An exciting sci-fi that falls flat
Jung_E is Netflix’s latest Korean film with a dystopian premise where humans are at war. With the Allied Forces and the Adrian Republic constantly at war, Kronoid devices Jung_E, an AI project of a super-soldier to end it. Captain Yun Jung-yi, an almost indestructible soldier who could even beat up robots when she was injured is the prototype.
A failed mission had lead to Yun going into a coma with her daughter leading a team years later to create an AI combat robot modelled after her. The Allied vs Adrian civil war would have been won had she completed her last mission, such was her power and it is now up to Kronoid to have the AI finish the mission she never did.
Jung_E gives viewers a new take on the humans vs robots scenario as several of the characters have cyborg-like qualities. And with it being an action movie, the well-choreographed action sequences are anything but boring – an aspect that film buffs especially love about Korean movies.
Shocking plot twist after plot twist keep viewers on their toes like the very first revelation that the Captain Yun we first see is not actually human and that she is being used as a model to create an AI who is as impervious and clever as her in warfare. The production is futuristic with a hint of nostalgia from old school stand fans to sky trains with 21st-century interiors hinting at the human race’s want to win the war and go back to the old days.
While we see her daughter, team leader Yun Seo-hyun doing her best to greenlight the Jung_E project and make it a success, the main focus is on Captain Yun and how she was when she was alive and her AI who acts and feels like humans do. It’s like the writers want us to root for her and Kim Hyun-joo does a remarkable job of portraying such a complex character despite her limited screen time.
We also get multi-dimensional characters from the quiet leader Yun Seo-hyun who has some tricks up her sleeves, played by the late Kang Soo-yeon to the mysterious director Kim portrayed by Ryu Kyung-soo. Along with them, we have the maddeningly charming cameo by Uhm Ji-won as production head, Lee Se-yeon who makes you wonder if she will be the bad guy.
But it is a shame to see Kang Soo-yeon’s last role wasted on the prudent Seo-hyun who could have been better explored especially with the fact that she is such a dynamic character’s daughter. However, she is made into a sad and sulky character whose only purpose in life is to perfect her mother’s AI. Instead, Ryu Kyung-soo is given more space to explore as the grey character Kim from being the funny guy who acts as the comic relief to pulling his weight when he needs to with suspicious motives.
Additionally, the world-building of Jung_E has too many facets being explained at the same time, making it confusing for those who watch it for the first time. Too many storylines mess up the pacing making us wonder just how exciting they could have been if Jung_E would have instead been made into a TV show. It also makes the other characters’ arcs uninteresting as we would rather watch the AI of Captain Yun and cheer for her.
Jung_E also has us waiting for something big and climactic but it never appears. Viewers expect the Jung_E project to culminate into something explosive but the way it progresses is anything but satisfactory as this exciting premise with much potential falls flat in the second half as you keep waiting for the conflict only to realise the movie is almost coming to an end.
Read More: Jung_E Ending Explained