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  1. Space Sweepers aka 승리호 (Spaceship Victory) Director: Jo Sung Hee Written by: Jo Sung Hee, Yoon Seung Min, Yookang Seo Ae Release: February 5, 2021 Distribution: Netflix Cast: Song Joong Ki - Kim Tae Ho Kim Tae Ri - Captain Jang Jin Seon Kyu - Tiger Park Yoo Hae Jin - Bubs Richard Armitage - James Sullivan Kim Mu Yeol - Kang Hyon Woo Park Ye Rin - Dorothy / Kang Kkot Nim This movie struck me as a bit of a cross between a Star Wars movie and the US drama series Firefly, though there are elements which feel derivative from any number of space movies and dramas. It’s really the strength of its casting that makes this movie worth watching. In a post apocalyptic world, where space is the ultimate escape, our heros are a ragtag band of people who crew the ship Victory salvaging space junk for money. They are not quite a team, mostly keeping to themselves, especially their histories and emotions. Of course, it turns out that their back stories have them falling from various graces, but they are all now just trying to make a living and get by. Captain Jang played by Lee Tae Ri is a bit of an alcoholic when she's not working, keeping any intimacy or romantic intentions by men firmly in their place. Tiger Park played by Jin Seon Kyu is a bit of a savage person who would rather fight than smile, though he turns out to be a marshmallow inside under the right circumstances. Bubs voiced by Yoo Hae Jin is an android with an attitude who also happens to be a card sharp and is pondering taking on a human exterior. Tae Ho played by Song Joong Ki is a bit of a rascal desperate to raise some money in order to try to salvage his dead daughter’s body. Then they happen upon a child Dorothy/Kkot Nim played by Park Ye Rin during one of their salvages. Initially thinking that she was an explosive device rather than a child, they come to learn that instead she is a very special child. They initially try to deliver Kkot Nim to her father played by Kim Mu Yeol for the money he promises to pay them, but it turns out that the villains are also in pursuit of Kkot Nim, and everything goes wrong in the reunion attempt. It’s in caring for the child that the crew of Victory slowly open up to each other as well as to Kkot Nim. The primary villain is James Sullivan played by Richard Armitage who is seen as humanity’s savior without realizing that he’s also slowly further damaging Earth and is planning on destroying it completely. He also happens to be TH’s adoptive father, of sorts. This movie was definitely shot to be shown on a big screen. The space battles particularly needs a certain scale in order for it to be fully appreciated. Watching it on a small screen as I did, I feel that it lost some of its flavor. The multicultural, multi-linguistic approach is also interesting with the two dominant languages being the Korean spoken by the crew and English by most of the non-Korean characters, especially the villains, but with smidgeons of other languages in there as well. I appreciated the attempt, though it means that pretty much everyone who watches this will end up reading some subtitles. The movie also has a bit of a slow start as it opens with a voiceover of the world in decay in 2092, then cuts to Tae Ho trying to use some real rice versus molecular chemistry rice substitute as cash currency to get into what we later find out is a mortuary. It takes its time to build up the world and the crew, so it’s best to watch it when there are few interruptions. Once it gets going though, it becomes engaging as we see more of the crew interactions, especially once Kkot Nim is introduced into the mix. It helps that the adult cast are all veteran actors, so even when the plot starts to feel a bit derivative, they are still engaging and charsmatic. This is particularly important since there isn’t any romance in this movie. There is plenty of bromance, including with Captain Jang, and heaping doses of love of a father for his daughter, but no hint of a romantic flicker other than a crush by Captain Pierre on Captain Jang which is mostly played for laughs. The child actresses in this film are as impressive as Korean child actors tend to be. Both Park Ye Rin as Kkot Nim and Oh Ji Eun playing Tae Ho’s daughter Suni turn in solid, touching performances. It’s deftly directed by Jo Sung Hee (who also directed the Korean blockbuster The Werewolf Boy) who is very good at pulling out the emotions from his actors without going overboard, and manages to balance the comedy with the more serious plotlines and themes. Btw, there is a moment at the end where Captain Jang scoffs at her crewmates for their cheesiness which is a bit of a crack up as it makes a wry nod at cliched emotions and situations. I ultimately enjoyed watching this movie, and will even probably watch it again if I can find a bigger screen to watch it on. I’m not sure that it’s going to become a classic, but it is a lot of fun if you can stay with it. I’m hoping that there will be a sequel “Space Sweepers 2” once the pandemic is over. Space Sweepers is good enough that I would like to watch this cast interacting again. Plot: 7 Cast: 9 Production: 9 Rewatch: 8
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