Comic Books Magazine

Switch (Live Action) Review

Posted on the 28 April 2014 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG


Title: Switch
Genre: Action, Drama
Publisher: Media Asia (Chinese), Funimation (US)
Director: Jay Sun
Producer: Zhao Haicheng, Shen Xue, He Lichang
Screenplay: Jay Sun
Music Composer: Roc Chen
Original Release Date: April 15, 2014

Truth be told, I gave up on trying to understand or care about what Switch was trying to accomplish long before the half way point. The plot is incoherent at best, the characters somewhat likable, and the fights and green screen laughable. I went in expecting the Chinese version of James Bond and ended up getting what felt like a comedy that was trying too hard to be something it could never be.

The actual plot of the movie, or what I could discern of it, actually isn’t too shabby and had the workings of a movie that would have been exciting to watch. Xiao Jinhan (Andy Lau) is a secret agent given the task of tracking down the stolen second half of an extremely valuable painting that is set to be displayed in the coming months. The painting bounces back and forth between a Chinese group (I think) and a Japanese group, led by Yamamoto (Dawei Tong), a psychopath with a mother complex. Jinhan’s family is eventually dragged into the mess, with his wife becoming a more prevalent figure as the movie goes on. Along the way, Jinhan also has to deal with a double crossing agent, Lisa (Chiling Lin), who works for Yamamoto and is his lover(?), though over the course of the film, she gradually develops a crush on Jinhan, leading to an awkward love-triangle situation that was never really a love-triangle? Though the movie has a somewhat bittersweet ending (at least for Lisa), everything ends up as it should with Jinhan having saved the painting and living the good life with his wife and kid once again.


I want to start by quoting the end of the synopsis provided on the back cover of the DVD: the last sentence ends with “Switch is a pulse-pounding thriller packed with mind-blowing martial arts action that will keep you guessing until the credits roll.” What a load of bull. There are maybe two thrilling scenes in the entire 112 minutes that the movie runs. There is nothing particularly mind-blowing save for some of the settings and the fact that I was supposed to take this thing seriously. And I was kept guessing the entire movie because I had no idea what the heck was going on. Common sense/logic is thrown out the window for God knows what reason.

The biggest downfall of the movie is that it really wanted to do and be too much. There’s a perfect example of this near the middle of the movie. Jinhan was stabbed and had been declared dead (though this doesn’t hinder him in any way for the rest of the movie after a certain point) after taking 3 months to recover. For some reason, he treks out to the middle of nowhere, frees a butterfly from a spiderweb for some girl, sets up home somewhere in the area, and a couple minutes later has a “sentimental” farewell with the aforementioned girl who I’m guessing he bonded with over some amount of time we didn’t see. This scene was completely useless and could have been taken out entirely without affecting my ability to follow the story. In fact, doing that probably would have improved my ability to do so. There are a number of scenes like these (cough Yamamoto’s entire flashback cough) that serve no real purpose besides adding to the already long list of things that made Switch a failure.


Another flaw is that none of the action is actually exciting. Though the movie wanted to create fights that were dynamic and exciting, including a variety of costumes, settings, and weapons, in the end none of it really worked. If anything, I was a bit grossed out at parts (not a fan of blood) or simply found myself laughing because the blood looked like paint and the movement was so stilted. Honestly, the only really good fight scene involved Yuyan and that came at the end. You cannot expect me to take your action movie seriously when your final showdown between the good guy and the bad guy has them not only dressed in fencing outfits but also fighting on freaking book shelves. You just cannot do it because it will not happen.

As for the characters, let’s start with Jinjan, our James Bond wannabe. I think the nicest thing I can say about him is that he was a nice most of the time guy. We really don’t learn much about him besides the fact he loves his family and, uh, gets the job done I guess. Personally, I liked Lisa marginally better because she had that whole seductress/femme fatale thing going on that was kind of neat….Then it turned out she wanted to marry and have a daughter with him which was, honestly, a bit unsettling considering she told him all this as she was dying. The other woman of the hour, Yuyan, was honestly a surprise. I thought she was just a house wife. Then it turns out she works at a high-end security job – then it turns out she knows how to kick ass as well as, if not slightly more interestingly than, her husband. Again, don’t learn much about her outside of her mother/wife/occasional ass kicker roles.

As for the main villain….he was a character. Japanese, white haired, psychopath who burned his mother alive for sleeping with another guy, loves Lisa and is an…eccentric interior decorator. I honestly forgot why he was after the scroll in the first place (I think it had something to do with a counterfeit that had been in his family for a while), but it doesn’t matter much since he, again, didn’t receive a great deal of development and was, for the most part, just a loony bin whose fighting force was entirely made up of costumed women. There were a couple other characters that popped up more than once during the movie, but they didn’t matter much.

The only really decent things about this movie, the only things that made me sad that they put in such an awful movie, were the settings. Now, mind you, some of these (cough the vault room at the beginning and Jinhan’s computer room cough) weren’t too great, but the vast majority of the indoor settings were eye candy. They were extravagant to the extreme and bursting with color and a healthy dose of creativity. Some were absolutely gorgeous and made me like Switch just a little.


Truth be told, there’ a lot more I could probably complain about and say was crappy, but I think, at this point, you get the picture. Honest to God, I could never recommend this movie to anyone. Maybe if it was shorter, I’d say watch it for the terribad “lolz” because there are quite a number to be had if you watch in the company of others. However, at almost 2 hours long, I simply can’t recommend anyone pay any amount of money or waste any amount of time for this sham of a movie. I had a good time watching this movie with my sister (she wasn’t a fan either) but I would never repeat the experience. Switch sucks, and that’s putting it nicely.

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