Alienoid: Return to the Future

Italian Premiere | In Competition


Guest star:
KIM CHOI Dong-hoon, director 
AHN Soo-hyun, producer


It’s hard to introduce Alienoid: Return to the Future without giving away some of the major reveals of the first film, so I’m going to skip the plot intro. Readers looking for a more detailed overview of the story’s basic setup can refer to the review of Alienoid.

Alienoid: Return to the Future picks up right where the previous film left off, with a wide array of characters in the 14th century desperately trying to get their hands on the socalled “divine blade,” while Earth in the 21st century faces a crisis due to an outbreak of alien prisoners. Part two features the same basic group of characters, except that Lee Hanee’s character Min Gaelin, who appeared rather briefly in the first film, comes to play a major role as the story develops further. We are also introduced to a new character in the 14th century – a blind swordsman played by acclaimed character actor Jin Seon-kyu.

Alienoid’s diverse characters and great casting are a big part of its appeal. Of particular note is Ryu Jun-yeol (The Night Owl), an effortlessly charismatic actor who has a gift for comic timing, and injects a great dose of appeal to the character of Muruk. No less impressive is Kim Tae-ri (The Handmaiden, Little Forest), whose dynamism and energy easily carry the scenes she is in. And although humor is spread throughout the film, the teamwork of actors Yum Jung-ah and Jo Woo-jin as Madam Black and Mr. Blue, the so-called “Sorcerers of Twin Peaks,” result in some of the film’s funniest scenes. Lastly, a story like this also needs a great villain, and Kim Eui-sung (Train to Busan) makes a particular impression, communicating as much menace with his eyes as there is in the CGI-generated transformations in his body.

Speaking of CGI, the technical team behind Alienoid were faced with a particularly challenging task in bringing to life all of the various aliens, robots, sorcery and explosions that make up this unusual story. They should be proud of what they accomplished here, because on a big screen there is a truly impressive sense of scale and spectacle that this film achieves.

This two-part work was conceived at the very height of Korean cinema’s boom years, and in terms of sheer ambition it has few equals. Now that the Korean film industry has entered into a more uncertain and troubled era, it’s almost inconceivable that a movie of this scale and imaginative daring might succeed in getting financed. Often films end up getting judged by their box office performance, but Alienoid and Alienoid: Return to the Future deserve to be remembered as a daring and inspired moonshot that is surprising, unique, and entertaining through and through.

Darcy Paquet
Film director: CHOI Dong-hoon
Year: 2024
Running time: 122'
Country: South Korea
29/04 - 2:30 PM
Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da Udine
29-04-2024 14:30 29-04-2024 16:32Europe/Rome Alienoid: Return to the Future Far East Film Festival Teatro Nuovo Giovanni da UdineCEC Udine
Online in Italy until the end of the Festival