Saturday, February 6, 2021

Space Sweepers (2021)

I am a huge fan of Korean cinema. They do some of the most creative stories within genres that should have long died out. Their zombie movies are top notch as are their historical dramas. Combine the two like they did with the 12 episode 2 season show KINGDOM and you suddenly become aware of all the creativity that exists in Korean cinema.

Now Netflix has released another subtitled Korean adventure, this one set in space. I may be a rarity but I enjoy subtitles when a film is this visually spectacular. I just want to pay attention to everything around the characters and there is A LOT to watch here. Reading the dialogue forces me to do that.

No matter where a Koran movie like this one is set, I totally believe in the environment. The 'in space' production values here are insane and I kept thinking throughout how much of a disappointed it is that no one will see this one in a theatre. So watch it on the largest TV you got. Unlike The Expanse there is no desire to replicate space travel as it would really exist hundreds of years into the future. That kind of real world science would just slow things down here. 

This film could use a trim of about a half hour and everything would be zipping along. So many times the action is interrupted by moments of character ennui or a useless flashback scene that could have conveyed the same information but not in a way that slows down the action.

Chasing after space debris and faraway dreams in year 2092, four misfits unearth explosive secrets during the attempted trade of a wide-eyed humanoid.

Earth of course is a planet on deep decline or as one character calls it, 'on life support'. However there is life on Mars that replicates Earth at it's best but only five percent of Humanity can live there because to get there, you have to be very wealthy. Little is explained about why humanity is living on Mars in the first place and what caused Earth to degrade past the point of no return.

In space, the fight is on for scraps that float in orbit around the planet. It's all very complicated to look at and sometimes I had no idea where I was in the larger scheme of things. There are just things falling down and around me. All I know is that space is full of junk in this time and junk has value (not much of it, not enough often to survive). I had a hard time figuring out just exactly what kind of job this crew did. In fact for a movie with this title there is very little 'space sweeping' of any kind going on.

When they find a girl who resembles a space bomb (don't ask), the four members of the crew, which include a snarky robot, figure they can sell her to a terrorist organization for two million dollars. Things are never that simple especially when the crew gets attached to the little girl. - 2 Men, A Robot And A Little Lady In Space.

The story is full of exposition that feels like someone had too much story and not enough time to tell it all. Much backstory is explained with flashbacks and it's sometimes hard to keep all the players straight in my mind. The film is all over the place. Some characters just show up without any explanation as to why they are there in the first place. Good guys are suddenly bad and vice versa. It makes very little sense. The strength of the film is found in the relationship between the crew and the little girl who changes all their lives.

There is also a backstory about a missing little girl and a grieving father but that whole storyline goes nowhere.

Despite all that, the action is spectacular and I got attached to all the characters. For a Netflix production, the CGI is intense and seemless. They did a great job with the POV view of flying in space around larger objects. Nothing that could be done, at that speed in real life of course, but it is thrilling.

I watched all this action while trying to figure out what the hell was going on most of the time. I guess there was some super scientist who wants to destroy Earth and be a bastard to everyone he comes across. Of course he is white and a dickhead, did I mention that? And his whole 'revenge' plan makes little sense because he has no previous relationship with the crew to motivate revenge. I feel like I am watching the live action version of a Korean anime and I have missed the first three seasons worth of episodes on TV.

All that being said, I enjoyed the mess that this was. I hated it's cloying and happy ending but will probably go off to the You Tubes to get a better explanation about what I just saw because there is an interesting story here, buried in all the showy mess of too many ideas.

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