Psychokinesis

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Psychokinesis Movie Poster Image
Quirky but violent Korean superhero movie has swearing.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 101 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No positive messages. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

No positive role models. 

Violence

Riot scenes between SWAT-team police and squatters who are being forced out of the shopping arcade where they ran their businesses. Fighting with billyclubs, Molotov cocktails, broken glass, kicking, and punching. After smashing out the windows of her restaurant, thugs shove a woman backwards, causing her to hit her head on the curb and die. One of the lead antagonists is violently beaten up by the henchmen of another lead antagonist; he's shown knocked down, kicked, and punched repeatedly in the face until he is bloody. Lead character develops the ability to move objects with the power of his mind and gestures, throws bad guys around, knocking them into walls and each other. He knocks himself into buildings and falls to the pavement while learning to fly. He smashes and throws vehicles and other large objects.

Sex
Language

Frequent profanity. "F--k," "f--kers," "bulls--t," "p--sy," "p--cks," "bastards," "bitch," "hell," "balls." 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking. Beer and alcohol drinking. Lead character appears and acts drunk. Character makes reference to friends buying illegal drugs. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Psychokinesis is a 2018 Korean movie about a man who uses his newfound telekinetic powers to help his estranged daughter fight back against an evil construction corporation. There are many riot scenes in which riot police clash with small business owners who are being forcibly evicted from their places of business in a shopping arcade -- fighting with clubs, Molotov cocktails, kicks, punches. Thugs shove a woman to the pavement, where she hits her head on the curb and dies. A woman driving a van tries to run over these thugs to stop them from destroying her restaurant. One of the lead antagonists is graphically shown getting kicked and punched repeatedly by the henchmen of another antagonist -- he's punched repeatedly in the face until he's bruised and bloody. There's also action/superhero violence -- the lead character with the telekinetic powers throws bad guys into walls and each other. He knocks himself into buildings and falls to the pavement while learning to fly. He smashes and throws vehicles and other large objects. Profanity often used, including "f--k." Lead character shown getting drunk. Cigarette smoking. Movie in Korean with English subtitles. 

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What's the story?

In PSYCHOKINESIS, Roo-mi (Eun-kyung Shim) and her mother run a restaurant that specializes in spicy fried chicken that's becoming increasingly popular. But Roo-mi's life falls apart when thugs representing an evil construction corporation smash up the restaurant as a way to force them and the other small business owners of a shopping arcade to vacate so they can tear down the arcade and build a shopping center that caters to Chinese tourists in its place. During the scuffle, Roo-mi's mother is accidentally killed by the thugs. Meanwhile, Roo-mi's father, Seok-hyeon, who left Roo-mi and her mother when Roo-mi was very young, works as a bank security guard and doesn't take his job, or life, very seriously. One morning, after drinking water from a mountain spring that was hit by a comet the night before, Seok-hyeon discovers an incredible ability -- he can now move objects with the power of his mind. At first, he thinks nothing of it beyond possibly turning the newfound gift into a career as a magician in a nightclub, but this begins to change as he tries to make peace with Roo-mi after her mother's funeral. But all hopes of reconciliation are dashed when Seok-hyeon refuses to take part in any protests and rebellion against the construction company and their thugs. However, Seok-hyeon develops his telekinetic powers and soon finds he can do more than just make small objects levitate: he can lift and hurl large objects, fight the thugs by throwing them against walls and each other, and even fly. As the construction company, aided by the thugs and now riot police, begin to swarm the now heavily-barricaded shopping arcade, it's up to Seok-hyeon to prove how much he regrets leaving his daughter and wife and help Roo-mi and the other squatters stand their ground and save their places of business. 

Is it any good?

With its stylized violence and offbeat humor, this couldn't be anything but a Korean film. The seriousness of a father trying to make amends with his estranged daughter, as well as the concerns of outside interests gentrifying bastions of Korean society, are counterbalanced by the playful bumbling of Seong-ryong Ryu's reluctant superhero, who is initially too obtuse to realize the ramifications of the gift he has been given after drinking mountain spring water that had been hit by a comet the night before. The harsh behavior of nearly all the antagonists is offset by their stupid klutziness.

All these elements should clash but somehow they don't. The result is a fun and engaging action movie. The fight sequences and the absurdity set this apart from other movies in which characters either have or develop telekinetic powers. The many ways in which Seok-hyeon throws, lifts, and slams the bad guys is creative, and the utter ridiculousness of one of the squatters who is fighting for his life telling Seok-hyeon how he needs to be the next Uri Geller and become internationally famous adds to the sheer entertainment value. Psychokinesis is an enjoyable movie for mature teens and up.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about superhero movies. How does Psychokinesis compare to other movies involving superheroes? 

  • How was the action movie-style violence different from the violence in which the riot police clashed with the squatters? 

  • Sometimes movies made in non-English-speaking countries overdub the dialogue into English, and other times they use subtitles. Which do you prefer? Why? What are the advantages and disadvantages of overdubbing and subtitles? 

Movie details

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