23 April 2021

K Movie Review: Seo Bok (2021)

It's been a while since our last K movie so Oppa and I decided to watch one. I was thrilled to know that Gong Yoo and Park Bo Gum had a new movie. They're both on my list and it was nice to see something new from Bogummy who's currently fulfilling his military service duties. So, yes, I was prepared to love this movie. 

Plot

Seo Bok is about the story of a human clone/specimen (Bo Gum as Seo Bok) who was made from human genes plus something else that can't be found in humans. Seo Bok's stem cell can be used to cure diseases. Seo Bok was also meant to be immortal as long as he gets to take his medicine every 24 hours. To check if his stem cells can really heal others, tests needed to be done. The company who made Seo Bok picked Ki Hun (Gong Yoo), a semi-retired government operative who has brain tumors. That's like hitting two birds with one stone - they find someone to run their tests on who's also capable of protecting Seo Bok. The two guys grow closer over the short span of time they spend together. The movie takes us through Ki Hun and Seo Bok's quest in avoiding the evil and greedy people around them who have competing interests.  

Gong Yoo as Ki Hun

So far, we've seen Gong Yoo in Coffee Prince and Train to Busan. And I loved him there. I liked the cool/jerk-y coffee shop owner and the zombie-slaying dad. I have not watched a Gong Yoo show in months so I was excited to see him again. The excitement got even higher after I saw his guesting on IU's Palette. Gong Yoo seems like a genuinely nice person. 

I can't say anything bad about how Gong Yoo did Ki Hun. He was bad ass in those fight scenes. I loved how protective he was of Seo Bok although he often expressed that through anger whenever Seo Bok got into trouble. I also liked his drama scenes especially when he recalled how one of his former colleagues was killed. Even the severe headaches were believable. So yep, Gong Yoo was given this job and he delivered, as expected. 

Park Bo Gum as Seo Bok

I will always have a soft spot for Bo Gum. He's like a little brother, or sometimes even a son, to me. And his role here as Seo Bok just further reinforced those feelings. I wanted to comfort him and be there for him. 

Yes, he was playing the role of a semi-human who's almost robotic. But Bo Gum still manages to inject those intense emotions when needed. I loved how he gradually learned to care for Ki Hun. And I absolutely loved those moments when he visited his dad's urn in Ulsan and when he saw his mom's dead body. I loved the restraint Bo Gum showed. His silent tears conveyed so much. And angry Seo Bok who could make everything and everyone bow down to him was not bad either. 

The stoic Seo Bok was reminiscent of Taek in Reply 1988. And while the best Bo Gum I've seen so far would probably still be Record of Youth, I would have to say that he delivered here as well. And I really liked him more here than in Encounter.  

Execution

I think it's pretty evident from what I said above that I loved Gong Yoo and Bo Gum here. They gave solid performances. But you know that a but is coming. 

I didn't quite like how the story developed. Sure it had all the elements of a great film - some sci-fi, some action/thriller involving government and terrorist attacks, some drama/bromance, and great lead stars. Unfortunately, the movie failed to capitalize on all these things. 

I feel like it's one of those shows/movies that wanted to do so much but in the end, it failed to really touch on anything in a substantial way. 

I liked how the movie tried to call out humans for their greed - using technology to gain power over the world. And how people often forget that the pawns that they use are also thinking and feeling human beings. Or how even their most complicated creations like Seo Bok would still have a bit of humanity left in them. 

Overall, however, the movie failed to evoke strong emotions from me. I didn't really feel the story that much. The desire to present a man versus technology battle was admirable. But without a solid story to back it up, the movie had the tendency of leaving its viewers wondering what it really wanted to achieve in the end. I don't subscribe to the belief that technology is bad per se and anyone who comes across it is bound to be greedy and so let's just kill everyone to end that greed.  Probably a bit of hopeful tone would have helped - that technology in the hands of good people can be very useful too. 

So while this would still be worth watching because of Gong Yoo and Bo Gum, you won't be missing much story-wise if you skip this one. 

Oppa says...3.1.

Noona says...3.8. 

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