November 3, 2022

THE WITCH 2: THE OTHER ONE Dishes Up More Teenage Mayhem

THE WITCH 2: THE OTHER ONE (Blu-ray Review)
2022 / 137 min
Review by Tiger the Terrible😽

2018’s The Witch: Subversion was a Korean sci-fi-action film about a gifted teenage girl, Ja-yoon (Kim Da-mi), who’s been bio-engineered to be a super-assassin by a shady organization, which of course bites them in the ass when she escapes and later returns for revenge. While not particularly original, it was fun, fast-moving, extraordinarily violent and sometimes surprisingly touching, with a likably engaging protagonist. Though it worked just fine as a stand-alone film, it was always planned as a franchise and the door was left wide open for her story to continue.

But in The Witch 2: The Other One, Ja-yoon’s story does not continue. Not directly, anyway. She’s mentioned on occasion and shows up briefly at one point, but other than that, this is a new story with a new “witch” (simply known as ‘Ark 1’ and played by Shin Si-ah). She escapes from another facility and is taken in by a woman, Kyung-hee (Park Eun-bin), after both of them escape local gangster Yong-doo (Jin Goo). Despite his entire crew getting their asses handed to them by ‘Ark 1,’ Yong-doo later confronts them at Kyung-hee’s ranch because he wants the property. It’s sort of a superfluous subplot, mostly to provide more cannon fodder during the climax.

Someone has apparently never seen Hereditary.
Meanwhile, everyone’s on the hunt for ‘Ark 1’...all of whom apparently have the same bio-engineered superpowers. Not only does that mean they’re damn-near unkillable, some are able to zip through the sky like Neo from The Matrix. This leads to numerous clashes that are certainly flashy - not to mention bloody - but so over-the-top and CGI-heavy that they aren’t nearly as thrilling as those from the first film. 

From a character standpoint, tough, hard-drinking agent Jo-hyeon (Seo Eun-soo) is fun, as is her beleaguered sidekick (Justin John Harvey), who provides most of the comic relief. But compared to Ja-yoon in The Witch: Subversion, ‘Ark 1’ is a static, bland main character. Aside from a few charming ‘fish-out-of-water’ moments, she develops no personality or traits beyond an ability to inflict damage.

But despite lacking much heart and being over-stuffed with special effects that call too much attention to themselves, The Witch 2: The Other One remains watchable. As he did with the first film, writer-director Park Hoon-jung maintains a lively pace with plenty of action and gobs of uninhibited carnage. And of course, the last scene lays the groundwork for another sequel. Here’s hoping Ja-yoon is featured more prominently next time.




No comments: