(director/writer: Yeon Sang-ho; cinematographer: Yoo Ji-Sun; editor: Jinmo Yang; cast: Kang Su-yeon (Soehyun), Kim Hyun-joo (Jung_E), Ryu Kyung-Soo (Sang-Hoon), Jee Dong-Hee (Chaitman); Runtime:  98; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Yeon Sang-ho; Netflix; 2023-S. Korea, in Korean with English subtitles)

“To its detriment, it mostly avoids going into science fiction’s usual issues regarding AI.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Korean writer and director Yeon Sang-ho (“Seoul Station”/”Train to Busan “) films this too talkative, derivative and superficial futuristic sci-fi thriller of humans vs. robots. It’s plagued by a cheap looking production. Its premise is about saving life through artificial intelligence.

In 2194, the Earth has been ravaged by an apocalyptic climate change making the Earth inhabitable. Mankind lives mostly in city-sized space colonies, and currently is facing an ongoing civil war between outposts. The female research scientist, Seo-Hun (Kang Su-yeon, her final screen appearance due to death in May 2022 from a brain hemorrhage) works for a science center to create a robotic super soldier prototype (Jung_E) from the mind of her deceased legendary hero mother (Captain Yun Jung-y (Kim Hyun Joo), a once legendary mercenary who was left comatose following a mission to end the conflic. She is now the template for Jung E- the combat droid of the institute.
The institute deems the experiment a failure and its company man executive Ryu Kyung-Soo (Sang-Hoon), on his boss’s orders, tries to stop the experiment. But the daughter disobeys and goes on with her work.

Rather than being shot on location, the film uses the green screen and sound stages, which takes away from its visuals and its overall effect. Also, flashbacks are too frequently used to show character development.

It argues over the ethical rights to control sentient technology. To its detriment, it mostly avoids going into science-fiction’s usual issues regarding AI.

REVIEWED ON 1/28/2023  GRADE: C+