(Movie Review) Action-Packed Fantasy Entertainment With Good Humor: ‘Alienoid’

SEOUL, July 14 (Yonhap) — Just like “Jeon Woochi,” “Alienoid” is a 2009 action-fantasy film based on traditional Korean fairy tales about Taoist magic directed by famous director Choi Dong-hoon.

This time, Choi, one of the most bankable filmmakers at the South Korean box office, best known for “Tazza: The High Rollers” (2006), “The Thieves” (2012) and “Assassination” (2015), combines its familiar setting with sci-fi elements, like aliens, robots, and spacecraft.

The film begins as Guard (Kim Woo-bin), an alien tasked with managing alien prisoners confined in mortal human brains on present-day Earth, arrests prison breakers with fellow robotic Thunder.

He bends time and space to perform his duties but never interferes in human affairs.

While catching the seventh and final alien escapee in the 14th century, Thunder returns to the 21st century with a human baby from a victim of the alien criminal, causing a small crack in the space-time system.

About 10 years later, his planet sends a group of convicts, including the leader of a coup, to Earth, and Guard imprisons them in human brains.

Soon, the criminal boss, referred to as “Architect”, and his followers break through their human prison, while Guard and Thunder attempt to return the prisoners to the mortal body.

But due to the surprisingly strong clash between alien forces on Earth, the portal that connects the 14th and 21st centuries opens.

In the 14th century, during the Goryeo dynasty (918-1392), a group of Taoist magicians, including Ja-jang (Kim Eui-sung), a masked man who leads a secret gang, search for a legendary divine sword.

Mureuk (Ryu Jun-yeol), a clumsy martial artist, encounters a mysterious woman named Lee Ahn (Kim Tae-ri), who uses a gun, when he searches for the sword.

Throughout the 142 minute runtime, “Alienoid” continues to swing back and forth from the present to the past. And it features creatively over-the-top martial arts action and choreographed gunfire, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats.

Its computer-generated visual effects create the spaceship, robots, aliens, and laser beams in a realistic and dramatic way typically seen in Hollywood blockbusters.

The star-studded cast also plays a part in the multi-genre, time-traveling film.

Ryu Jun-yeol and Kim Tae-ri show off high-profile action scenes and create great on-screen chemistry, while Kim Woo-bin, who makes his big-screen debut after crime film “Master” by 2016, doubles as Callous and Coldhearted and Kind and Kind Thunder.

But the story seems cut and dried. Like many works of science fiction, “Alienoid” basically follows the story of the arrival of extraterrestrials which poses a serious danger to the human world, while some robots and computer programs which close in on their human friends make irrational and emotional choices.

And “Alienoid” isn’t the end of the story director Choi wants to tell. Its second part is coming next year.

“Alienoid” hits local theaters next Wednesday.