There’s no shortage of things to watch these days, whether it’s new movies back in theaters or new series available on a cornucopia of streaming services, but here’s one more to add to your list: Alienoid. It’s a wild action-adventure through time and space, from the late 14th century to the present, featuring aliens and robots and magic.
Alienoid debuts on December 6 on digital, DVD, and Blu-Ray from Well Go USA Entertainment, and will also appear on the martial arts streaming channel Hi-YAH! starting December 23. It was directed by Choi Dong-hoon and has a run time of 2 hours, 22 minutes; it’s a South Korean film and does not currently have an MPAA rating, though I would probably give it about a PG-13 based on some of the violence and creepy spear tentacles. (Uh, more on that later.) The film is in Korean, with subtitles, though the DVD/Blu-Ray will include an English dub, as well as “making of” bonus features. I was provided with a screener link to watch the film and thoroughly enjoyed it.
So, what’s it about? Well, the movie takes place in Korea primarily in two different times, the present day and the year 1391. In the past, there are various characters searching for the mysterious Divine Blade, including a dosa named Muruk who has some remarkable powers as well as “The Girl Who Shoots Thunder” who, oddly enough, is packing a pistol. In the present, a robot named Guard (who can take on a human likeness) is tasked with overseeing aliens who are imprisoned inside human minds. Occasionally these aliens remember who they are and break out, though they cannot survive for long in Earth’s atmosphere. Guard and his robot companion Thunder have the ability to travel through time, which brings these two plot lines crashing together.
I wasn’t familiar with any of these actors before, but they do a great job with their roles. The movie often jumps between intense action scenes with serious drama and goofy, slapstick humor—that may be a bit jarring to Western audiences, but it reminded me of watching old kung fu films, which often have a heavy dose of silliness mixed in with the action. Kim Tae-ri is generally pretty serious as Ean and serves as a good straight man for Ryu Jun-yeol, who plays Muruk. He’s a magician of sorts, though it quickly becomes clear that he hasn’t really trained to master his abilities—he just sort of has them, and bumbles his way through with an oversized confidence.
Another serious-silly pairing is in Guard and Thunder, his droid companion. Guard switches between a CGI robot form and a human disguise, played by Kim Woo-bin with extreme seriousness. Thunder usually appears as a small floating droid voiced by Kim Dae-myung, but when he takes on human form he’s played by… Kim Woo-bin again. The two versions of Woo-bin playing against each other are terrific, as both attempt to pass as humans but are clearly not so versed in human interactions.
The story is wild and seems to be going all over the place, but the film does a good job of eventually tying together a lot of the strands and bringing them together. Sure, there’s a good bit of implausible science and hand-wavy explanations (why did the aliens think using people’s brains as prisons was a more humane option?), but you kind of expect a bit of that from a sci-fi movie. The combination of sci-fi with wire-fu, people who can leap into the air and run along rooftops, was an unexpected delight, though. You just never really knew what to expect next, though near the end you do start to see how the pieces are starting to fit together.
It’s not really the end, though: Alienoid is just the first of two parts. It closes on a bit of a cliffhanger, so I’ll have to wait until the second part drops to see if the apparent explanation is true or not.
I didn’t watch the screener with my kids since I wanted to check it out myself first, but I’d say it’s comparable to one of the Marvel movies in terms of content. There are lots of fight scenes, from hand-to-hand combat to flying spaceships with lasers. There’s not too much gore for the most part, though there are a lot of deaths or implied deaths. Probably the creepiest parts are the spear tentacles (which you can see in the trailer below), though they’re not actually slashing people for the most part.
If you’re looking for a movie that’s out of the ordinary with lots of action and some off-beat humor, check out Alienoid when it releases next week!
You can watch the trailer here: