Aspiring musician Ha Dong-soo (Jung Hae-in) was walking around Seoul at night when the young man was attacked by an organ-trafficking gang. But on the operating table, to the surprise of the underground surgeon, the wounds on the “donor’s” open chest began to heal rapidly. Ha ran away from the bandits, but did not manage to get one of his eyes back. An organ is transplanted into Oh Jin-seop (Ko Kyung-pyo), a seemingly withdrawn office worker, but in fact a cold-blooded serial killer who turns every crime into a work of art. After an eye transplant, Ha sees everything O does. The Superman wants to return the lost organ and stop the maniac, but the bandits opened the hunt for the unique escaped “donor”.

Jung Hae-in as Ha Dong-soo in a still from 'The Connection'
Jung Hae-in as Ha Dong-soo in a still from ‘Connect’

Connect is a six-episode adaptation of Shin Dae-sung’s popular webtoon of the same name. The project was directed by the Japanese Takashi Miike, and the main roles were played by Korean actors, filming took place in Seoul. Previously, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s The Middleman was shown in Cannes, an example of another Japanese director’s work in Korea. The Connect is out on Disney+. Takashi Miike’s project on a streaming platform that previously produced Marvel series or family-oriented content was hard to come by. This is probably a new round of development for Disney +.

Miike is a recognized and very prolific master of all genres, with more than 100 films and a handful of series to his credit. Perhaps the first glory to the author was brought by the horror film test, but later samurai films (“Harakiri 3D” and “13 Assassins”), thrillers (“Ichi Killer” and “Detective Story”), and fantasy appeared in the director’s filmography ( JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and The Great Yokai War), and crime movies (First Love and The Crows Begins). But most of all, Miike loves to mix genres that are difficult to describe. “Communication” – from among the experimental cocktails.

Gong Kyung-pyo as Oh in a still from 'The Connection'
Gong Kyung-pyo as Oh in a still from ‘Connect’

The series in the first series pretends to be a detective. A series of brutal murders take place in the city, and a one-eyed guy in a cap was invariably seen at the crime scene. Miike is great at noticing the features of the mass consciousness – the police automatically single out a person who is not like the others from the crowd. Only the otherness of Ha is of a different nature: the ability to restore tissue after any injury is a superpower that one can only dream of. But the young man tries not to think about incredible talents and live down to earth. As a child, Ha fell from a tree, and in front of his friends, the boy’s bones fused in a few seconds. The children immediately called Ha a monster. Psychological trauma remained with the guy forever. Miike explores, albeit superficially, otherness – if you are a genius or demonstrate talents that frighten people, you face the fate of a loner. Ha carried his burden with dignity until he faced the organ hunters.

Miike relishes the murders committed by Oh, but the life of a superman in the modern world is much more interesting to the author. Investigation of crimes fades into the background. The author needs the appearance of a maniac only to create additional intrigue. The confrontation between the killer and the immortal is a great title. Miike uses a sentimental composition written by Ha as an interlude between the action-packed episodes whenever the assassin and the immortal feel connected to each other. Someone else’s eyeball does not take root in O and rushes to Ha. The Pan brothers’ horror movie The Eye about the transplantation of the organ of vision Miike probably watched, and therefore the topic of visions after transplantation is tangentially interested.

Kim Hye-jun as Choi in a still from 'The Connection'
Kim Hye-jun as Choi in a still from ‘Connect’

“Communication” or “connect” is the name of the body, which is able to regenerate. In the world of the film, society knows that people with superpowers were created behind the closed doors of a powerful pharmaceutical corporation, but only a few have seen unique ones. It quickly becomes clear that Ha is not alone. You can expect a confrontation between ordinary people and connections, but Miike is in no hurry, apparently counting on the second season.

The Japanese director has a huge filmography, so associations with other films of the director suggest themselves. In Blade of the Immortal, a strange old woman has infected a samurai with bloodworms that keep the wearer from dying. The Connect uses a similar concept: as soon as Ha loses any part of the body, a symbiote is selected from the hero and pulls the limb back. At first, it is interesting to watch the mechanics of the process, but closer to the middle of the series, the indestructibility of Ha even tires. The viewer can experience during the action scenes the same feelings as watching Marvel movies: no matter how spectacular the episode is, the main character will remain alive. And the confrontation between Iron Man and Captain America is rather comical.

The key problem of “Communication” is the lack of intrigue. The maniac is known from the first minutes, and the superman looking for the killer cannot die and will definitely get to the goal. The series is interesting at the level of the concept and the solution of individual episodes, but does not add up to a single work. Action and violence cannot compensate for the predictability and secondary nature of the plot. Is superpower a gift or a curse? And how will ordinary people look at a person with unimaginable talents? Miike asks simple questions and refuses to give original answers.

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