Sang-ho Yeon’s “PSYCHOKINESIS”
A movie review by Dennis D. McDonald
A young woman runs a popular fried chicken restaurant in a comfortable but shabby old South Korean neighborhood. The Powers That Be decree that she and her neighbors must make way for urban demolition and new business development. Things spiral out of control into violence as The Mob and the Police conspire to evict her and her neighbors.
Into this mix comes her dad whom she has not seen for ten years. He brings a newly and mysteriously acquired ability to manipulate and move objects -- and people -- by thought control. Street battles, barricades, and much flying rage on as, of course, he takes his daughter's side.
Movies about the Little Guy versus the Man have been made since the dawn of the 20th Century. There are even references here to Les Miserables. As with his masterful Train to Busan, director Sang-ho Yeon adds a down-home and personal touch to what otherwise might be trite and even mawkish.
Special effects are plentiful but never become overwhelming as in so many superhero films. Characters are human and very well portrayed with one particular mob boss being especially chilling despite an initially non-threatening appearance. There are even playful references to "North Korea" as being responsible for the mayhem.
I recommend this as a good, no-nonsense "us versus them" film that never lets the action overwhelm the characters. Nor does it venture into heavy-handed moralizing or political commentary. It's a fantasy, of course; there's very little blood despite the frequent flashes of violence. But it does let you "take sides" and cheer on the good guys in an almost guileless fashion. Having just seen the bone- and world-crushing excesses of The Avengers: Infinity War I see nothing wrong with that.
If you do want to see a completely different and seriously adult take on what happens when ordinary humans suddenly and miraculously acquire almost god-like powers, check out the ultra-violent Japanese anime series INUYASHIKI LAST HERO.
Review copyright (c) 2018 by Dennis D. McDonald