Eun-Jung HaYoung-Geun Hong
Invasion of Alien Bikini
Medium: film
Year: 2011
Director: Young-doo Oh
Language: Korean
Country: South Korea
Keywords: SF, low-budget
Actor: Eun-Jung Ha, Young-Geun Hong
Format: 75 minutes
Website category: Asian
Review date: 8 October 2012
Disappointing. It could have been good, but even at 75 minutes it needed a brutal edit for length. I've also heard it said that an edit for taste wouldn't have gone amiss.
The plot: alien bikini needs human sperm.. except that even that's not true. Firstly, the extraterrestrial isn't the bikini itself (which would have been funnier), but merely the hot girl who's wearing it. Secondly, that didn't look like a bikini to me. Isn't it just Eun-Jung Ha's underwear? Anyway, with a five thousand dollar budget this is obviously a no-budget cheaparoid, but the surprising bit is that it's not sleazy in the way you'd expect. THERE'S NO NUDITY. Cleavage, yes. Nipples, no.
You see, Eun-Jung Ha's species operates on a different time scale to humans and she's going to hit the menopause in three hours. She's short of options. It's late at night, you've got thugs trying to beat you up (or worse) and suddenly you find yourself being rescued by a Korean superhero, Young-Geun Hong. He's male. He takes you home because you need medical attention and those bad guys are still on the rampage. Looks like your choices have been made for you!
What comes next is the twist that in theory makes this film funny. It's the beliefs and principles of Young-Geun Hong. He's a virgin, obviously, but this isn't just true for the obvious reason. He's taken a vow of chastity and he doesn't believe in sex before marriage.
I like this. It's a funny idea. I also quite liked Young-Geun Hong, who's cute in a timid way and has a smile like a small pet rodent. His superhero costume is a false moustache, but surprisingly he's quite good at martial arts even if he gets thoroughly beaten up over the course of this film. He holds his own against three men with iron bars, for instance. In addition his moral quirks make him the perfect gentleman towards Eun-Jung Ha, for instance taking elaborate pains to make drinks that will be good for her, but she doesn't like. It pleases him that they seem to have so much in common. His idea of a wild time is to play Jenga with her, which is a boring scene that goes on too long but still says a lot about Young-Geun Hong.
Furthermore even after she's starting torturing him, he'd still be more than willing to help her if she'd just get married to him first. All they need is to visit the marriage registry office in the morning and they'll be all set! I bet if Eun-Jung Ha had been able to go for that option, he'd have stuck with her for life and been a painstakingly attentive husband too.
This is the film's good stretch. I wasn't that interested in the early vigilante stuff, especially with the distasteful-looking scenes of men hunting down a woman at night, but it gets entertaining once Eun-Jung Ha's got aggressive in going for what she wants. You might be wondering why she didn't just trigger his prostate, especially since she has a magical medical lecturer who can appear out of nowhere, break the fourth wall to deliver a lecture on men's sperm and then disappear again. However I think that might be what the feather duster was for.
The tortures here are moderately amusing. A woman torturing a man is valid entertainment, especially when it's in this particular cause and he's so pathetically determined to resist. Unfortunately things get considerably less vanilla when Young-Geun Hong has a near-death flashback to when his father used to beat him and, um, turns the tables. All the other reviews I've seen seem to think that he beats Eun-Jung Ha to a pulp and then rapes her while she's unconscious, but I think he thinks he's having sex with her corpse. Alternatively, maybe his higher intellectual functions have shut down by that point? Anyway, this is the scene that doesn't go down that well with audiences. Personally I didn't have such a problem with it, but that's because I thought I was merely watching necrophilia. (That's not great either, I'll admit.)
That's not the end, by the way. It then went a bit Species. I didn't understand the ending, which involves a Chinese folk tale and two of the three or four characters played by Young-Geun Hong (depending on whether you count his superhero identity as a separate role). It seemed clear to me at the time that it was Hong #1 who suffered a surprising fate, but then a couple of minutes later it seemed to be that same Hong #1 who'd survived. Well, maybe my subtitles were missing something important.
Apparently it's also reminiscent of a much better-received Korean film called Save the Green Planet.
Did I like this? No. I was struggling, not because of the taste issues but simply because it's about twice as long as it should be and it feels half-baked. It's sufficiently well made that you don't just write it off as amateur dross knocked out by a few South Koreans with a camcorder, but it's still flabby and messy. Everything about it needed to be tighter. In fairness it did win the jury prize at the Yubari Fantastic Fest, but if there's one nation that might appreciate stuff like this, it's Japan. Admittedly it's not without a bit of charm, thanks to Eun-Jung Ha, but it has imagery that feels misogynistic and even compared to other things at the same modest level, I just don't think it's particularly good.
"I'm involved in a campaign against drinking and smoking."