With his masterful, multi -award -winning vengeance trilogy, Park Chan Wook won accolades at home and abroad, and became the object of cult for many film fans, from the grindhouse aficionado to the arthouse purist. Following the anger and violence of Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, and Old Boy, however, Park was ready for something new – a romantic comedy, albeit one like no other. For his first film about love and happiness, the director enlisted versatile actress Lim Soo Jung (Lump Sugar, Tale of Two Sisters) and film newcomer Jung Ji Hoon, better known to fans across Asia as Rain, as his mentally ill romantic leads. A cyborg romantic comedy starring Rain? If anyone can pull it off, it’s Park Chan Wook. After all, I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK.
After attempting suicide, Young Goon (Lim Soo Jung) ends up in an asylum, outfitted with retro accessories, concerned doctors, and plenty of quirky patients. Young Goon’s problem? She thinks she’s a cyborg. Her bigger problem? A cyborg can’t eat human food. Refusing to eat, she spends all her rapidly depleting energy communicating with her machine friends (like the coffee vending machine), plotting against the doctors, and trying to recharge herself with batteries. The cute and quirky Young Goon immediately attracts the attention of asylum mate Il Soon (Jung Ji Hoon), a young man with a knack for stealing. He can steal anything, even Thursday, and his specialty is stealing other people’s skills. Recognizing that Young Goon is in trouble, the love-struck Il Soon tries his hardest to help her eat again, bringing both of them onto a path of romance and healing.
Perhaps the most irreverent of all Park Chan Wook films, I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK is a delight for the eyes, and much more than a simple romantic comedy. It features the usual stylish innuendo and eye-grabbing visuals of Park’s past works, but with a markedly different, more light-hearted sense of humor. The film is whimsically surreal and often laugh-out-loud funny. Although the talent of Lim Soo Jung is certainly not a surprise, it’s Rain who raises eyebrows with this role. One of Asia’s biggest pop stars, Rain has also found success and popularity as a television actor with dramas like Sang Doo, Let’s Go to School and Full House, but the verdict on his acting skills was still open. If anything, I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK proves that with the right guidance Rain can truly become a fine actor, and that Park Chan Wook still has many more surprises under his belt.