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[HanCinema's Film Review] "Super Virgin"

2015/01/02 | 1053 views | Permalink

A goofy, poorly acted scene demonstrates that Dr. Park (played by Jo Han-chul) must quickly gain a test subject or some bad thing is going to happen. Enter lifelong loser Won-joon (played by Back Seung-kee). He's never had much luck with women, however much other people try to help him. One rather bizarre introductory scene features a scheme designed to get Won-joon laid. It was destined for failure from the get-go. Really, I have trouble imagining how that scheme could have possibly worked. Dr. Park's plan, though, that's guaranteed to be successful. Because he's a scientist. And also there's a weird blue dancing man hanging around in the background of his lab.

These probably sound like all of the perfect elements to a movie idea you might have had back in college. Then some smart person smacked you upside the head and told you to come up with a better idea. That's the basic narrative problem with "Super Virgin". As a whole the idea's just kind of dumb. You can't use magic science powers to convince any possible woman to have sex with you because that's not how it works. Even the guys who are good at this stuff fail more often than they succeed, although they do excellent work keeping anyone from actually figuring this out.

In "Super Virgin" though, this narrative conceit is played perfectly straight. Won-joon can have any woman he wants. Then it turns out what he really wants is Ji-na (played by Park Ji-na). And she's different because...well she's not actually. Ji-na is just as suspectible to Won-joon's magic science powers as anyone else. Ji-na, too, has no problem with having sex with a guy as long as he's not Won-joon.

Come to think of it Ji-na's really kind of a jerk with no real sympathetic character traits. I wouldn't go so far as to call "Super Virgin" misogynist, but it's very difficult to have any positive reaction to any of the characters when they're all so unabashedly shallow. There's not even any sense of irony regarding these plot points in the film's direction- the choice Won-joon ends up making at the end is played seriously and dramatically.

It's an odd creative decision to take for a project that's so blatantly amateurish. In all fairness, the weakness of the production values is obviously supposed to work for the movie's greater sense of charm. "Super Virgin" is a movie that's so bad, so cheesily made, that its very bad cheap quality is intended to give the production a kind of cult feel- like it's intended to be watched by the special few who are in on the joke.

Well, just to be perfectly clear, I get the joke. I just don't find it to be a particularly funny one. At best "Super Virgin" might have worked as a short film. The concept is potentially interesting and workable as a relatively short one-off joke. Stretched to full length, though, the problems of characterization, motive, and an obviously low budget strain one's patience, to the point that by the end I had mostly forgotten the few jokes I'd actually laughed at. Don't bother watching this one.

Review by William Schwartz

"Super Virgin" is directed by Back Seung-kee and features Back Seung-kee, Son LeeYong, Park Ji-na, Jo Han-chul and Kim Seon-ho-II.

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