Space Sweepers: A Surprisingly Sweet Space Opera – Netflix Review

This South Korean film takes us to a sadly realistic future of mostly doom.

SUMMARY (Spoiler-Free)

It’s 2092 and everything is pretty well and truly terrible. Earth’s nearly dead, so the UTS corporation, run by definitely not-evil guy James Sullivan (Richard Armitage), builds a new orbiting civilization for the few who can become UTS citizens. Those who escape Earth but aren’t citizens can work as Space Sweepers, astronauts who pick up space debris and sell it to UTS. One group of sweepers is the crew of the Victory, consisting of former special forces commander Kim Tae-ho (Song Joong-ki), Captain Jang (Kim Tae-ri), former drug kingpin Tiger Park (Jin Seon-kyu), and former military robot Bubs (Yoo Hae-jin). The group barely manage to keep floating on their scrap runs until they find a small child inside of a destroyed car. The child turns out to be a robot named Dorothy (Park Ye-rin), who contains a hydrogen bomb capable of destroying everything in a wide range. Naturally, a number of parties want her. But it turns out that this may be an exceptionally special little girl, beyond even what they think.

Shows about Blue-Collar astronauts are often great.


If you like a comedy based around bad-ass space pirates with hearts of gold, then may I recommend the show Firefly? It’s pretty amazing. After you watch that, though, this movie was also a fun example of that weirdly specific genre. Much like that series, the strength of this film comes from how well the main characters play off of each other. Despite the fact that they would largely seem to have the same kind of personality, being that they’re all former military or warriors, they actually have a lot of different viewpoints over how to deal with the various challenges they run into. It’s a great way to work a deeper character study into a space opera.

Yes, the robot is wearing a hoodie. Don’t question it.

The performances in the movie are all great, ranging from the rapidly deteriorating Richard Armitage, who starts as Elon Musk as envisioned by his supporters and ends at Elon Musk as envisioned by his Twitter page, to the secretly sweet Tiger Park to Bubs, the transgender robot (granted, she’s CGI, but she’s amazing CGI). I do think one of the better performances was Song Joong-ki as Kim Tae-ho, who undergoes a massive character moment during the film and it hit me harder than I would have expected a movie like this to be capable of. Each of the characters treats Dorothy a little differently and the scenes with the child are often among the best in the film.

It helps that she really is an adorable little girl.

Overall, if you haven’t seen this movie, you really should give it a try. Sadly, it’s not about curling, but almost everything else is well-done.

If you want to check out some more by the Joker on the Sofa, check out the 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All TimeCollection of TV EpisodesCollection of Movie Reviews, or the Joker on the Sofa Reviews.

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