Sung-hee Jo (director)
2h 16mins (length)
15 February 2021 (released)
15 February 2021
Leading ‘Space Sweepers’ is the crew of Victory, comprising of Tae-Ho (Song-Joong Ki), the pilot with a tragic backstory; Captain Jang (Kim Tae-Ri), the no nonsense leader; Tiger Park (Jin Seon-Kyu), the reformed member from the underworld and Bubs (Yoo Hae-Jin), the talkative robot. They are involved in the business of collecting and disposing space garbage before being put in the middle of a life-or-death situation.
It is made evident from the very start that the crew members are dissatisfied with their hand-to-mouth existence and in dire need of money. Opportunity beckons when they accidentally discover Dorothy, an android in great demand by both UTS, the corporate giant which controls much of the activity of outer space, and Black Foxes, a terrorist organization. They decide to use the situation to their advantage, however, all is not what it seems with Dorothy, UTS or Black foxes.
The film deals with topics like environmental degradation and activism, space debris, power-hungry evil corporations and insulation of the wealthy from the worldly troubles. It also features a gamut of technological advances such as ear-pieces which help the multilinguistic populace communicate, space drones and ships, nanobots and a space utopia for the upper classes.
It also inculcates complex themes like Tae-Ho’s moral dilemma on taking the money to locate his lost daughter, the privileged citizenship of UTS having its own cost and the demarcation of world between haves and have-nots becoming starker with evolution in technology.
The movie has a sluggish start and takes about half an hour more to setup the plot, its second hour is better paced and enjoyable to follow. While the acting from the main cast (The crew and Richard Armitage) is good, the supporting cast aren’t up to the task. The spaceship ‘Victory’ is a funky rendition of how a futuristic spaceship would look like and it works well for the movie. The movie has its own brand of humour, which can get annoying for some (with some toilet humour creeping in) as it is overdone. The story stretches itself towards the end, trying to address too many issues and emotions which might leave one confused with what the movie is trying to achieve. There are also certain plot issues like both Captain Jang and Tae-Ho, being given the ‘cool prodigy’ background or certain bereavements not given enough space, to avoid conflicting with the overall lighter theme.
‘Space Sweepers’ does have its charm in the attempt to bring something fresh to the plate. Having been called South Korea’s first-ever ‘space epic’, it is safe to say that it will become a trendsetter for future space movies in the region.