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Save the Green Planet

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Posted 5th May 2009 at 02:18 PM by Philleh

Do aliens exist? Chances are, with the millions of planets throughout space, they do. Earth cannot be the only planet out there able to accommodate some sort of life form, it can’t. It’s a simple logic that will not be proven fact for many, many generations I’m sure. Unless some crazy ass V style alien invasion happens anytime soon… but I can’t see that happening, unfortunately.

So what if God never existed and the real reason we are here is because of ancient aliens? (No, I’m not a scientologist!) Maybe they’ve been watching over us? Monitoring us? It sure makes our existence feel more important doesn’t it? That some extraterrestrial thinks of us as ‘pets’! It doesn’t sound as “out there” as believing in a God who you can’t prove/disprove exists? Much like the theory that we are E.T’s pet planet, disprove it… I DARE ya’!

Yes, I realise I’m sounding like a raving lunatic, which is fitting really, as it relates perfectly with the protagonist of Korean masterpiece Save the Green Planet!

Byung-gu (the phenomenal Shin Kyun-ha) and his overweight, rope walking girlfriend Su-ni (Hwang Jeong-min), are Earth’s last hope. Byung-gu believes that aliens from the planet ‘Andromedia’ are plotting to destroy our lovely green planet – on the night of the next luna eclipse, no less! He also believes that the CEO of the chemical company he once worked for, Kang Man-shik (Baek Yun-shik), is an alien impostor and is due to pass on the word, to the men upstairs, that it’s curtains for Earth. What we don’t know yet, is that the factory was closed due to violent protests that left Byung-gu’s mother in a coma and his then-girlfriend dead.

Once they have Man-shik, he’s tied to a chair (left wearing nothing but some fetching boxer shorts) in Byung-gu’s basement where he proceeds to shave of ALL of the CEO’s hair, which he believes is how he communicates with his extraterrestrial brethren. He doesn’t stop there though. Aliens have a diversion to menthol rub when applied to certain areas (feet, eyes and genitals!), so he and Su-ni take some wire scrubbers to these certain points in hopes it will lower his strength, preventing him from passing on the death sentence and hopefully get the confession that Byung-gu has been craving for: proof of extraterrestrial life.

Meanwhile, the police have launched an investigation into the kidnapping of Man-shik and two detectives, Inspectors Kim and Choo, are hungry to collar the kidnapper(s). As the investigation goes on, Byung-gu tries ever more inventive ways of torturing the truth out of the supposed alien. Revealing truths about our would-be saviour comes to light, such as the previous cases of mistaken alien identity, all of whom have wronged Byung-gu at one point or another.

Will Byung-gu get what he so desperately wants? Will the fuzz stop Byung-gu from turning Min-shik into lunch for his pet dog, Earth, like his previous attempts at finding an alien? And will the Luna eclipse really bring the end of the green planet? Or is Byung-gu really just one ****ed up individual?

When a film braves the choppy waters of multi-genre…ism then it can get pretty damn messy. How do you make a black comedy/ sci-fi/ action/ thriller/ horror/ romance/ drama movie and have each aspect play such a pivotal roll in the film? Can this many genres, that are so varied, actually work together as one? In the hands of writer/director Jang Jun-Hwan… Your damn trucking right it can! Quite how he achieved this though will be one of life’s great unanswered questions I’m sure. A movie with so much going on and dealing with soooo many genres, side-stories and sheer madness SHOULDN’T have worked, but damn it all, thank that lovely brain of Jang Jun-Hwan, it does… and oh, so well!

As brilliant as Jang’s writing and direction is, without the acting abilities of one of South Korea’s finest, Shin Kyun-ha, this movie would have fallen flat on its face. His performance here is as hyperactive and over the top as the film, and for that, it works brilliantly. You will be left guessing as to weather he is insane or actually our saviour right up to the final reveal when we’re put out of our misery and the truth is finally revealed. AND WHAT A FINALE! It’s destined to go down in the books along with the likes Takeshi Miike’s Dead or Alive for its balls and unconventional approach.

If all this wasn’t enough to have you running to the nearest video store or purchasing this bad boy then maybe I should let you in on a little fact: this movie is ****ing BRUTAL! Yes, aside from all the frivolity and a manic energy the film gives, when this film is violent… it’s VERY violent! The torture scene’s will have a few of the hardened gore hounds covering their eyes, and the look on people faces, when Byung-gu lubes up a anal probe that lets out steam, is priceless… show it to your mothers!

As far I’m concerned this is a 5-star movie, but I can understand why some people may not see it that way, the violence and the overall insanity is not for everyone and for those who are in the mood for hack, slash and carnage may feel let down, as this does require some care and thought. Those who are willing to take the journey though, will find themselves in the presence of one of the greatest cult-movies in years; it’s a movie that cares for originality as much as it cares for paying its respects to other films.

Sad news first, the brilliant region 3 DVD is long out of print. It was a truly brilliant release and I’m still kicking myself for not picking it up: live and learn aye? Tartan Video have filled that void a little however, with a lovely 2-disc release with many, many (subtitled!) extra’s for fans to shake their anal probes at. The region 1 release is a little disappointing in the extra’s front, so those with multi-region players I would suggest they import the R2 release.

The first disc comes with an subtitled audio commentary, which will help shine light into whatever it was that was screaming in Jang Jun-Hwan head when he was thinking this stuff up! The real meat is on the second disc, which sports one of the greatest ‘making of…’ documentaries I’ve had the pleasure of viewing. Starting from scratch and working its way up to the films premiere it covers everything and anything you want to know about this beauty. It also has some nifty cameos from some of Korea’s biggest players, like Chan Wook-park, Choi Min-shik and awesome Kong Sang-ho! – Divine.

For those looking for something a little special, and definitely original, then you can’t get better than this. It’ll baffle, worry and bloody entertain you for two straight hours and then you might find yourself wanting to watch it all over again!

Directed by:
Jang Jun-Hwan

Shin Kyun-ha
Hwang Jeong-min
Baek Yun-shik

Recommendations: Erm… Nothing can compare to this.
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