Save The Green Planet

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Movie Review by Stephen Doyle

Starring: Shin Ha-Hyun, Baek Yun-Shik, Hwang Jeong-Min, Lee Jae-yong

Director: Jang Jun-Hwan

SAVE THE GREEN PLANET! is a typically crazy and extreme affair from Korea. It would be fair to describe it as a romantic, science fiction, detective thriller, social critique, comedy and horror film. It goes without saying that any director will find it difficult, if not impossible, to blend cohesively all these genres. Director Jang Jun-Hwan tries, but does not really succeed, in meeting this challenge. Scenes varying vastly in style and atmosphere sit uneasily together, so an excruciating scene featuring a horrific piece of torture might be juxtaposed with a scene of zany comedy, frequently leaving the viewer bewildered.

But this is actually my only gripe, because, for the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed SAVE THE GREEN PLANET! As a whole it may not work, but its individual scenes and parts are great, and on some occasions, really rather fine. It begins with a nutty loner named Byeong-gu (Shin Ha Hyun) and his impressionable girlfriend Su-Ni (Hwang Jeong-Min) kidnapping a rich businessman called Kand Man Shik (Baek Yun-Shik). Byeong-gu’s dubious justification for this abduction is that he is convinced that Kang Man Shik is an alien from Andromeda intent on destroying the planet.

While Byeong-gu keeps the businessman hostage and subjects him to torture, the police force’s finest are gathered together to find Kang Man Shik. This is actually when SAVE THE GREEN PLANET! is at its best – when it is a straight forward detective thriller showing the efforts of the police to track down a demented criminal and his victim. At times, the film becomes reminiscent of THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, and, curious to say, SAVE THE GREEN PLANET! does not suffer in the comparison. It is just a pity that Jun Hwan was not content to leave the film as a thriller, but had to add the science fiction, zany comedy and romance strands to the film.

Still, there remains a lot to enjoy, the most notable thing being Jang Jun-Hwan’s exciting and unpredictable visual style, as well as some fascinating editing and camera shots which make the film never less than interesting to look at. Also superb is the orchestral score which manages to create some scenes of immense suspense (Hitchcock’s way of drumming up suspense through use of music came to mind more than once), as well as the odd moment of pathos. If nothing else, then, SAVE THE GREEN PLANET! is a satisfying treat for the senses. A cult following seems guaranteed for this undeniably silly film, a triumphant victory of style over content.

4 out of 6 stars