‘Alienoid’ Delivers Laughs and Big Action/Sci-Fi Fun

Aliens, robots, time journey, wuxia, magical cats, and extra make up this South Korean Blockbuster.

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a fan in Alienoid

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By Rob Hunter · Published on August twenty sixth, 2022

Big, blockbuster cinema is considered by many as belonging solely to Hollywood studios and recognizable franchises, however filmmakers around the globe have proved that principle mistaken time and again. This yr alone has already seen the wild success of India’s spectacular RRR, and now South Korea is leaping into the world with Alienoid. It’s an enormous, dense, high-energy mix of motion, sci-fi, and comedy with half its operating time set within the 14th century. It strikes quick, even at over two hours lengthy, and it’s assured to depart you prepared for the sequel due subsequent yr.

You don’t anticipate to see an SUV barreling by way of shacks throughout Korea’s Goryeo Dynasty within the yr 1391, however issues solely get wilder from there. It appears an intergalactic warfare between species past our creativeness has resulted in prisoners being secured inside human our bodies. The people don’t know and go on residing their lives, however once they die the alien prisoner does too. An artificial humanoid named Guard (Kim Woo-bin) and his reworking sidekick Thunder (additionally Kim in human kind, however in any other case voiced by Kim Dae-myung) are stationed on Earth and tasked with overseeing new prisoner drop offs and stopping escapes. The pair can journey by way of time utilizing a magical dagger, and a visit from the current to the 14th century sees them return with an toddler in any other case left for lifeless — a alternative that kicks off the motion each from time to time.

Writer/director Choi Dong-hoon is comfortably at dwelling with large, fast-moving tales populated by enjoyable, shifty characters, and Alienoid is not any totally different — apart from being his greatest movie but. Humor performs an enormous function in practically all of his movies (Tazza: The High Rollers, 2006; Woochi: The Demon Slayer, 2009; The Thieves, 2012), so it’s no shock that his newest delivers some large laughs alongside the best way. Fans of 2015’s wonderful and extra critical Assassination gained’t be disillusioned, although, as its sturdy ensemble, implausible motion, and complex construction are equally current right here.

The movie strikes between the 2 intervals with two seemingly totally different story threads, however all of it’s destined to tie collectively. Guard and Thunder are coping with a messy prisoner drop off within the current, one which catches the eye of their now pre-teen “daughter” Ean (Choi Yu-ri), and that results in explosive carnage by way of town streets. The story unfolding six centuries earlier (concurrently?) sees a magical bounty hunter named Muruk (Ryu Jun-yeol) trying to find the Divine Blade, however he’s not the one one. He’s joined by a pair of cats who reside in a hand fan and switch into people (don’t ask) and competing with a number of others. One is a vicious, masked madman named Jajang (Kim Eui-sung), there’s a pair of magically mischievous inventors referred to as Madam Black (Yum Jung-ah) and Mr. Blue (Jo Woo-jin), after which there’s a younger lady recognized solely as The Girl Who Shoots Thunder (Kim Tae-ri) — as a result of she’s carrying a semi-automatic pistol.

There’s lots to digest in Alienoid, clearly, however fortunately it’s made simpler for viewers in two methods. First, the quite a few plot specifics and relationships are much less vital than what you’ll intuitively choose up about all of it. And second, Choi excels at juggling the characters, story particulars, and dramatic beats in extremely entertaining methods. It’s only a enjoyable time watching the characters work together and banter earlier than, throughout, and after the movie’s multitude of motion sequences.

To that time, whereas laughs and motion spill by way of each time intervals, every has a distinct precedence with diversified success. The current is crammed with extra and larger set-pieces as alien crafts dogfight over metropolis streets inflicting large harm to surrounding buildings. Fighting continues on the bottom as Guard faces off towards the alien customer intent on liberating a selected prisoner, and it comes alive by way of gun play, fisticuffs, and a Marvel movie’s price of CG. It’s all strong sufficient, however Guard’s flat have an effect on and the abundance of CG makes it tougher for viewers to develop connected on the character entrance.

There’s no such drawback with Alienoid‘s 14th century scenes, though. The action is a mix of more grounded fights and wuxia-inspired, gravity defying antics, all of which thrill. But it’s right here the place Choi’s eye and ear for comedy and character completely shine. Ryu is extremely charismatic and really humorous because the beginner however extremely proficient dosa (magician) who stumbles into the plot unintentionally. From his bodily mannerisms to his line supply he’s the comedian middle of the movie. Close behind him, although, is the Black & Blue pairing — siblings? romantic couple? Business companions? — who steal each certainly one of their scenes whether or not they’re hawking magical innovations like Hoyt Axton in Gremlins or utilizing their mystical chops in fight.

If there’s a much bigger sense of disjointedness in Alienoid it’s within the movie’s cliffhanger ending. It’s by design, and the sequel is already in post-production with a launch scheduled for subsequent yr, however it nonetheless leaves the narrative incomplete in a really direct method. That stated, there’s no doubting you’ll be happy spending each your Money and time watching this one. It’s large, enjoyable world-building with motion that excites, laughs that land, a rating that compels, and characters you care about. Most Hollywood blockbusters needs to be so fortunate.

Related Topics: South Korea

Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since earlier than you have been born, which is bizarre seeing as he is so rattling younger. He’s our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists ‘Broadcast News’ as his favourite movie of all time. Feel free to say hello if you happen to see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.

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