(REVIEW) Seobok (2021)


Seobok is one of the most awaited Korean films to appear in theaters. How about not? The film stars two popular Korean actors: Park Bo-gum and Gong Yoo . Both of them became the main characters in this science fiction genre action film. Initially, the film was planned for release in December 2020, then rescheduled for release in Indonesian theaters on April 12, 2021 and via streaming TVING on April 15, 2021.

Synopsis Seobok tells the story of Seo Bok (Park Bo-gum), a new human clone who is being chased by various parties to become a weapon of immortality from his bone marrow. Meanwhile, Ki-hun (Gong Yoo) who is a former assassin is assigned to protect him. Unfortunately, the party who asked Ki-hun to protect Seo Bok, actually trapped the two of them.

Interesting Love-hate Relationship between Gong Yoo and Park Bo-gum
Both Gong Yoo and Park Bo-gum both display interesting chemistry since the two characters they play meet. Changes in character and the relationship between the two are arguably the strengths of this film.

Gong Yoo as Ki-hun who was initially skeptical of his life felt resigned to his cancer. So resigned, he was not afraid to die. However, he also still has the desire to recover and live, instead of protecting Seo Bok from being chased by irresponsible parties.

Given that his life is full of violence, he often speaks bluntly, rudely, and likes to swear. Therefore, when they meet the innocent and quiet Seo Bok, the two of them create a love-hate relationship that is entertaining and breaks the mood.

Likewise with Park Bo-gum, his acting has risen to a high level compared to the small screen. Finally, Bo-gum appeared on Record of Youth (2020) whose rating managed to lead from the list of dramas that aired in its release season. In this film, Bo-gum can cry, be disappointed, scream, and in pain that we have never seen before in a drama.

You could say, the director, Lee Yong-joo, chose this 1993-born actor as a human clone. Bo-gum’s face and expression really support the appearance of being a superpower and eternal living species . His brain waves can control anything just through his mind. Seo Bok’s character is also heartwarming and interesting to dive into. Even though they are not considered human, their behavior is actually more human than human.

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Captivating Visual Effects Reminiscent of The Matrix

Seobok movies are more interesting with CGI effects . The computer effect appears every time Seo Bok takes his power out. So strong, he can move any object without being touched. Similar to the X-Men characters, Charles Xavier or Tatsumaki from One Punch Man .

Obviously this reminds us of the action and effects in the movie The Matrix (1999). Even though there’s no Neo (Keanu Reeves) iconic slow motion , Seo Bok’s movement when repelling bullets, missiles, and others without lifting a finger is quite impressive.

Likewise for the effect when Seo Bok destroys surrounding objects or slams evil humans sadistically in front of him. In fact, we can also see at the beginning of the film when Seo Bok communicates with Ki-hun’s hallucinations through seawater. In addition, the effects of explosions and cracked ground are also no joke.

Lack of Action, Lots of Drama, Sci-Fi Elements

It must be admitted, KINCIR felt “cheated” when watching the trailer and then watching the film. The trailer shows a series of actions that make you curious. Meanwhile, when watching the film, the action is minimal. There is actually drama and elements of science fiction. Eits , not a cheesy romance drama , but a drama of two men who talk about life.

Through its two protagonists, a former intelligence agent who is dying from disease and a cloned immortal, director and screenwriter Lee Yong-ju explores a series of questions about the meaning of life. It’s a cliché, but the efforts of the two protagonists to want to live can be food for reflection.

Seo Bok’s innocent questions, such as “How does it feel to be dying?”, “Is life fun?”, to “Why aren’t people afraid to die while sleeping?” enough to surprise us. Granted, that’s a heavy and overly philosophical question, but through the film Seobok , that question is answered simply.

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Unfortunately, because there are too many emotional explorations from the two main characters, the duration of 115 minutes feels long. The minimal action scenes make this film weak towards the ending . Even so, we can still enjoy the brutal yet humanistic appearance throughout the film.