You don’t have to watch “The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion,” a bloody, angsty Korean superhero/horror hybrid if you only want to see “The Witch: Part 2. The Other One.” Both “The Witch” movies borrow enough from popular American genre movies that all you need to know about “Part 1” is that it’s basically a Korean version of Stephen King’s “Firestarter,” only bloodier and more like an “X-Men” superhero adventure.
“Part 2” is more of the same story: Goo Ja-Yoon (Kim Da-mi), a mysterious young girl with superpowers, escapes from a shady science lab that looks like a prison and then tries to avoid a bunch of people who are looking for her. However, this time, Cynthia, another young girl, is the main character. Neither girl can remember who they were before the lab, but they both form new bonds with other characters.
Both movies have a lot of blood, some computer graphics that look like rubber, and a lot of swearing. All of this is part of the appeal of these genre mash-ups. Like some of the best American superhero movies and TV shows, “The Witch: Part 1” and its sequel feel like they’re trying to appeal to teenage boys and girls. I mean, there are a few main female characters, but what’s more important is that they get to do more than just act out the usual “empowerment” fantasies of revenge that pass for bubblegum feminism. “The Witch: Part 2: The Other One” may be less smooth and clear than the first part, but it doesn’t just repeat what came before.
The fact that “The Witch: Part 2: The Other One” is a sequel and part of a premade story and genre is a big part of what makes it satisfying. There’s a lot of good melodrama for teens and teens-at-heart, and it’s not always what you’d expect. Even Cynthia, a clone whose original name was ADP (Ark 1 Datum Point), has a chance at love when she escapes from the Ark lab and meets Kyung-hee (Park Eun-bin) and her naive brother Dae-Gil (Sung Yoo-bin). It’s mostly just a possibility, since “Part 2” feels like an overly complicated bridge between “Part 1” and an inevitable “Part 3.”
Still, it’s nice to see that many of the relationships in this movie are built on flirting and even buddy comedy chemistry. The whiskey-and-swears tomboy Jo-Hyeon (Seo Eun-soo) and her South African beardo partner are the better-developed of the two pairs of mercenaries who chase after Cynthia (Justin John Harvey). A different shadowy group also sends a brother and sister pair of Shanghaiese killers after Cynthia. But the most important thing to know about this situation is that everyone wants to either kidnap Cynthia or help her, and they are all connected in some way.
No, really, everyone in this movie is either an ex-partner, a sibling, or a possible future partner for someone else. The good news is that you don’t have to keep a detailed scorecard of these connections if you’re just curious. It helps to know that Doctor Baek (Jo Min-Su) and Jang (Lee Jong-suk) are friendly rivals and that both are still looking for Ja-Yoon after what happened in “The Witch: Part 1. The Subversion.”
But a lot of “The Witch: Part 2: The Other One” is about how Cynthia is surrounded by people who are watching over and holding her. Kyung-hee and Dae-Gil are already involved in a western-style plot to protect their dead dad’s land from their murderous uncle Yong-du. This is a good-sized B-story (Jin Goo). But all of the side stories lead back to Cynthia, a character who is thankfully simple, has no history, and looks a lot like Ja-Yoon.
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Some bloody and maybe too busy action scenes in “The Witch: Part 2: The Other One” show that the people who made the movie still don’t know how to put together all of its pulpy tropes and stock characters. Harvey’s character points out (multiple times) that Jo-Hyeon swears a lot, which isn’t so strange since many recent American super-shows have used blood and four-letter words to show that they are about teens. “The Witch: Part 2: The Other One” feels like a soapier alternative to those shows, with its complicated backstories and slow-fast-slow pace. This movie is 137 minutes long, and you can tell.
“The Witch: Part 2: The Other One” is the kind of movie you used to find in the fifth or sixth theatre of your local second-run movie theatre in the middle of a 100-degree summer. Or maybe it’s more like the shaggy dog super-movies that were popular in the 1990s when American movie studios didn’t know how to make super stories that consistently drew in general audiences. I don’t know where this want-to-be franchise is going or if anyone besides people who already know about it will care, but I could watch another one.
Where to Watch ‘The Witch: Part 2’?
Part 2 of “The Witch” One of the most-anticipated movies of this year has been The Other One. Taking this into account, the movie will only be shown in theatres for now. No online streaming service has bought the rights to add “The Witch: Part 2—the Other One” to its library. But there is a big chance that it will happen again soon. Several rumors say that you’ll be able to stream the movie on sites like Netflix, Funimation, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Crunchyroll.