.

This is en­hanced fur­ther by some ex­cel­lent act­ing by Yang, who plays sev­eral ver­sions of the same char­ac­ter.

Start­ing off with the tame and in­no­cent orig­i­nal, Xia Tian’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to save her son as well as the in­creas­ingly vi­o­lent na­ture of each “copy” is what drives this film for­ward.

Huo also gives a suit­ably de­spi­ca­ble per­for­mance as the cold-blooded Tsui Hu, whose re­lent­less, sin­gle-minded pur­suit of Xia Tian and Doudou is rem­i­nis­cent of that of the T-1000 in Ter­mi­na­tor 2: Judge­ment Day.

As far as the time-trav­el­ling goes, the film man­ages to keep things sim­ple by not over com­pli­cat­ing the me­chan­ics of the whole process.

All you need to know is that Xia Tian can go 110 min­utes back in time, and that each time she does, she emerges more vi­o­lent.

Which means, of course, that Yang gets to ditch the “weak” damsel in dis­tress act she starts out with and evolve into a gun-wield­ing ac­tion hero­ine later on.

There is hardly any men­tion of the con­se­quences of chang­ing the past (even if it’s only 110 min­utes ago), as all the dif­fer­ent Xia Tians even get to in­ter­act with each other with­out any trou­ble. Para­dox? What para­dox?

While the film does play it fast and loose with the sci­ence at times and there are some glar­ing gaps in continuity, the drama and the ac­tion se­quences are de­cent enough to pa­per over those cracks some­what.

If you’re look­ing for a de­cent non-Hol­ly­wood ac­tion flick to watch, you can at least be sure that Re­set won’t be a waste of your time.

First rule of time-travel: Don’t look back to the fu­ture, es­pe­cially when run­ning from psy­cho killers. — GSC Movies

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