In the year 2092 the earth has become almost uninhabitable, the effects of environmental degradation are now too great. It is true that technology has also made enormous strides. This is how James Sullivan ( Richard Armitage ) and his company UTS succeeded in opening up new living spaces in space. But space is limited, which is why only a relatively small part of humanity can live there. Especially since life in space has its pitfalls, junk is floating around everywhere, the consequences of previous accidents. But where there is a need, there is also someone who benefits from it. And that’s how Tae-ho ( Song Joong-ki ), Captain Jang ( Kim Tae-ri ), Tiger Park ( Jin Seon-kyu) and the robot Bubs make a living by searching the area for junk with their spaceship Victory. That works more badly than right, until one day they find the robot girl Dorothy ( Park Ye-rin ) and smell the business of her life in it …
In the last few years, South Korean cinema has gained a lot of international attention. Not only since the triumphal procession of Parasite have we published titles from the Far Eastern country, which has developed into one of the most important and top-selling film nations of all. However, there are still some major gaps in the offer. While some genres like action thriller or comedy are being followed very heavily, others still look pretty weak. One of them is the science fiction area, which generally ekes out a shadowy existence as a live-action variant in East Asia – not least because of the astronomically high costs that such stories often entail.
It is all the more gratifying that Space Sweepers , which appears on Netflix due to the difficult cinema situation , has now taken the risk. Sure, a budget of the equivalent of $ 21 million is nothing by Hollywood standards. That almost falls under Independent there. Compared to other South Korean films that is quite a lot of money. You can also tell from the occupation that you have looked a bit towards the west here and hope to jump on the triumphant advance of South Korea there. In addition to the main South Korean crew, there are a number of Western actors and actresses. At least Richard Armitage, known from The Hobbit , could be won over for the role of Sullivan and I say nothing for you .
The desire to really create a blockbuster for the masses here unfortunately also meant that director and screenwriter Sung-hee Jo didn’t want to take too big risks. While the beginning still gives hope for an adventure variant of the anime cult Planetes , which also told of space junk collectors, later it has to be about saving the earth again. In other places the story is just as unimaginative. Whether it is the opponent, the course of the plot or the culmination towards the end: Space Sweepers rattles off pretty much everything that belongs to the foundation of the science fiction genre on the way to the home screen – including a babbling robo-sidekick .
Whereby this is quite entertaining. In general, the wildly mixed-up bunch of Victories, all of them outsiders and outlaws in their own way, are personable. If they approach each other from time to time on the go, then it’s a lot of fun. The tragic stories that Jo throws after them would not have needed it. It’s also nice that they showed a little more courage, at least with the language. Even if the majority of the dialogues are in South Korean and English, different ones can always be heard. The reason: in the future, practically everyone will have a translation device with them, which is why everyone in Space Sweepers can speak in their own language. That could have been carried out even more consistently, for example with the crew as such. It’s nice anyway.
The film as such is “nice in the sense” of “solid”. So the budget was used well, the pictures are impressive. The interior design of the spaceship is also pleasing, the collected scrap and the equipment do not give much. If you also want to see a few space battles again, you will also get your money’s worth here in an albeit not too long sequence. In addition, the pathos holds back in comparison to The Wandering Earth – the second major science fiction film from the Far East that Netflix has bought. It doesn’t work entirely without kitsch, but it doesn’t get really intrusive. The fact that the film is a bit long for its story and adheres too closely to expectations prevent space sweepers actually comes high. But you can pass an evening with it.