Film Review: Invasion of Alien Bikini

   "Never judge a book by it's cover" is an established piece of wisdom to which I add the new idiom: "Never judge a film by it's title."

   Invasion of Alien Bikini is a South Korean micro-budget feature which, on paper, sounds like a 1950s Americana inspired B-Movie; a barely there sci-fi plot used as an excuse to showcase women in various states of undress. In actuality, Oh Young-do's film is much more exploitative, misogynistic and, indeed, crueler than this despite what sounds to be a wacky, cartoon-ish script.

   The initially humorous premise centres on protector of the people, Hong Young-geun, who roams the street at nights looking to rid the city of crime and corruption despite not being asked, or paid, by anyone to do this. One evening he rescues a beautiful woman from a mysterious gang and takes her back to this apartment to recuperate; the chaste Young-geun is flummoxed and bewildered when the lady admits that she is not who she seems - she's, in fact, an alien sent down to Earth with the intention of becoming fertilized by human sperm. The battle begins then, in a reverse of many American teen movies, for Young-geun, who has vowed to remain pure until marriage, to not lose his virginity to this beautiful and determined woman.

   The problem with Invasion of Alien Bikini comes with its inability to decide tone or genre - something which is often a strength of South Korean cinema. An almost whimsical, subversive premise is itself subverted during the course of the short film's running time when Oh Young-do takes his feature into alarming territory where the humour is left behind in favour of scenes of child abuse, torture, sexual debasement and assault, topped off with severe violence which is unrelenting in its realism and completely jarring in context to the light-hearted nature of the movie's beginnings. Many of the Alien Bikini's scenes seem to exist solely for the purpose of including moments of violence towards women - there are moments where an individual's character will change entirely in a flash of an eye just so they can further the misogynist agenda of the feature including one stomach churning scene in which blows are rained down on an unprotected face in a scene which seems like it won't end; as blood swells up in the ladies face, the question of who would or could enjoy such a film can conceivably be asked. The worrying thing is that the graphic violence does not even climax there.

   The main problem with Invasion of Alien Bikini, however, came, perversely  with the fact that a lot of the film is spectacularly made, particularly considering it's limited $4'545 budget. The inventiveness of direction, and the ability for Oh Young-do to create an array of memorable images and aesthetically slide from genre to genre, tone to tone, with ease is to be admired - it's not entirely dissimilar to Jang Joo-hwan's work in Save The Green Planet. Yet, the fact remains that all of this inventiveness went into a feature filled with bleakness, sickness and, to put it simply, hatred - were Oh to channel his considerable talent into a decent movie (one which didn't seem to exist for the sole purpose of expressing a hatred towards women) he could be deemed a director to watch out for. Instead, for the time being, his troublesome film should be on the list of ones to avoid at all costs.
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