The Korean actioner, The Witch: Part 1 – The Subversion was very engaging and I loved how it built a world and introduced the viewer to genetic manipulation, enhancing the human state, the variety of parties involved and a hint of the plan at its heart.
The first film ended with some interesting reveals about the project, and Ja-yoon (Kim Da-mi), but the second one opens by throwing us right into the story. We get a hint of some of the project’s history, which allows the world and the story to expand. There has been an assault on one of the institutes and a girl, later referred to as Ark 1 (Shin Si-ah), stumbles out into the forest, bloodied, bruised and unsure of what and where she is.
She falls in with Kyung-hee (Park Eun-bin) and her brother, Dae Gil (Sung Yoo-bin) who are having problems with a local criminal, Yong-doo (Jin Goo). They soon find themselves caught up in more than criminal escapades as a number of units, from a variety of parties are trying to hunt the girl down.
The girl’s powers have been triggered, and she has a lot of them, but is it going to be enough to stand up against those who are hunting her? There are plans, machinations, and reveals throughout the film. We also learn that among those that are genetically enhanced, there is more than one type, and different levels and abilities.
Like the first film, the story builds, introduces its characters, lets them breathe, and lets them have their moments, and the action beats and visual effects work nicely as the film plunges to its climax and delivers more reveals, connections, and set-ups for the third and final film in the trilogy.
There are some fantastic visuals, and I quite like how Park tells his story. He’s not only the film’s director but its writer as well. He’s got a creative vision for his universe, and the story is intricate and involved, with a broad cast of characters. The action beats, when they happen, are bloody and violent, and incredibly intense. There are some truly fantastic moments, and the visual effects enhance them nicely, the climax in particular is a helluva ride that delivers some fantastic emotional and action moments.
It’s a fast-paced tale and there is lots of connective tissue with the first film, which allows both films to grow together. I really can’t wait to see where the third installment goes and what it means for both the girl known as Ark 1 and Ja-yoon.
Rumour has it that the third film could be released anytime between 2023 and 2024, I’ll have to make sure I don’t miss it!