Alienoid Return To The Future Poster

Alienoid: Return to the Future (2024) Review

Filmed back to back with 2022’s Alienoid, Alienoid: Return to the Future, (외계+인 2부), isn’t really a sequel, it’s the second half of what was always intended to be a two part film. For those that haven’t seen the first film, this does begin with a recap that will give you an idea of what’s going on, but I’d recommend seeing the original, it’s a lot of fun, and you’ll get the full story.

As the film begins, Lee Ahn (Kim Tae-ri, The Handmaiden, Space Sweepers) after being trapped in the Goryeo Dynasty for ten years, has gotten her hand on The Divine Blade. The problem is, she’s still trapped in the past and needs to get back to 2022 so she can use it to stop The Controller’s plan to take over Earth. But to do that, she first needs to find Thunder/Guard (Kim Woo-bin, Vampire Idol, The Con Artists).

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Muruk (Ryu Jun-Yeol, The Battle: Roar to Victory, The Night Owl) is also back, and trying to come to grips with what happened to him the night Lee Ahn arrived in his century. He has some help from Right Paw (Shin Jung-geun, Howling, Steel Rain 2) and Left Paw (Lee Si-hoon, Parasite, All of Us Are Dead) who have traded their feline forms for human ones.

Despite its title, most of Alienoid: Return to the Future takes place in the past, with much of the cast from the first film making a return. Writer/director Dong-hoon Choi (The Big Swindle, Assassination) stages several action scenes as well as revealing a few rather surprising revelations before returning to 2022 for the last forty-five minutes or so of the film.

Min Gae-in (Lee Hanee, Don’t Look Back: The Legend of Orpheus, Black Money) plays a major part in that showdown, her character being considerably more than the comic relief she was the first time around.

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It’s actually rather impressive that anyone’s character is among the final act’s mayhem. By the time it’s over we have swords, sorcery, alien monsters and one of the most spectacular train wrecks I’ve seen in a long time. It’s an impressive and imaginative burst of almost non-stop action.

The effects are all CGI, but for once they don’t disappoint. While I’m sure the budget for both films combined probably falls well short of what it would cost to shoot them in Hollywood, Alienoid: Return to the Future obviously had a high budget by Korean standards. Not just the effects but the sets, costumes, etc. all look great.

But it’s not just the effects that look great. The sets, costumes and weapons for the scenes set in the 1300s all look great as well. While I’m sure the budget for both films combined probably falls well short of what it would cost to shoot them in Hollywood, Alienoid: Return to the Future obviously had a high budget by Korean standards

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I did find the final battle’s effect was somewhat dampened by a wrap up that felt overly sentimental and a bit sappy at times. Granted, I’m sure plenty of viewers will have a different opinion, but it felt a bit overdone to me.

But apart from that, there really isn’t much to complain about. There’s plenty of action, interesting, if not always fully realized, characters and the annoying comic relief is kept to a minimum. As a result, Alienoid: Return to the Future seems to go by almost too quick, despite running just over two hours.

Alienoid: Return to the Future was released in Korean theatres on January 10th. Well Go USA will release it to North American theatres on January 26th.

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