‘Alienoid 2′ director hopeful to recapture audiences after unpopular first part

November 22, 2023

Would the second installment of the Korean sci-fi action fantasy series “Alienoid” succeed in gathering movie fans, overcoming box-office failures of the first film? That is the question looming in the local film industry ahead of the film’s release in January 2024.

Director Choi Dong-hoon is now hoping his film series will get a second chance to receive different reviews, now that the whole puzzle of the mystery left unsolved in the first film is completed with the sequel.

“I spent 1 1/2 years working on the post-production, only looking at the actors’ eyes on the monitor. It felt as if they were family members who had lived together with me,” he said during a press conference to promote “Alienoid 2″ in Seoul on Wednesday. “I once again felt what it’s like to make a movie myself while doing the post-production work.”

The director and cast of "Alienoid 2" pose for photos during a press conference to promote the film in Seoul on Nov. 22, 2023. (Yonhap)
The director and cast of “Alienoid 2″ pose for photos during a press conference to promote the film in Seoul on Nov. 22, 2023. (Yonhap)

The big-budget two-part film series made its bold debut in the summer of 2022 but bombed, attracting only 1.53 million moviegoers due to largely negative reviews. The number was only one-fifth of its break-even point of 7.3 million.

Written and directed by Choi, one of the most bankable filmmakers in the Korean film industry, the series revolves around a duo of android robots who must fight across time to capture escaped alien criminals in modern-day Korea and Taoist magicians who fight with each other to possess a legendary divine sword in the ancient Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392) as a time portal opens between the past and modern-day Korea in 2022.

The second installment begins where the story of the first film ends: Lee Ahn (Kim Tae-ri), a human girl brought to the 21st century from the past and raised by the robots, eventually restores a legendary divine sword after 10 years of her unwanted stay in Goryeo, while Mureuk (Ryu Jun-yeol), a clumsy Taoist wizard who Lee Ahn encounters in her journey to find the sword, falls into confusion after finding that a mysterious being is inside him.

In the second film, Lee Ahn returns to the present with the divine sword but she is not alone. She is accompanied by Thunder (Kim Woo-bin), one of the robots, and three Taoist magicians, Mureuk, Heukseol (Yum Jung-ah), Cheongwun (Jo Woo-jin) and Ja-jang (Kim Eui-sung), leader of a secret gang, who all pursue the sword for different purposes.

Lee Ahn then joins forces with her friends — Thunder, Mureuk, Heukseol and Cheongwun — to prevent escaped alien prisoners from detonating an extraterrestrial matter called “Haba” on Earth and save the world.

The director said he put much effort into making “Alienoid 2″ enjoyable even for viewers who had not seen the first part while following the original script.

“In the opening of the movie, there is a summary clip that summarizes the contents of the first part,” he said, adding that he kept editing the summary footage to the point where 15 versions were created.

Actors said the second part will be fun as hidden secrets of the main characters are unveiled.

“If the first part unfolds with several stories intertwined, the second part provides catharsis in the process of unraveling the intertwined stories,” Ryu Jun-yeol said. “It will be fun if you watch the first and second parts together.”

Kim Tae-ri said the relationship between her and Ryu’s characters changes in the second film as hidden secrets are revealed.

Lee Ha-nee and Jin Sun-kyu join the cast as the customs officer Min Gae-in from the first part and a blind swordsman Neungpa, a new role in the second part, respectively.