SpiritWalker 2020 movie

SpiritWalker – A wandering soul seeking for justice

Anyone thinking an action movie must only be about fighting and shooting, with nothing spiritual about it, has obviously never seen 2020’s Spiritwalker.

It begins with the most classic of clichés: a man wakes up in his car after an accident, injured and with no memory of what happened to him.

He then goes to the hospital, where doctors discover that his wound is a gunshot; later, finding his home after looking at the papers in his pocket.

But with what little he remembers, he does not recognize his face in the mirror, as if he were in someone else’s body.

Indeed, precisely at noon, to confirm his intuition, he leaves that body and finds himself again in a different person, seeing thugs capturing the man whose likeness he had until a few minutes before.

Not knowing what to do or why anyone is looking for him, he wanders the streets until he ends up in the shelter of Haengryeo, a homeless man who believes his absurd story.

Changing bodies every 12 hours, he also realizes that these leaps of the spirit are not random, but each person is a member of a vicious gang of criminals.

He thus begins to investigate himself, discovering that he is a secret agent named Kang I-an and that he is working on trafficking a new psychotropic substance together with agent Moon Jin-ah.

The woman is more than just a colleague; she has a secret love affair with him, and all that time, she has also been trying to find him, unfortunately, without ever recognizing him because he occupies a different body each time.

Very soon, Kang realizes that he does not have much time left and must find his real body before it is too late, and he dies for good.

Soul as a drug?

Director Jae-geun Yoon heads this original 2020 sci-fi action movie, and he also handles the source script, which plays on the various meanings of Spiritwalker.

Indeed, besides wandering from body to body, the protagonist literally walks from place to place nonstop for the whole duration of the story, which leans more toward the crime genre than the premise’s sci-fi implications.

None of the criminal and corrupt police ragtag mob understands what is happening except in the movie’s last few minutes, leaving additional scope for the protagonist to cleverly play them off against each other sometimes.

The action scenes are perfectly choreographed, something near to a quality guarantee for almost all South Korean productions, combining credible high-speed physics and spectacle in the fights.

Not surprisingly, the producers include Jang Won-seok, already behind of that other little action thriller gem “The Gangster, the Cop, the Devil.”

Once again, we find a thin, sometimes almost indistinguishable line separating cops and criminals, united by their arrogant and violent attitude as well as a blatant disdain for anyone who is not part of their gang.

Hence, we have the hard, cold staging with the color palette rarely varying beyond shades of blue to black in a city where the law does not apply to the stronger and no one has compassion for the weaker.

In this sense, it is very original to include the character played by the amusing Park Ji-hwan in the plot, a hapless poor bum who becomes inextricably caught up in this war between police and criminals to grab this new soul drug.

And is this how perhaps the drug trade of the future will shift once we destroy our bodies? Will our souls also be for sale as a fix to get high?

So many faces beyond just one protagonist

Once again, I have only positive words to say about the cast. The team is top-notch in both acting and physical preparation for the many action scenes, which involve running, fighting, and shooting without holds barred.

Above them, of course, is the main character, Yoon Kyesang, whom we sometimes see hiding behind other bodies, although we always sooner or later return to his face anyway through reflections in some mirror or simply with some clever editing cuts and frameshifts.

Like all the usual characters starting with no memory, he becomes more interesting as the plot progresses, as we discover his secrets, and his true personality emerges.

A hero alone amid corruption and violence, where no colleague wants to help him because the police also stand to gain from this new drug, while the criminals, in a way, are too crazy and disorganized to rise to the challenge.

For example, we can see the final massacre starting with a negotiation between the various gangs and the drug-addicted boss/police officer played by the fantastic Park Yong-woo, a villain who is fun to witness while going out of his mind, scene after scene, to the point of total insanity.

In general, we have a great collection of sturdy gangster faces, with a large pool of South Korean actors who make this criminal ecosystem alive, dangerous, and believable.

Finally, we cannot miss the love story with the beautiful policewoman Lim Ji-yeon, also a tough girl who hits hard when necessary, but fortunately also succeeds in showing a sensitive side that lends a lot of emotional pathos to an otherwise almost entirely masculine story.

Wanting to find a flaw, the script could have been simplified in some sections, especially the final third act, where the explosive total war is sometimes a bit confusing.

However, these are minor problems, and nothing detracts from the spectacle that makes SpiritWalker one of the most interesting, but unfortunately lesser-known, movies in the entire 2020 film scene.

SpiritWalker 2020 movie
Amazon Prime Video
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