Thursday, February 17, 2022

Seobok: Project Clone / 서복 - Movie Review

The Movie: Seobok: Project Clone / 서복

The Director: Lee Yong-ju

The Cast: Gong Yoo, Park Bo-gum, Jo Woo-jin, Jang Young-nam, Park Byung-eun

The Story: Ex intelligence agent Ki Heon is tasked with safely transporting Seo Bok, the first ever human clone, who holds the secret of eternal life. Several forces try to take control of Seo Bok to serve their own agendas.

The Review:
The world of cinema is definitely no stranger to the idea of cloning with movies across the board from Star Wars to Invasion of the Body Snatchers and so many in between, they always seem to be a marker of time when it comes to real world technology. Director Lee Yong-ju, who also wrote the story, explores the topic in what feels like a very near future setting complete with political, economical, and even military considerations all interwoven together. Because that's what we do as human beings.

The story is dependent on the relationship that develops between the two primary characters, a former intelligence agent, played by Gong Yoo, who has a terminal condition and the first human clone, brought to life by Park Bo-gum, who is nearly immortal. While the two actors are more than competent in their roles, I think there wasn't as much of an emotional connection as I was hoping for which takes away from the drama in the third act and the eventual finale.

This is especially important because without a big emotional punch, there rest of the movie is fairly generic in what it has to offer, I mean how many times have we seen the rogue agent type guy go on a road trip with a person or thing that is a highly valued asset to keep it away from evil authority figures. A prime example of this type of movie working is Alex Garland's Ex Machina (without the road trip of course) which genuinely explores the topics of creation and humanity and artificial intelligence in a much more complex and nuanced manner.

Sure, the two movies are very different in style and tone, Seobok is more of an action movie at its core, but I feel like it could have benefited greatly from leaning into Ex Machina's vibe a little more than it does. Solid acting, decent action, and a fairly interesting story all make up for an entertaining movie although not one that will stick with you or give you a reason to think about it for very long after watching.

The Verdict:
Seobok: Project Clone is a pretty effective thriller that will satisfy movie goers craving for an action, sci fi adventure even if it doesn't have that big emotional hit that I'm used to from Korean cinema. Not a bad movie, just doesn't really stand out in any way.

The Blu-ray I received to review has a decent selection of bonus features including trailers for the movie and a few others and some behind the scenes featurettes that help you get to know the two lead actors and some insight from the director. Again, nothing that stands out but it is a bit more than we usually see from Well Go USA releases so that was nice.

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