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(Movie Review) Fantastic body swapping combined with thrilling action scenes: 'Spiritwalker'

13:58 November 16, 2021

By Kim Boram

SEOUL, Nov. 16 (Yonhap) -- Body-swapping fantasies and amnesia thrillers are commonplace but surefire cinematic settings that would lead to box office hits like "Face Off" (1997), "Your Name" (2016), "Memento" (2000) and the "Bourne" series.

"Spritwalker," written and directed by Yoon Jae-keun, combines the two subgenres in a more complicated way, placing the memory-impaired hero in a predicament by having his spirit transfer to another body every 12 hours.

This image provided by ABO Entertainment shows a scene from "Spiritwalker." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The movie starts as Ian, played by Yoon Kye-sang, wakes up in a car wreck and feels as if his appearance is strange. With no recollection of his identity, he is informed that he is suffering from a gunshot wound in his shoulder.

Skipping out on medical treatment, he goes to an apartment that seems to be his home using a keycard in his pocket, but everything in the place is foreign to him. Although there are billing statements with his name on them, he cannot recall anything from it.

At the moment, something incredible happens. With some fractions of memories splattering all around his brain, he moves to another person's body in a different place. And that happens again 12 hours later.

After several rounds of the spirit transformation, he feels that his previous and current hosts are connected to some extent and finds out that Ian, himself, is at the center of a secret drug-smuggling scheme masterminded by shadowy forces in the country, which are also looking for the whereabouts of Ian's body.

This image provided by ABO Entertainment shows a scene from "Spiritwalker." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Based on this fantastic 12-hour body swapping element, "Spiritwalker" features Ian's mysterious situations and journey for personal identity from the beginning and catches the eyes of viewers with high-speed car chases, gun shootouts and hand-to-hand fight scenes.

In particular, lead actor Yoon presented a high level of action skills and realistic feats in life-like fierce and dangerous stunt scenes, reminding viewers of the final death-defying battle with the muscular detective portrayed by Ma Dong-seok, or Don Lee.

Ian uses his proficient combat skills even though he loses his memory and his spirit is locked in a different body, echoing the popular actioner "The Bourne Identity" (2002).

But around the climax, the unique setting of the 12-hour spirit transfers is blurred by a hackneyed and corny conspiracy involving corrupt social elite groups and a drug-smuggling graft. So the dynamics of the plot fade out when the secrets of this body-changing chain is revealed at the end.

"Spiritwalker," which was awarded the Excellence in Action Award at this year's New York Asian Film Festival, will hit local screens on Nov. 24.

A poster of "Spiritwalker" by ABO Entertainment (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

brk@yna.co.kr
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