February 9, 2022 (2022)- Seobok: Project Clone (2021) Movie Review by Marc Zirogiannis
Seobok: Project Clone is a modern day Frankenstein story written and directed by Lee Yong Zoo. This compelling film is a blend of the science fiction, action, and drama genres. It is very good.
Train to Busan‘s Gong Yoo stars as a dying special agent enlisted to safely transport a new species of human-clone after a terrorist attack designed to eliminate it. This new species of human is played adeptly by Park Bo Gum. This new creation becomes the center of a battle between governments and scientists, as his potential for ending human death is considered.
While the film is definitively a Sci-Fi film, filled with great action and very good special effects, it is much more than that. This film is a dramatic look at moral issues that are as old as mankind itself- the questions of what it means to be human, and what is the bearable cost of the advancement of science. What does it mean to be human? Seobok manages to examine these questions in a way that does not preach to the viewer. The film entertains and evokes intellectual quandary. It is well done.
While there is a substantial cast, Gong Yoo and Park Bo Gum monopolize the majority of the screen time. Their relationship and their screen chemistry evolves over the course of the film and is the linchpin of the dramatic aspects of the story. I found myself really caring about their evolving and complex personal relationship. Is Gong Yoo’s life more valuable than Park Bo Gum’s because he was born and not made? What is the point at which life begins? What is the acceptable sacrifice society is willing to accept in the furtherance of perceived advancement? What happens when man plays God and loses control of his creations? All these questions are considered.
While the story is a modern day Frankenstein tale, it is not the story made famous by Boris Karloff in 1931. It is more akin to the character of the Mary Shelley novel that was brought into the world through science and struggled to understand his place in the world. That is Park Bo Gum’s Seobok.
A common theme in recent years in my reviews has been the elevation of South Korean cinema. Seobok: Project Clone is no exception. The film is well scripted. It is well Directed and well acted. The special effects and cinematography are as good as anything Hollywood has produced.
A former special agent (GONG Yoo) is called in for a secret mission: safely escort the world’s first human clone (PARK Bo Gum), whose body may hold the key to defeating death itself. But as the enemy closes in, the pair is forced to make an impossible choice.
Runtime: 114 min
Director: LEE Yong Zoo (Possessed),
GONG Yoo (Train to Busan, Squid Game),
PARK Bo Gum (Love in the Moonlight, Hello Monster),
JO Woo Jin (Steel Rain, The Book of Fish),
JANG Young Nam (It’s Okay to Not Be Okay, My Country: The New Age,)
PARK Byung Eun (Arthdal Chronicles, Mystery Queen, Your Honor).