Alienoid is a sci-fi/fantasy adventure in which an alien race uses humans as hosts to imprison their criminals. The host is unaware of the prisoner’s presence. If the prisoner awakens from stasis, they can highjack the human body for a time and even take a temporarily corporeal form. The Divine Blade is a legendary spear for both humans and aliens – it possesses the ability to awaken alien prisoners and allows the wielder to travel though time. The Controller is the leader of the imprisoned beings. His faction discovers his location and will stop at nothing to release him. No matter the era, this battle between humans, machines, and aliens rages on for 600+ years and if the android team of Guard (Kim Woo-bin) and Thunder (Kim Dae-myung) can’t stop these aliens now, their terror will be felt throughout all time.
Dong-hoon Choi directed and wrote this wildly imaginative story. Somehow, he blends feudal Korea’s aesthetic, futuristic alien technology and the modern world all into one successful singular vision. Granted, the CGI works at drastically varying levels of success. During the hospital sequence, an alien monolith imprisons several prisoners within the visitor, patients, and staff by way of a pointed tentacle. The design and quality of this tentacle matches that of Scorpion’s harpoon from Mortal Kombat (1995). Similarly, the robot design in this movie looks like a rip-off of Pokémon’s Deoxys, Japan’s Guyver, and even EVE from Pixar’s Wall-e.
It’s probably best not to get caught up on the narrative or the rules of Alienoid for too long because the logic will quickly collapse in on itself. For example, people in feudal Korea inexplicably can move as if they were in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Alienoid is a cross between a whimsical episode of Doctor Who and the melodrama of K-Dramas. This movie is much like these television series for another reason. Yes, Alienoid ends with a “to be continued” title card. I respect Choi’s ambition to make more of these movies. And if the next installment(s) are as entertaining as this one, then people might not mind the thin narrative all that much. However, given how vast this story is, Choi should have perhaps considered wrapping up one of the plot points rather than leaving viewers with a gaping question mark.
The humor is another aspect of this movie that’s hard to argue with. I didn’t expect Alienoid to be as comedic or epic as it was given the serious trailer, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Alienoid is colorful, silly, and at times outrageous, yet Choi’s vision seems completely intact. If you’re intrigued by the trailer and can keep an open mind to all the things mentioned above, Alienoid is sure to entertain despite not actually telling a complete or fully coherent story.
Alienoid is out on Digital, Blu-ray, and DVD December 6.
Additional Comments: Bonus features include the theatrical trailer, a behind the scenes sizzle real, and character trailers.
The writer of this piece is: Laurence Almalvez
Laurence tweets from @IL1511