Kevin C. Wong

Movie - Space Sweepers (2021) [+]

Space Sweepers is a Korean science fiction film (exclusively on Netflix) about the crew of a junk sweeping ship that finds a little girl on an abandoned derelict but when they try to turn her in for a reward it turns out she's the key to saving a dying Earth and UTS Corporation doesn't want her alive.

In this far future the Earth is polluted and slowly dying. UTS Corporation has these space habitats where the wealthy live but there is so much orbital junk that independent space sweepers ply the lanes catching junk before they hit something important. It reminds of a small Traveller setup: you have a small rundown ship getting by catching junk and turning it in for credits but fuel, taxes and living costs means most of the time you're barely making headway cutting down your debts.

Captain Jang (Kim Tae-ri) - Captain of the space sweeper Victory
Kim Tae-ho (Song Joong-ki) - Pilot of Victory who needs money to find his lost daughter
Tiger Park (Jun Seon-kyu) - Victory's rough and tumble engineer with a soft spot for kids
Bubs (Yoo Hae-jun) - Former battle-droid now Victory's harpooner (used to capture space junk)
Dorothy (Park Ye-rin) - humanoid robot found by Victory

So they find the kid and three factions want the kid: UTS, Black Fox (an eco-terrorist group), and the scientist who created her. But as the story evolves the NPCs continue to evolve. The robot girl is actually a real girl. The scientist is actually her father. Black Fox has a similar turn while UTS is revealed as a bit sinister early on so it's not a surprise they're actually the bad guys of the story.

The special effects are pretty good and better than I've seen before on Korean films. Considering the lowish budget it feels like a medium budget movie and the story and characters push it up to a surprisingly good film.