Super Me is just so much fun and works on many different levels seamlessly.
This review of Chinese Netflix film Super Me, also known as Qi Huan Zhi Lv, does not contain spoilers — the drama was released on the streaming service on May 8, 2021.
You know that Super Me must have been born from an incredibly bad spell of writer’s block. There are countless films about struggling writers on this subject. One can become mad from the exhaustion of your mental health. Some will become suicidal or alcoholics (those who escape those ominous fates usually become film critics, FYI). Rarely though, have you seen a film that embraces so much uninhibited, nightmarish fun on that character study like Zhang Chong’s latest.
Super Me’s protagonist, Sang Yu (Talu Wang), is a struggling writer with a wicked case of insomnia that’s causing him to hallucinate a scary-looking demon named Skar (Kevin Lee). He goes from being a suicidal, penniless insomniac to a wealthy man overnight. How? By waking up with a priceless artifact that Skar chooses to kill him with several times. Of course, his crush, Hua Er (Song Jia), he watches lovingly from afar (when you’re young, it’s cute, but when older, it’s stalking), and now his money gives him the confidence to pursue her.
Super Me’s script is Zhang Chong‘s metaphor on the mental health toll that writers put themselves through. So many succumb to mental health and substance abuse issues by fighting, wait for it, their inner demons. The antiques that Yu always brings back and sells are significant as well. They are metaphors for the priceless creation of genius that they sell to the highest bidder to keep themselves afloat and their stomachs full.
Chong doesn’t so much steal or borrow an old trope as to modify it. In Edge of Tomorrow and Palm Springs, the protagonist has to die to start over in the repetitive dimension they find themselves in. Here, Chong’s script has Sang Yu enter each nightmare with the ability to steal priceless antiques and only exit when Skar chooses to cut through him like a skewer. Heck, these great writers steal from others, right?
The actors are fine. Wang may be over-the-top cartoonish, but that’s a trademark of the Chinese action film industry. Also, it lends a helping hand to the film’s well-timed and well-received comic relief (Wang giving Jia a gift at her shop and the expression on his face as he leaves is priceless).
Netflix’s Super Me is just so much bloody fun. It works on many different levels. As a comedy, drama, fantasy, and horror picture, all seamlessly. It has thrilling action, spectacular visuals (that firework scene!). All while playing with themes of mental health that leads to manic behavior, sleep disorders, and our overall quality of life. Except for a few too many music videos and montages, but I’m not sure I’ve had more fun watching a film so far the year.