Netflix has a long history of hit or miss original movies. At the beginning of 2021, it was announced that they would be releasing over 70 original movies by the end of the year.  While off to a rocky start, there are sure to be a few hidden treasures. 

The latest Netflix original release of the week was “Space Sweepers” — originally titled Seungriho. “Space Sweepers” is a Korean film that follows the crew of a ship tasked with collecting space junk. One day, while out on their usual patrol, they come across a little girl who needs protection from a world corporation trying to capture her and an adventure ensues. 

While watching “Space Sweepers,” it is impossible to ignore the heavy, and oftentimes obvious, similarities the movie has with other iconic films of the same genre. Most notably, the film’s likeness to “Guardians of the Galaxy” (2014) and science fiction director Neill Blomkamp’s filmography. 

The theme of a misfit crew coming together as a family is a movie trope at this point. “Space Sweepers” takes its themes and character types straight out of “Guardians of the Galaxy” in a way most moviegoers will instantly recognize. 

The film’s core design for robots and artificial intelligence also felt familiar. Many of the designs looked like they were pulled straight out of Blomkamp’s most well known work, “Chappie” (2015) and “District 9” (2009).

However, inspiration only becomes detrimental to a film’s reception when it is blatant copying. Because “Space Sweepers” does plenty on its own to differentiate itself from these films, I had no problem with how it was influenced by films that came before it. If you are looking for a large-scale space adventure with a lot of heart, “Space Sweepers” is a great choice.

“This film was more of a showcase of the state-of-the-art visual effects in Korean cinema than anything else. It was proof positive that they can now match Hollywood in creating the cinematic illusion of adventures set in outer space for the big screen,” said film reviewer Fred Hawson from ABSCBN.

It has top notch special effects that one would expect from the latest Marvel movie while also maintaining an easy to love cast of characters.

“It’s a breezy bit of escapism with some social commentary baked in, but it’s the spectacle and whiz-bang that’s on the front burner. Even as he gleefully reshuffles familiar elements from a variety of sources, director Jo has created a fascinating science fiction tableau that feels both original and inviting,” said film reviewer Zaki Hasan from IGN.

Most of the scenes in this film are a thrilling presentation that will keep your eyes glued to the screen. This film is an example of a good Netflix film; however, I would not say that for the first few weeks of Netflix original films.

The first Netflix original this year was titled “Outside the Wire,” starring Anthony Mackie. The movie was a flop. While Mackie might be a good actor, nothing could save the mind numbing action and unthoughtful writing. Star value does not always add up to a good movie and the proof is in the movie.

Italian film, “The Last Paradiso,” premiered on Netflix as the second original of the year. The movie was criticised for taking its romance plot so seriously that it became unintentionally humorous. 

“SKIP IT. The Last Paradiso is reasonably enjoyable in the way it’s pokerfaced drama teeters into comedy,” said John Serba from Decider

Only time will tell if Netflix’s movie-a-week plan will net them the subscribers they are looking for. So far, the films have been pretty hit or miss. 

This week’s new original movie is “To All the Boys: Always and Forever.” While guaranteed not to be a cinematic masterpiece, if it’s anything like the first two, I am sure I’ll be adding it to my guilty pleasure list.