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By Christian Gallichio | August 11, 2021

On the other hand, Zima, a gifted character actress who’s appeared in CalifornicationTwin Peaks, and Perry Mason, has been on the verge of a breakout for the past few years, yet her choice to act in this confounds, to say the least. As co-lead, she, unfortunately, is the one who most often has to act off a wooden plank. Not that the writing is doing her any favors. Abby is only seemingly defined by one reaction: confusion. Todd and David, playing Abby’s partner and captain respectively, sleep-walk through what amount to stereotypical roles, so much so that Captain Duke — yes, that’s his name — actually asks Abby for her gun and badge in a scene that would be more at home in an episode of Angie TribecaInsight isn’t grounded in any sense of reality, but an amalgamation of other movies, as every single character is just a collection of cliches without any hint of interiority.

This formulaic approach to characterization would be forgivable if it delivered on the action front, seemingly the only reason someone would watch the film. Yet the filmmakers quickly cut through each set-piece, confusingly breaking up the fights, disorientating the viewer, and showing a profound misunderstanding of spatial awareness in framing. Further, while obviously shot on a micro-budget, the special effects look as if they were rendered on Windows 95, as comical CGI lightning bolts fly out of the big bad’s machine.

“…would lean towards camp if everyone and everything weren’t so deadly serious.”

The commentary on, I don’t know, the horrors of unregulated technological expansion (?) is very stupid. Jian’s clairvoyance is demonstrated through awkward fish-eyed lenses and warps into the future, which looks goofier than presumably is intended. Running an agreeable 80 minutes, with credits, the production still wears out whatever goodwill its batshit crazy set-up offers. The entire movie would lean towards camp if everyone and everything weren’t so deadly serious.

There’s truly little redeeming about Insight, as the film leaves only a faint lingering impression — mainly indifference. Too mediocre to be camp and too self-serious to become a midnight actioner on regular rotation, Livi Zheng and Ken Zheng have made an amateurish production that fails to tap into its kitschy potential. Just the description of a clairvoyant martial artist seeking revenge elicits interest. Hopefully, next time, they’ll leave the writing and acting to someone else.

Insight (2021)

Directed: Livi Zheng, Ken Zheng

Written: Ken Zheng

Starring: Ken Zheng, Madeline Zima, Tony Todd, Keith David, Sean Patrick Flannery, etc.

Movie score: 1/10

Insight Image

"…an amalgamation of other movies..."

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