Following the international success of his “Vengeance Trilogy”, Park Chan-wook shifts gears completely with this good natured, day-glo coloured romantic comedy set in a mental institute. Lim Su-jeong plays a troubled young woman who is committed following a suicide attempt. She believes she is a cyborg and refuses to eat, which only makes her condition worse. She catches the eye of a fellow patient, Il-sun (popstar Rain in his big screen debut), who likes to wear a rabbit mask and thinks he can steal people’s emotions and character traits. Il-sun takes it upon himself to get Young-goon (Lim) back on her feet, and romance inevitably blossoms.
Park’s intention here was apparently to finally make a film his teenage daughter would be interested in watching. No doubt Rain was a big draw for her – and thousands of other girls her age – and he does a decent job here as the goofy but well-meaning Il-sun. Likewise Lim, with long shaggy hair, bleached eyebrows and big dentures, shows some bravery in her willingness to look ridiculous on screen. While visually, Cyborg retains the vivid aesthetics we have come to expect from Park and regular cinematographer Chung Chung-hoon, and despite flashes of inventive if perhaps misguided moments of surrealism (Young-goon fantasises about machine gunning the hospital staff to shreds), the script really doesn’t engage its audience. As a result, the film disappoints, both for Park and Rain fans alike.