Seobok: Project Clone (2022) 

Seo Bok is a first in human cloning and presents incredible possibilities for the human race. As he’s being transported to a new location with a former special forces agent, they become the targets of people with less-than-ideal plans for him. 

Written and directed by Lee Yong-ju, this Korean tale of cloning is much more about the human factor than the science fiction in its concept. Here, the scifi element is but the background to a story of humanity, legacy, and ethics. The film builds around its central characters which are not just the titular Seo Bok, but also Ki Heon, who may very well be the main character through the majority of the film, giving time to Seo Bok and giving him importance by his own being there and his reactions to the situation. The film here is very well written and gives more than the usual simple cloning questions with simpler answers. Yes, some of the things here are very much “us against them”, but not all the characters are so entrenched in their ideas. The film makes strong points that, while a bit predictable in some cases, are important in its universe and ours. There is a lot to be explored here and it almost feels like the film could be part of more, but is satisfied with this glimpse in its own world. 

Leading the cast here as Ki Heon and Seo Bok are Gong Yoo and Park Bo-Gum does work here that is both restrained and explosive at times, they understand and show the emotional balance needed to pull such a film off and that their characters have to be multi-dimensional to work. Their work together is something that work in a great team kind of way. Of course, Seo Bok has a bit of a stunted emotional growth as the viewer and Ki Heon meet him, he’s been lab-grown and educated, but he becomes much more than that and within a child-like spirit of discovery, he becomes much more than “just another clone”. Park Bo-Gum pulls this off beautifully. Gong Yoo also has an emotional arc here as his character discovers the world in a different way through Seo Bok. His work is more varied in terms of emotional range and it gives the film an almost everyday man to rely on as a sort of barometer for the viewer. These two serve the film so well, they almost eclipse the rest of the cast completely. 

The film here also boasts a great cinematography by Mo-gae Lee shows that scifi, action, and drama all deserve a careful and attentive lens. Here the film looks stunning at times with scenes that are right out of post cards for the Korean countryside and waterside. The film also makes the most of the science facilities it has to create the counterbalance to the nature elements and city elements when the two leads are out. There are two worlds here, that of the science and that of the drama. The two meet in the middle somewhere and become more than the sum of their beings. There is something in the way the images present each world coming together that gives them each a look, but also connects them. 

Seobok: Project Clone is a beautiful scifi film that brings ideas that once were so far-fetch and now are a bit closer to reality that is does the right thing by asking the questions it does. Here, the scientists decided that is it wasn’t because they shouldn’t that they didn’t. Here, everything is done in the name of science and greed, greed for money, for health, for youth, for knowledge. There is much more here than the story of a clone finding himself and wanting more out of life, yet that is the part of the story that resonates the most.