Reborn 2018 Review: A Chinese Cyber-Hacker Thriller
Hong Kong-based Bravos Pictures has picked up worldwide rights excluding China to Chinese cyber-hacker thriller Reborn. Produced by Andre Morgan and Zoe Chen.
Firstly, Li Hai Long is the director of the film. The stars: Han Geng, Rhydian Vaughan, Li Yuan and Japanese pop and TV star Tomohisa Yamashita. Beijing-based Perfect Village Enteratainment boarded the project as a co-investor last year.
Produced by A Sirens Films and Morgan & Chan Films, the film follows a geek programmer who encounters a beautiful woman and her criminal partner in a video ame, then ends up going undercover for the police.
Li Hailong’s cyber caper Reborn follows Li Haoming (Han Geng), a hopelessly awkward gamer who used to be a brilliant hacker. But now spends his life playing VR games. Until one day, he’s approached by mercenary Fei Qiao (Rhydian Vaughan) and his partner and lover Su Yi (Li Yuan). Who require his unique hacking skills to complete a lucrative mission for shady businessman Takeshi Mori (Tomohisa Yamashita). Soon after, Li is contacted by Hong Kong detective Chow (Liu Kai Chi) who’s on a mission to arrest Fai Qiao. And needs the young hacker to be his informant.
The script is low on originality and tension but full of shortcuts. (There’s no problem that can’t be solved by hacking into this or that from a phone, at any moment), ludicrous twists (a whole segment of the film is revealed to actually have been an elaborate virtual reality simulation) and loose ends (Liu Kai Chi’s character disappears halfway through. With no resolution of his subplot whatsoever).
In conclusion, the action is mediocre. A series of fights where over-editing masks the actor’s lack of fighting ability. And flatly-shot chases. And the cast is either cringe-worthy (Han Geng and Li Yuan play their respective characters like idiotic school kids) or criminally bland (Rhydian Vaughan smirks mysteriously and boringly. Tomohisa Yamashita is an ectoplasm).
Director: Julian Richards
Writer: Michael Mahin
Stars: Geng Han, Rhydian Vaughan, Yuan Li
Release: China, 3 Aug 2018; Hong Kong, 28 Sep 2018.