Xia Tian (Mi Yang) is an associate researcher working on the discovery of parallel dimensions and the ability to send matter into one of these worlds 1 hour and 50 minutes back in time. After a disaster at an American research facility destroys all the research data, Xia is working in the only place able to still research and develop this time travel ability. With just a month left until they feel they’ll be able to not only extend the time they can travel back, but also begin human trials, Xia Tian’s son Doudou (Yihan Zhang) is kidnapped. A shadowy group, led by the dangerous and unstable Cui Hu (Wallace Huo), want all of the research data from Xia in exchange for her son. When she agrees and hands over the research, Doudou is killed anyway, prompting Xia to send herself back in time to save him. Creating multiple versions of herself, Xia will stop at nothing to make sure that her son is kept safe and that all her work won’t fall into the hands of Cui Hu.
Writer Cha Muchun and director Chang’s Reset holds nothing back in terms of action and violence. This is made evident by the exciting race for Xia Tian to obtain the data, and the subsequent death of her young son. That’s a shock that we rarely see in North America, but it manages to set the stakes and the emotions incredibly high right from the start. This emotional and explosive journey takes centre stage for the film, while the tiny nuts and bolts of the story are better left unexplored. Time travel films have that going against them most of the time, and Reset is no exception.
The concept of parallel worlds seems a little lost when the real point is being able to travel back in time. Each of those worlds is identical which may not completely sit well with everybody. Personally, I would like to see subtle changes to each world, as if they’re offering something different, however this concept works best for the film. The differences you may be looking for in the dimensions does show up in an unlikely place though. Each version of Xia sent back in time is slowly degrading, not only physically, but mentally as well. These new versions are increasingly aggressive, which gives Mi Yang an opportunity to really play multiple versions of the same character.
The original Xia Tian is strong, but not enough to completely take advantage of the situation that Cui Hu has put her in. When we get to the third version of Xia, she’s bordering on psychotic and will stop at nothing to get her son back. This version is a badass action heroine, although she happens to be mentally unstable. Here, Yang gets to shine as a true action star, and it makes Reset a refreshing change. Xia Tian never attempts to get any man to help her. She simply takes matters into her own hands and gets things done. It’s not even a question for her, and that’s a welcome departure for the action genre.
Reset also wisely keeps some details hidden from viewers at first. Considering the same scenario is playing out multiple times, each new version adds more to the picture. Instead of having to sit through the same sequences again, we’re shown a piece that we didn’t see at first, explaining how characters have wound up where they are, as well as revealing more about the people behind this attempt to steal the data.
Huo is the main villain, although a few twists and turns reveal others, and he’s outstanding in his role. He’s the kind of bad guy who will simply walk through gunfire, but it never comes across as cheesy or over the top. It fits well with his persona, and the more we learn about him, the more we can understand why he seems to simply not care. He’s never rattled by anything, and he’s as cold-blooded as a villain can be. The early death of Doudou proves that.
The pace rarely slows for Reset, and that can be a little overwhelming at times. There are a few moments where you may want to take a breath, but the speed is a necessity of the story. Xia only has a tiny window to work within, but it can seem like we’re missing out on some of the more interesting aspects when the characters have to be forced into another car chase, gunfight, or explosive escape. That’s really a small complaint, as the film works so well as pure action film. And with a heroine taking on the bad guys instead of the expected macho, tough guy, Reset is the kind of movie we just don’t get enough of right now.