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Space Sweepers (Netflix): Movie Review (2021)

Space Sweeper the Korean Sci-Fi Blockbuster hits Netflix 2021
Image Source: KoreaTimes

Let me come clean. The first thing I thought when I saw Song Joong Ki leading the lineup for this movie was 'Is this OK?' 'Hhhmmm.....what about, you know...his personal life', and as a fan of his previous personal work, I had the same doubt I had when he was casted in 'Descendants of the Sun'. 

Sorry, Joong Ki. 😳

But the concept of a sci-fi movie in the Korean film platter was enticing. The trailer didn't look half bad either. When it comes to space movies, Hollywood has always been the Big Guy.

We expect Hollywood to deliver the big guns and explosions while Kdrama land is all mush, love, arm grabs, ice-cold kiss scenes, love triangles, and of late, time traveling. 

So, sci-fi? Interesting. Honestly, I went in with an empty mind which is not necessarily an open one. Ditched the reviews, writeups, Youtube reactions and everything else and hit the 'watch' button without expecting anything. 

First off, Kudos on incorporating that 'automatic device' that people in space use because, in space, everyone's speaking different languages. Throughout the movie, there's English, Spanish, Korean, a smattering of French, Russian, and a two-liner Mandarin. 

The Characters

Comprising of a rag-tag of hungry, poor, desperate, emotionally-charged, and homeless crew of intelligent and skilled tugs who have to scour the space for space trash to make some money, they're highly relatable.

The other Space Sweepers were the same, just from different countries, but just as hungry and desperate. 

I was expecting it to be sophisticated and snobbish too since it IS South Korea's first venture into the Hollywood's reveled Sci-Fi genre. 

But the crew is anything but elegant and sophisticated. They're all Han Solos. 

Rough, foul-mouthed, money-minded, almost emotionless (at least in the beginning), ruthless, and will do anything to get their hands on money. 

Kim Tae Ho (Song Joong Ki)

Kim Tae Ho appears to be the most ruthless of the bunch. He is saving up money, and nothing else matter to him in the beginning, to find his adopted daughter (dead or alive) whom he lost during a space disaster. He is cynical, does not believe in anything other than cold, hard cash, and himself. 

Captain Jang (Kim Tae Ri)

The Captain of the crew, Captain Jang, is a half-drunk genius who makes most of the calls. I knew, somehow, that Kim Tae Ri CAN pull this off because she's been billed by many as one of the most versatile actresses in South Korea. She has a sweet face but something's got to be said about her transformation and acting. 

Tiger Park (Jin Sun Kyu)

Tiger Park, or just Park-shi (Mr. Park - which he doesn't like to be called), on the other hand, is the mush we need in the crew. Covered in tattoo and filled with machismo, he cut through my expectations by being the most emotional one of the four. He's all tough on the outside, can kick your ass to the next Black Hole, but the softie we need in times of need. 

Bubs the Robot (Yoo Hae Jin)

Another refreshing take for the show is that Bubs, the robot whom I expected to fill the subordinate cutie, comedic role of C3PO, had some surprises for me. 

He/she IS one of the main kick-ass cast. 

They involve him/her in almost all decisions and he/she is not stupid. In fact, it was a killing machine in the past. So, he/she's got his/her accolades that can rival those of the other crew members. 

Bubs also has a gender problem (as you can see from my 'he/she' references here). Bubs is voiced by Yoo Hae-Jin who is as manly as you can get as far as voices go, so I assumed Bubs was a man. It was later revealed that Bubs is saving up money for skin graft, a new body, as a woman. 

Dorothy/Kot-nim (Park Ye Rin)

Dorothy/Kot-nim is a child android/human who had enough screen time to satisfy me. She wasn't just a prop! I was delighted because it's common for script writers to side-line such characters and use only their special purpose or powers and then....you know, forget about their storyline. 

Here, even the child has a touching storyline. She is said to be an explosive android that is worth millions of dollars and the crew, of course, was enraptured that they chanced upon this precious gold mine, plotting to exchange her for big-time cold cash.

The problem is that Dorothy/Kot-nim was a charming, an adorably cute 7-year-old with a special power they knew nothing about until later. She started to grow on them, one by one, even the ruthless Tae Ho who built an emotional wall between them because he did not want to be attached to a child he is going to exchange for money. He's focused on finding his daughter, after all.

A Rag-Tag Crew with Character and Back Stories  

What reeled me in was that all the characters had their own stories. They're not the rich or overpowering superhumans we see and expect from Hollywood movies. They have no special power except for being human, having emotional scars, and are working their butts off to make money. All of them needed money for one reason or another, including Bubs the robot. 

And just like us, they're stressed about bills, taxes, paying for petrol, and had their space craft repossessed by the Bank. They're also fighting the Capitalism that we, as normal human beings no matter where we are, are also struggling with. 

I'll leave the technical breakdowns to the experts. I have no blinking idea what nanoparticles are or what they can do, how a pseudo-planet is supposed to look like, if Mars is actually transformable and livable, how much actual space junk we might have in 2092, and if the currency they're using is going to be called 'Dollar' anymore since for humans in space, there's really no nationality anymore. 

I'll take it as it is because, as mentioned, I went in like a blank piece of paper. 

It was a delight to watch. A far-flung idea not too dissimilar to other Hollywood sci-fi films but with much more heart and less machismo. 

As far as storylines go, I think Hollywood should take a page from this film's trajectory. After watching this, my review of Captain Marvel just went from -1000 to -1,000,000. 😂😂😂

Sending you lots of love, 
Hit the Netflix watch button now and watch, it's fun for a lazy Sunday, anyway. 

Marsha



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