The Korea Herald


[Herald Review] All riddles solved in ‘Alienoid Part 2,’ but movie still a muddle

‘Alienoid Part 2’ ending reminiscent of MCU’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’

By Kim Da-sol

Published : Jan. 9, 2024 - 14:59

    • Link copied

“Alienoid Part 2” (CJENM) “Alienoid Part 2” (CJENM)

Putting the disgraceful performance at the box office of “Alienoid Part 1” behind him, renowned moviemaker Choi Dong-hoon returned with the second part to the Korean sci-fi flick that combines Korean folklore, a year and six months after the first part released in theaters.

“Alienoid Part 2” continues to tell the story of magician-like gurus, or “dosa” in Korean, from the late Goryeo Kingdom and their connection to aliens, robots and humans living in 2022. While the first part was all about the introduction to numerous characters living in various times, with a whole lot of back and forth, the second part is devoted to weaving together the stories of the characters and the overall worldview. The running time is 20 minutes shorter this time -- the 142-minute-long first part was criticized for being too long as well as being all over the place.

“Alienoid Part 2” (CJENM) “Alienoid Part 2” (CJENM)

The film begins with a short summary of the first part, which clearly shows the director's intention to invite even those who did not catch the first part to jump straight into the story.

Lee Ahn (Kim Tae-ri) accidentally falls into the time frame of the late Goryeo Kingdom, and all she needs to do to come back to 2022 is to find the divine sword, which happens to also be sought by several different stakeholders – Mureuk (Ryu Joon-yeol), aliens, Goryeo gurus and the masked man Ja-jang (Kim Eui-sung) who is bathed in dark power – for different reasons.

Choi’s riddlelike worldview in “Alienoid” does become a bit clearer in part two, with a significant twist unveiled through the relationship of Lee Ahn and Mureuk, but the audience is still left lost after so many characters across different time frames appear.

Although it is understandable why the director put public officer Min Gae-in (Lee Ha-nee) and Neung-pa (Jin Seon-kyu) into the story, the overall plot without these two characters also sounds all right, in terms of both their significance and screen time.

Choi's hit action crime flick “The Thieves” (2012) was popular for its bevy of characters, featuring 10 protagonists in a single plot.

However, the eight characters in “Alienoid Part 2” seem like they were just needed for the grandiose ending scene when all of them assemble with weapons of all sorts in hand in front of evil aliens to prevent them from destroying Earth – reminiscent of the Marvel heroes gathering to stop the world-ending disaster in the similarly two-part “Avengers: Endgame.”

A whopping 70 billion won has been put into the 13-month production that wrapped in 2021, and the computer graphics and video effects used in the film clearly show where Korea’s sci-fi blockbuster techniques stand. The film is worth watching on a large screen with a great sound system. Consider watching it at an Imax theater.

The movie’s breakeven point is 7.3 million admissions. The first part managed to attract only 1.5 million cinemagoers.

“Alienoid Part 2” hits local theaters Wednesday.