Director Yeon Sang-ho, who helmed the popular film "Train to Busan," takes a stab at sci-fi action flicks with deep philosophical underpinnings in his latest project, "Jung_E," now available on Netflix. While his skill with set-pieces remains evident, the bloated and overlong center of the film doesn't quite work. Rather than embedding the film's themes in an interesting story, too much time is spent discussing them. The opening action sequence and the last 15 minutes are thrilling, but almost everything in between fails to hold one's attention.
The film is set in 2194, and after making the planet uninhabitable, humanity has resorted to living in man-made shelters. Three factions of humanity are at war, a battle once led by the formidable soldier Yun Jung-yi (Kim Hyun-joo). In this vision of the future, consciousness can be downloaded into A.I., and a team of experts are attempting to do just that with Yun's expertise. The goal is to turn her into a killing machine named Jung_E to win the war.
Seohyun (Kang Soo-yeon, to whom the film is dedicated), Yun's daughter, leads the project. She's motivated to save her mother's consciousness and overcome what killed her. She's balanced by the more detached and cynical Sang-Hoon (Ryu Kyung-soo of "Hellbound"), who is concerned with the project's clinical aspects and the government's possible interference.
While the film does play with some interesting ethical ideas, it becomes too talky and lacks the emotional and philosophical heft needed for a film like this. The repeated conversations between Sang-Hoon and Seohyun, discussing how to fix the project, make it feel confined to research chambers for too long. The action sequences, especially one on a speeding train, are excellent and make one wish they had been spread throughout the film.
Overall, "Jung_E" feels like a promising start of a movie or the first episode of a TV show, rather than a satisfying project on its own terms. Nevertheless, the film sets up a vision of the future that could support more ambitious storytelling in a sequel. Perhaps one with zombies.Director Yeon Sang-ho's latest film "Jung_E," now streaming on Netflix, takes a stab at the sci-fi action genre with a philosophical twist. In this film, the director behind the zombie hit "Train to Busan" and the supernatural series "Hellbound" explores what it means to be human in a world where consciousness can be downloaded into artificial intelligence.
The movie is set in 2194, a time when humanity has long made the planet uninhabitable and has retreated to man-made shelters. Three factions of humanity are at war, a battle once led by the skilled soldier Yun Jung-yi (Kim Hyun-joo). In an effort to win the war, a team of experts is trying to turn Yun's expertise into a killing machine named Jung_E by downloading her consciousness into A.I.
Leading the project is Seohyun (the late Kang Soo-yeon), Yun's daughter, who has a personal stake in the project. She wants to save her mother's consciousness and overcome the event that killed her. However, Sang-Hoon (Ryu Kyung-soo), a more clinical member of the team, is concerned about the government shutting the project down rather than pushing any moral boundaries.
While the film's opening action sequence shows off its genre chops, the rest of "Jung_E" suffers from a bloated and overlong center. Too much of the film is spent discussing its themes rather than embedding them in an interesting story. The ethical ideas that the film plays with are intriguing, such as the revelation that economic inequity continues to exist even after death. But the film gets too talky, lacking the emotional and philosophical heft that a film like this needs.
The action sequences that explode towards the end of the film, including an exciting sequence on a speeding train, make the viewer wish they had been spread out more evenly throughout the film. Ultimately, "Jung_E" feels like a movie made by a talented director who didn't have enough ideas to fill the 99-minute runtime. It sets up a vision of the future that could support richer and more ambitious storytelling in a sequel, perhaps with zombies. But on its own terms, "Jung_E" falls short of being a satisfying project.
The film "Jung_E," now available on Netflix, is director Yeon Sang-ho's attempt at blending sci-fi action with philosophical underpinnings about humanity. Although he showcases his skills with set-pieces and action sequences, Yeon struggles to keep the bloated and overlong center of the film engaging, resulting in a movie that spends too much time discussing its themes instead of embedding them in an interesting story.
The movie opens with a crawl that establishes the setting as the year 2194, long after humanity has made the planet uninhabitable and created man-made shelters to house the remaining factions. These factions are at war with one another, led by an incredible soldier named Yun Jung-yi (Kim Hyun-joo). In this future, consciousness can be downloaded into A.I., and a team of experts are trying to create a killing machine named Jung_E by downloading Yun's expertise into an A.I. system. However, they keep failing as they attempt to recreate the day Yun died in combat, hoping to map her brain in a way that gets past that fateful event and makes her unstoppable.
The project is led by Seohyun (the late Kang Soo-yeon, to whom the film is dedicated), Yun's daughter, who has a personal connection to the project. She is trying to save not only her mother's consciousness but also to overcome that which killed her. She is balanced by the more aloof and cynical Sang-Hoon (Ryu Kyung-soo of "Hellbound"), who sees the project in more clinical terms and is worried more about the government shutting it down than any moral boundaries being pushed.
Although the film raises interesting ethical ideas, such as economic inequity even after death, "Jung_E" becomes too talky and spends too much time spinning its wheels, lacking the emotional and philosophical heft a movie like this needs to be confined to research chambers for so long. The film explodes into a few action sequences, including an excellent one on a speeding train in the climax, but they are too few and far between. In the end, "Jung_E" feels like a movie made by a talented director who didn't quite have enough ideas to fill its 99-minute runtime. It sets up a vision of the future that could support richer, more ambitious storytelling in a sequel, but on its own terms, it falls short of being a satisfying project.
Director: Yeon Sang-ho
Screenplay: Yeon Sang-ho
There are no comments for this story
Be the first to respond and start the conversation.