Films that deal with time-travel can be tricky. Not done properly, the movie can be an incoherent mess of confusing time-paradoxesinstead of a mind-bending intellectual treat.
Fortunately, the Jackie Chan-produced Reset manages to lean more towards the latter.
Reset is set in a future where new developments in quantum mechanics have proven the theory of parallel universes and opened up the possibility of time travel.
Two companies – IPT Corporation of the United States and Nexus Institute of China – are racing against each other to make it possible. However, when something goes horribly wrong at the American company and its research is wiped out, IPT hatches a plan to steal Nexus’ data instead.
Enter Xia Tian (Yang Mi), a single mother and scientist leading the team at Nexus, whose machine has successfully sent a chimpanzee 110 minutes back in time.
Unfortunately, the system is still not perfect – the “copy” somehow always emerges as a more violent version of the original subject.
Just as Xia Tian is on the verge of solving the problem, IPT goon Tsui Hu (Wallace Huo) kidnaps her son Doudou (Hummer Zhang), and gives her an hour to steal the time-travel data and hand it over to IPT.
However, when the mother and son are later betrayed, Xia Tian decides to take matters into her own hands and use Nexus’ time machine to send copies of herself, each one more violent than the previous one, back in time to save Doudou and herself.
The time-travelling premise may seem familiar, but the story of a mother desperate to save her son by any means necessary gives Reset an emotionally charged premise to build upon.
This is enhanced further by some excellent acting by Yang, who plays several versions of the same character.
Starting off with the tame and innocent original, Xia Tian’s determination to save her son as well as the increasingly violent nature of each “copy” is what drives this film forward.
Huo also gives a suitably despicable performance as the cold-blooded Tsui Hu, whose relentless, single-minded pursuit of Xia Tian and Doudou is reminiscent of that of the T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgement Day.
As far as the time-travelling goes, the film manages to keep things simple by not over complicating the mechanics of the whole process.
All you need to know is that Xia Tian can go 110 minutes back in time, and that each time she does, she emerges more violent.
Which means, of course, that Yang gets to ditch the “weak” damsel in distress act she starts out with and evolve into a gun-wielding action heroine later on.
There is hardly any mention of the consequences of changing the past (even if it’s only 110 minutes ago), as all the different Xia Tians even get to interact with each other without any trouble. Paradox? What paradox?
While the film does play it fast and loose with the science at times and there are some glaring gaps in continuity, the drama and the action sequences are decent enough to paper over those cracks somewhat.
If you’re looking for a decent non-Hollywood action flick to watch, you can at least be sure that Reset won’t be a waste of your time.
Cast: Yang Mi, Wallace Huo, Chin Shih Chieh, Hummer Zhang