Space Sweepers Parent Guide
The film has an intriguing story but is burdened with jarring tonal shifts, ranging from overly serious to downright silly.
Parent Movie Review
In the year 2092, climate change and pollution have rendered Earth barely habitable. The rich live in orbiting cities created by the UTS Corporation (which is also working on colonizing Mars), while the poor struggle to survive on Earth, or try to eke out a living scavenging space junk. The best of these space sweepers is the crew of the Victory, Captain Jang (Kim Tae-ri), Tae-ho (Song Joong-Ki), Tiger Park (Seon-kyu Jin), and Bubs the robot (voiced by Hae-Jin Yoo). While scavenging a lost spaceship, they discover a child-like robot named Dorothy that’s reported to be a weapon of mass destruction. Desperate for money, the crew sees a chance to collect ransom for Dorothy’s return, but soon discover a deep and dangerous conspiracy.
I’m not really sure where to start with Space Sweepers. To be honest, I have very mixed opinions about it, so I’ll just start in with what works. The main characters are spectacularly written and acted. Each has layers of personality, backstory, and growth that make the audience root for them, even when they’re making questionable choices. I would watch a movie about the Victory crew going on space pirate adventures, if such a thing were available. The special effects are surprisingly good for a production of this size, creating a believable and interesting world that rivals the visuals of some Hollywood blockbusters.
Where Space Sweepers falls short is in its inconsistent tone. Sometimes it wants to be a fun space romp, and other times it wants to be a serious dystopian drama. It never seems to find a balance between the two, which creates some jarring tonal shifts, ranging from overly serious to outright silly. The story has some great ideas but loses itself along the way. The first hour is enjoyable but the movie falls apart as it keeps going – and the bloated runtime means it has a long way to go. Tighter editing would have delivered a much more successful film. Space Sweepers raises interesting themes around environmentalism, classism, and late-stage capitalism, but it fails to say anything original, or even all that deep, about these topics.
This is not a film for children, as evidenced by the sheer amount of profanity. If you are a sci-fi fan, I think you might enjoy Space Sweepers. Overall, it’s a fun time with some original ideas and visuals – as long as you don’t expect it to delve too deeply into the issues it raises. You’ll also need to ignore some weird cinematography choices and be prepared to read subtitles or listen to dubbed dialogue (unless you speak Korean, that is). If anything, the crew made me want to revisit Firefly, so I guess that’s a plus.Directed by Sung-hee Jo. Starring Song Joong-Ki, Kim Tae-ri, Seon-kyu Jin. Running time: 136 minutes. Theatrical release February 5, 2021. Updated February 6, 2021
Watch the trailer for Space Sweepers
Rating & Content Info
Why is Space Sweepers rated TV-MA? Space Sweepers is rated TV-MA by the MPAA
Violence: Multiple fist fights. A woman is hit with a taser. Guns are seen and used throughout the film. Many people are seen being killed by guns. Knives are used in some fights. A woman’s hand is cut off by an axe. For all the guns and killing, blood and gore are very rarely seen.
Sexual Content: It is implied that two characters “did more that kiss” in the past.
Profanity: Expletives of all types are used in abundance, including approximately 14 sexual expletives and a few uses of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Captain Jang regularly drinks out of a flask. Other characters comment on her drinking problem. Beer bottles are seen in the background in scenes set in bars and clubs.
Page last updated February 6, 2021
Space Sweepers Parents' Guide
Space Sweepers raises some big issues, especially those around environmentalism or class divisions. Do any of these issues matter to you? Why?
Related home video titles:
Interstellar sees an astronaut going on a mission to find a new home for humanity after environmental collapse devastates Earth.
In Elysium, a privileged minority live in the clouds while the rest of humanity fight it out on planet Earth.
Humanity heads for the stars in the face of ecological catastrophe, leaving robots to clean up their planet in Wall-E