‘Alienoid’ Review: Sorcerers, Alien Prisoners and Much, Much More
This Korean film starts in the 14th century with an alien creature trying to escape from the human body inside which it has been imprisoned. Thankfully, a hole in the sky opens and an SUV materializes, carrying the interstellar lawman Guard (Kim Woo-bin) and his robot sidekick.
And that’s just the first five minutes: The rest of Choi Dong-hoon’s movie then escalates into even more bananas territory.
Hopscotching between the present day and 1391, “Alienoid” somehow works a crystal thingumajig called the Divine Blade into its narrative, as well as car chases, aerial wire-aided fights, medieval gunslinging, time travel, magic battles and Transformers-like mayhem, with dashes of comedy and romance for good measure. This is the rare film that makes going off the plot rails wildly entertaining, even if every half-hour or so Choi drops an info dump to clarify (sort of) the story. Mostly, he stitches together scenes that are almost self-contained and powered by such memorable characters as the bounty-hunting rapscallion Muruk (Ryu Jun-yeol), Mr. Blue (Jo Woo-jin) and Madam Black (Yum Jung-ah), who go by the Sorcerers of Twin Peaks, and the badass Ean (Kim Tae-ri, in quite a switch from her turn in Park Chan-wook’s gothic thriller “The Handmaiden”)
The movie is bursting at the seams, as if Choi, in his first outing since the 2015 historical action drama “Assassination,” was drunk on pure filmmaking pleasure and threw every cinematic genre into a gigantic blender.
And there is more to come: as overstuffed as it is, “Alienoid” is only the first installment of a two-movie epic.
Not rated. In Korean, with subtitles. Running time: 2 hours 22 minutes. In theaters.