Feels like it’s been a long time since we’ve gotten to experience a big budget, special effects heavy, massive space opera. South Korea’s newest release Space Sweepers is sprawling, ambitious, and all around the perfect summer blockbuster, even though it’s confined to the small screen via Netflix in February
In traditional sci-fi film fashion, planet Earth in the future has become uninhabitable. A corporation has built a new floating home in space, eligible for certain privileged people to ascend to, with the planet Mars soon to become the new refuge for most humanity. The areas above the Earth are filled with space debris that salvagers go around collecting materials to sell. A crew aboard the spaceship called “The Victory” are sort of the roughneck group of salvagers, usually fighting with and winning out on the other space crews.
In one of their hauls, they uncover a recently missing weapon of mass destruction disguised as a little girl named “Dorothy”. With different factions willing to pay a high price for this property, they figure all their financial struggles will soon be over with. They quickly realize they are caught up in something beyond what they could have imagined.
Each of the characters aboard the Victory have a unique personality that makes them interesting to watch. Captain Jang is the silent type that demands respect from her crew, Tiger Park handles the mechanics of the ship, he’s gruff and a badass, Bubs is the robot that offers amusing commentary on the actions of its human counterparts, and Tae-ho is the hot shot pilot that is dealing with his own personal issues, making each profit they can obtain incredibly important to him. Suddenly having a little girl on board, that they constantly refer to as a weapon, brings out different aspects to their characters as they uncover her story.
This movie has some serious ambitions that it’s trying to convey in it’s 2 hour and 15 minute runtime, and I think that it succeeds incredibly well in achieving all of its intended goals. It’s epic, it has big action scenes of course, but also has heart, and humor. The special effects are staggering and they fill the entire screen. Sometimes it does feel like the images get a little too busy, especially with the lightning speed editing during the space battles, but when it’s time for the emotions, the camera is always in the right spot. I think the pacing could be a little bit tighter, but with a movie trying to juggle so much and stick the landing, I can understand the long breaths that it is taking.
This is definitely some of the most fun I’ve had watching a movie recently that didn’t have the Marvel logo in front of it.
4.5 out of 5