Review: Space Sweepers (2021)

A surprisingly good space adventure which feels like a cross between Guardians of the Galaxy and Total Recall. 

PLOT AND STORY 

Set in 2092, spaceship Victory is one of the many that live off salvaging space debris. Crewed with a genius space pilot Tae-ho(Song Joong-ki), a mysterious ex-space pirate Captain Jang(Kim Tae-ri), an spaceship engineer Tiger Park(Jin Sun-kyu), and a reprogrammed military robot Bubs(Yoo Hai-jin), Spaceship Victory surpasses all other space sweepers. After successfully snatching a crashed space shuttle in the latest debris chase, Victory’s crew find a 7-year-old girl inside. They realize that she’s the humanlike robot wanted by UTS Space Guards, and decide to demand ransom in exchange.

This is a Korean made movie which has been dubbed into English however this has a multilingual cast with many English speaking characters. 

I’m really struggling with writing this review because I actually really enjoyed this movie. I enjoyed it so much that I would go as far as to say it’s one of the best sci-fi movies I have seen in a long time. The trouble I’m having is I can’t understand all the negative reviews and its relative low scores on IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes. Am I missing something or are other people not enjoying this as much because it’s not made in Hollywood?

The story has a good structure with a variety of characters and a core message of good versus evil. I enjoyed watching our 4 main characters development who start out as a ragtag group of selfish colleagues and grow into a family fighting for the greater good. I will probably compare this to Guardians of the Galaxy quite a bit because there are a number of similarities with the tone and story.

PRODUCTION AND DIRECTION 

This is an incredibly well made movie with some brilliant special effects. There are a lot of space flights and battles which look amazing. The way the ships are piloted felt very reminiscent of the way Peter Quill flies the Milano in Guardians of the Galaxy 1&2 with the use of dual joysticks and foot pedals. 

When the movie isn’t focused on flying in space the characters are either within their ships’ communal area or on space stations. The design for these settings are very impressive with similarities to Blade Runner 2049, The Fifth Element and Total Recall. Something else the movie does really well is remember that international space stations would be global and not all the same race of people. There are Korean, French, German, English, American and more I’m sure of which contributes to the realism of the story. 

I have nothing but praise for a movie of this quality produced for around $25 million. This feels like a distant relative to the series Firefly by it’s good story with engaging characters made on a tight budget and may also go on to develop a cult following.

One of the main characters is a robot called Bubs and the CGI was flawless. Using motion capture technology the standard was on par with what we are used to seeing in Marvel or Star Wars movies.

CAST

The three main characters are all Korean who I am not familiar with but were all well cast for their specific roles. Song Joong-ki plays Kim Tae-ho a Former Commander of the Space Guards for the UTS. Kim Tae-ri plays Captain Jang a Former Special Forces Squad officer who later deserted her post to create her own pirate organization. Jin Seon-kyu plays Tiger Park a Former Drug King who escaped Earth after being arrested and sentenced to death.

The MVP of the movie for me was Yoo Hae-jin as Robot Bubs a Former military robot trying to save up for her gender confirmation services. This character offered the comic relief to the squad and reminded me of K2SO in Star Wars Rogue One.

Finally Richard Armitage plays James Sullivan The CEO of UTS and the movie’s main villain.

FINAL THOUGHTS 

When you think about big budget Hollywood made sci-fi movies in the last ten years like Valerian, Enders Game, Jupiters Ascending and John Carter then Space Sweepers wipes the floor with them while being made on a fraction of the budget. Disappointingly Space Sweepers is currently carrying a similar score on IMDB to these movies which will potentially put people off but to those people I would say ignore the scores and give this a chance. There are lots of people in the reviews section saying the same as me so I know I’m not the only one. This is a well made, high production value movie with a fun and interesting story, a huge sense of adventure and some stunning effects. If you like science fiction and want a fun, entertaining couple of hours then give Space Sweepers a chance.

I watched this via Netflix and received no incentive to review this movie. All images are courtesy of Netflix and their respective owners.

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