Tuesday, November 08, 2022

The Witch 2: The Other One

Ark 1's telekinesis and dazzling speed make her a sort of super-Carrie. Ticking her off is a terrible idea, but people do it anyway. They assume their own elevated powers, derived from the same secret, unethical research facility will match up sufficiently against her abilities. The bad guys thought that about Koo Ja-yoon too, in the first film. The previous installment ended with a teaser, in which Koo met an unknown woman. Maybe that scene will make more sense after watching Park Hoon-jung’s The Witch 2: The Other One, which releases today on DVD.

As a screenwriter, Park does not waste a lot of time connecting extraneous dots. First, we see the bus for the girl’s school outing hijacked and left to look like a tragically fatal traffic accident. After a whole lot of experimentation, her secret laboratory prison is attacked by armed gunmen looking for her. They put several rounds into her head, but the girl referred to as Ark 1 still staggers off into the forest. Eventually, the completely healed girl is picked up by a van full of gangsters, who were in the process of abducting Kyung-hee. It ends badly for the gangsters.

When Kyung-hee takes Ark 1 home, her younger brother Dae-gil is quite taken with her powers. He tries to convince her to compete on a national talent show, lie Koo did in the first film. However, Ark 1 will busy. The gangsters, led by Kyung-hee’s fratricidal uncle will return. There are also two rival superhuman factions looking for her. Agent Jo-hyeon and her South African deputy Tom are slightly more decent than the psychotic quartet representing the Shanghai faction, but unfortunately, the “Evil Four” are considerably more powerful.

Even if you have seen the first film, the rapid entrance and exit of supporting characters is often confusing. However, the best X-Men-X-Files premise is so familiar, it is relatively easy to figure out motives, grievances, and underlying conflicts. The over-stuffed conspiracy elements are not particularly grabby, but the brutal super-powered action is often pretty spectacular.

Seo Eun-soo and Justin John Harvey are also terrific as Jo-hyeon and her meatheaded deputy. They are by far the most intriguing characters, since they straddle the boundary between heroes and villains so effectively. The both show off strong action chops and bickeringly banter amusingly.

Frankly, the rest of the cast needs more of that kind of spark, except maybe Kim Da-mi, reprising her role as Koo, in brief but pivotal scenes. The rest of the cast is polished and professional, but their characters and characterizations never surprise us.

However, for a fun surprise, fast forward through the closing credits for the stinger. Park certainly does not think it is over yet. The way he leaves things, most viewers will want to see where it goes next. Like the first
Witch, The Other One would have benefited from a tighter narrative, but the action is even better this time around. Recommended as a good fix for special effects and Korean action, The Witch 2: The Other One releases today (11/8) on DVD and BluRay.