In a future of warfare, an organization tries to create a perfect robot soldier using the brain of a comatose military heroine. From the director of “Zombie Station”, Netflix premieres on January 20.
The beginning of JUNG_E it’s pretty tricky. Intelligent and original, but it suggests that we will see a movie very different from what it finally is. And that trap, oddly enough, works. Fans of pure and hard action movies, closer to video game formats, may be disappointed to see that the Korean director of ZOMBIE STATION (TRAIN TO BUSAN) has other plans in mind. But in the long run they are beneficial for the film, which will be a blockbuster full of special effects but which is more influenced by the speculative and literary science fiction formats of films like BLADE RUNNER, ROBOCOP either THE FUTURE AVENGER.
It all starts with a long and complicated explanation that puts us in context. It’s not really important to understand it well, but the main thing to keep in mind is that the Earth has been flooded by global warming, that almost all of humanity has moved into space stations, and that there began a war between two factions that have been fighting since. years ago with each other and that they also dispute the control of the old planet. It is a panorama close to that of TERMINATOR and here we get right into it, in the middle of the action, as we follow a very effective soldier called Jung_E (played by Kim Hyun-joo), who without a doubt kills all kinds of androids and strange creatures with wheels that they have in their sights.
But finally they kill her. Or well, not really, because right there we realize that what we saw is a simulation, a virtual battle between a robot prototype that is being tested to fight the rebel faction, and that those who created it are annoyed that , once again, has been defeated. This “perfect soldier” has a particularity: she has the “brain” of a real soldier named Yun Jung-yi who has been in a coma for 35 years after losing in the same battle that they are reproducing today and trying to overcome. They have taken the information from there and through a cloning/artificial intelligence process they incorporate it into an android that supposedly acts as she would. But the matter does not finish working as they want.
One of the main people in charge of the project is Yun Seo-hyun (actress Kang Soo-yeon, who passed away last May after finishing this shoot), a scientist who is none other than Jung-yi’s daughter. She is the one who has to supervise the “transfer” of her mother’s mind to these androids and try to understand what is wrong. It’s not her only problem. On the one hand, Seo-hyun is in delicate health and, on the other, she warns that the heads of the project may have other ideas and interests than hers. To this we must add another thing, perhaps the most important of all: her entire project brings her closer in some way to her mother, who has been in a coma since she was a child. Taking her back from her, even in this strange way, produces emotions and conflicts in Seo-hyun that she doesn’t quite know how to handle.
JUNG_E it exists at the end of the 22nd century, in a world where androids and robots mingle with humans (as in many science fiction movies, several characters do not imagine or suspect that they are actually androids), of chaotic futuristic cities with speeding transportation planes, an atmosphere of political conflicts linked to the constant wars and economic differences that define the possibilities of “eternal digital life” of people, in addition to personal interests at stake. But while Yeon will show his talent for action scenes in that first sequence and in a second, even longer and more spectacular one, which occupies the last 20-25 minutes of the film, the rest of the film will be closer to the human drama between a daughter and something that may or may not be her mother.
Beyond some humorous notes that don’t work entirely well (they are, anyway, a classic of Korean blockbusters and one already knows that they are inevitable), JUNG_E It is an intelligent and human perspective regarding the future and artificial intelligence, clearly indebted to the literature of Philip K. Dick. His commitment to focus on the personal side of the story does not affect the visual impact of the world that Yeon has created. It is a film with a spectacular production design and great action scenes that we will surely continue to see in sequels and more sequels. In that sense, JUNG_E It works as a starting point, as the elegant presentation of a universe that will be exploited over and over again throughout other films.
Online releases: review of “Jung_E”, by Yeon Sang-ho (Netflix) – Micropsia