Seobok (2021) Korean Movie Review

Entertaining big-budget sci-fi thriller. I have to say I mostly got what I wanted out of it, and that’s a mix of pathos, road film and some action for good measure. It does have its shortcomings that keep it from being great, though.

Imagine having a male Asian version of Eleven from Stranger Things. Then give him a Frankenstein-type backstory and pair him with a skilled secret agent who has his own brand of unsavory past. They’re the centerpiece of the film and their gradual bonding is at the heart of the story. This is the kind of thriller that takes cues from modern Hollywood cinema, but keeps that Korean flair in trying to wring out real emotions from its characters while putting them in some tough spots. It even goes overboard in that regard, with some slightly predictable, almost underwhelming scenes in the second half. The film’s focus switches from an entertaining, sometimes touching road trip to borderline-corny melodrama with occasional SFX-heavy sequences. Still, even then the film has its moments; there’s a particularly effective beach scene that manages to find a sense of melancholy amid all the obvious sugarcoating.

Overall, this is a polished, mostly fun and exciting ride that’s worth a watch if you’re into Korean genre fare and don’t mind formulaic plotting. It won’t blow you away, but it’s got just enough going for it.

Review by alain-kapel5


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