|Starring||Chang Chen, Janine Chang, Anke Sun, Christopher Lee|
Welcome to our short review of the Taiwan/China co-production sci-fi mystery thriller The Soul.
What’s this movie about?
Set in 2032, a rich man, Mr Wang, riddled with cancer is found murdered in his mansion. He runs a company that has been conducting something called RNA operations, which involves the insertion of healthy proteins into a cancer patient’s brain in an attempt to destroy their brain cancer.
Prime suspect in the murder of Mr Wang is his young wife, who stands to inherit his entire fortune including the control of his company. However, a secondary suspect, Mr Wang’s estranged son, is ultimately convicted of the murder by the prosecutor, himself suffering from brain cancer.
After its discovered the evidence had been tampered with, the true suspect of the crime is revealed, only for a series of further twists to be uncovered as the true nature of the company’s RNA process is detailed, and the private lives of all suspects and victims are brought out into the open, raising further doubts in the prosecutor’s mind.
Is it Worth Watching?
This movie is a very curious blend of sci-fi and thriller elements. Set in the future, there is a re-imagined idea of what the world would look like.
And as you’d expect, technology plays a heavy role. For those who love movies like this, that explore hypothetical future tech incorporated in a realistic scenario, are going to like what’s on offer here.
From the huge curved screens, to the reliance of the accuracy of speech-to-text, to even a re-imagining of the Minority Report style monitors that the officers use to explore their evidence, there is something here for the technophile to get you excited about future tech.
But the more exciting and fantastical bit is the advancements of cancer research and cures. Purely in the realm of sci-fi, nothing is ever explained in too much detail, but its an exciting concept none the less.
Of note in the movie is the performance of Taiwanese actor Chang Chen. His filmography is an impressive collection of Chinese classics, such a Brotherhood of Blades, Red Cliff and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. He has worked alongside some big names and has been directed by geniuses like Wong Kar-wai, John Woo, Chen Kaige and Lu Yang. His performance in this film is faultless.
The problem actually lies with his character, the prosecutor of the case, and the conflict of interest that arise in several circumstances that should have resulted in him being removed from the case.
First is his cancer, which can and does riddle him incapacitated at several moments in the film. The second comes with the fact that his wife, played by Janine Chang who is recognisable from films such as Detective Chinatown, Knockout and action series Black and White, is the lead detective on the case. Surely a conflict of interest.
But these aren’t the worst of the films problems.
This movie gets a thumbs up, but only just. (watch the review video above for more explanations of this rating)