Now is 2029. Earth has become a nearly uninhabitable planet, with pollution making the air very brown like a mud storm. With a problem that threatens all mankind, a sophisticated company called UTS has created a place to live in outer space but there is a condition: only selected people are invited to live in that place.
But Space Sweepers is not a film about the chosen person, but rather focuses its narrative around the unlucky person. And entered a space cleaning ship from South Korea named "Victory". As the name of this film suggests, the ship's job is to clean up the debris scattered in outer space for a reward.
"Victory" has become a vessel that is respected by other cleaning vessels because of how aggressive it is when it comes to capturing space debris. Headed by Captain Jang ( Kim Tae-ri ) who is very fierce, “Victory” also consists of Tae-ho ( Song Joong-ki ) who is the main character and a crew member of the ship whose past is haunted, Tiger Park ( Jin Seon-kyu ) who looks ferocious but has a soft and robotic heart Bubs ( Yoo Hae-jin ).
One time their lives change when they find Dorothy ( Park Ye-rin ), a young child who is reported on the news channel as an android who is able to blow herself up. And plunge the ship "Victory" into a world of conspiracy that involves not only them, but also all human beings on earth and the leader of UTS, James Sullivan ( Richard Armitage ) who has dark goals with Dorothy.
When viewed from the beginning of the film, Space Sweepers does look messy. There is so much information that is given directly to us without really giving us an explanation that there are sometimes times when a scene that should hit us becomes powerless due to a lack of explanation. There are some elements that on their own are quite good, but put together it makes for a messy and sometimes confusing moment.
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Labeled as the first blockbuster space film , Space Sweepers is also seen with the danger of taking elements and storylines that not only seem similar to other films that are similar but also cliché, thus making this film more predictable than I expected.
Even so, that does not mean this is a hollow and bland film. The plot, which changes to be like a group of people who find a new family with Dorothy, gives us the opportunity to see how well Jo Sung-hee has created a group of characters in it that is able to bring each other's fellow characters to life which is also the foundation for the Space Sweepers story .
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Tae-ho, played by Song Joong-ki (the cast of one of the most popular series in Asia, Descendants of the Sun and the action film The Battleship Island ) gives a dramatic touch that is quite striking for this film, where in Space Sweepers he is described as a tragic hero who not only has to fight for his future but also has to always be haunted by his past which the more we learn, the more we feel sympathy for him and understand why he did what he did.
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Jang is also well-played by Kim Tae-ri , where his stern personality also adds an interesting dynamic to the relationships between the characters. Likewise with Jin Seon-kyu who plays the character Park who looks like a thug from the dark world with an ax like Kratos from the God of War game but is the warmest when with Dorothy and Bubs, who are often the cornerstone of story humor making the four a collection of interesting characters. .
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It is the interactions between the characters that actually save this film and make Space Sweepers an enjoyable experience. To see the humor between the members who are at odds while playing cards or when they see the four of them frightened by Dorothy's presence, who is thought to be threatening but is getting warmer towards the little child is what unites the entire narrative of the film. That feeling of friendship and kinship may sound clichéd, but it turns out to be the film's strongest point.
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Not only that, but the film also manages to shock me (in a good way) with a cast I didn't expect, like Richard Armitage (from Hannibal , my favorite series) who was cast as the cunning leaders James Sullivan and Kim Mu-yeol (from The Gangster , the Cop, the Devil which is a really cool South Korean film) as Kang Hyeon-u, a scientist who has an important role in the story.
Richard Armitage , although I like his existence, is not able to make the character interesting, and this is one of the unfortunate things, considering how well this film is able to build his protagonist character. Sullivan is described as a one-dimensional antagonist, not given enough depth and never explained the origins or mystery that surrounds him, so it feels difficult to arouse emotional feelings when he appears.
And that's unfortunate, because here he is depicted as someone who has a big role in the story. The many mysteries that have never been explained - such as the roots that cover the skin of his body - against him make him an empty character, and make the balance in the story unstable because it is difficult for us to feel relevant or understand its characteristics and also results in some elements in the film not work.
But where one thing fails, that's where the other thing works: the visual effects. I never paid much attention to the visual effects of a film from South Korea because I met with it and felt a little disappointed (see Peninsula ). But Space Sweepers managed to amaze me and be amazed by how this film can spoil my eyes through the dazzling visuals of outer space and how the action in it looks smooth, fast and captivating which reminds me of films from, although still not as good as Ad Astra and Star Wars .
From any perspective , Space Sweepers is one of the most important films in South Korean cinema as it is the first space epic film for the country which won 4 Oscars last year. While it's not the perfect film, Space Sweepers is still a film that is not only fun but also promising for South Korea and you can watch it on Netflix.
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