The South Korean space opera film Space Sweepers premiered on Netflix a few weeks ago, and did not take long to boom on the streaming platform. Although it is, unfortunately, another film which has missed the cinemas due to COVID-19, Space Sweepers is easily one of the best sci-fi adventure projects Netflix has had so far.
The film is set in the year 2092, when the earthlings’ occupation of Mars becomes a reality, after Earth’s pollution levels become toxic. The Martian colony, replete with green fields and breathable air, is under the control of the UTS Corporation. However, only the wealthy elites can relocate to the colony, leaving billions stranded on miserable Earth.
Tae-ho (Song Joong-ki), former commander of the space guards, is leading a crew of a space junk collectors including Captain Jang (Kim Tae-ri), a former special forces squad officer, Tiger Park (Jin Seon-kyu), a convicted drug lord who escaped from Earth, and Robot, who is, well, a robot with human emotions.
They have debts to pay and wishes to fulfil, which leads to them getting themselves into risky business. However, they never have much luck with it. Then, their lives take a huge turn when they meet a humanoid child robot named Dorothy that’s known to be a weapon of mass destruction. The encounter brings upon an adventure that is less about money and more about what they stand for.
The first 20 minutes of Space Sweepers, directed by Korean box office hitter Jo Sung-hee, may give viewers the feeling of watching Guardians of the Galaxy, but the originality keeps the audience’s attention over two hours. The twists and suspense are plenty in quantity, just enough to blow the viewers’ minds.
The film sets a well-balanced dystopian scene, with a realistic background and great CGI. Meanwhile, the plot showcases a solid story which combines the potential dark future of humankind with a string of hope, shown through the fatherly love expressed by a former child soldier and the heart-warming gestures by a former drug kingpin to a child. It is also great to see people from different races and speaking different languages on the screen, which makes the film more natural than ever.
Joong-ki, the star from A Werewolf Boy, does an impressive job as the leading protagonist, especially in expressing emotion on screen, but Tae-ri and Seon-kyu also display great performances in leading roles. All three deliver stunning action and at the same time deliver the most humourous moments in the film.
Many may have criticised Space Sweepers for being too long, but that is not necessarily the case considering the distinctive elements and level of captivation the film presents. It is definitely the breakout film of the year from South Korea.