Save The Green Planet! : Oh, those Krazy Koreans!
Considering that the last Korean movie I saw was "Oldboy," I'm a little worried that my perception of what I'm sure is a fine country is going to be skewed by their bizarre cinema. I mean, this is a weird movie.
The weirdness starts with our protagonist (he's most definitely not a hero, except perhaps in his own mind), Byung-Gu Lee (Shin Ha-Kyun), an insane young man who believes it is his destiny to defeat the upcoming invasion of aliens from the planet Andromeda. It is because of this mission that the film opens with Byung-Gu, assisted by his child-like acrobat girlfriend Sunni (Hyang Jeong-Min), kidnapping the head of a chemical company named Man-Shik Kang who he believes to be a leader of the aliens. He proceeds to torture Mr.Kang in order to force him to admit to being an alien. Meanwhile two detectives, one old, cynical and disgraced (Jae-Yong Lee) the other a young hotshot (Ju-hyeon Lee), are trying to capture Byung-Gu .
This film does a remarkable job making Byung-Gu seem sympathetic, even though he is essentially the bad guy (what else can you call someone who has tortured to death 12 people before he kidnaps Mr. Kang?). A combination of his actor's charisma, the character's tragic backstory (his mother is in a coma and a previous girlfriend are dead, both because of Mr. Kang), and his insanity however often makes you forget that, and you find yourself rooting for the deranged psychopath.
The film is also remarkable for keeping you guessing as to whether or not Byung-Gu is insane or actually right. Is he deluding himself into thinking that everyone who has ever hurt him was actually an alien--or i there a grain of truth to it? This is complicated by Mr. Kang admitting to being an alien late in the film, but it is unclear whether he does it to distract Byung-Gu enough to escape or whether he's actually telling the truth.
However, this film is also quite gory. The tortures Byung-Gu inflicts are quite explicit, and while we don't always see everything, what is happening is usually fairly clear. If you are easily disturbed, this may not be the film for you. I also found the ending to be a bit out of left field, seemingly coming from a different film (I believe this was the intent, but it didn't quite work for me).
All in all this was a strange but fascinating film. Pick it up if you like weird and morally grey adventures.
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