A traumatized young man abducts Korean leaders, believing they're toxic reptilian aliens - a fifth column launching a takeover of beloved Earth. Stumped law enforcement geniuses half-seriously hire a disgraced, disheveled private detective with a long-ago history of super-crime solving. The alienated South Korean youngster Lee Byeong-gu builds an isolated basement command post/torture chamber/film studio to force the awful truth out of the slimy, uncooperative politicians and businesspeople, then alert the public. Byeong-gu is helped by his devoted girlfriend, who buys his theories, but wonders if his horrible childhood has colored his thinking.
Directed by: Joon-hwan Jang
. Starring: Ha-kyun Shin
, Yun-shik Baek
, Jeong-min Hwang
, Jae-yong Lee
, Ju-hyeon Lee
, Ju-bong Gi
, Dong-hyeon Kim
, Roe-ha Kim
, Mu-hyeon Lee
, Woong-jae Won
, Adolf Hitler
. Music by: Dong-jun Lee
Jang Joon-hwan's Save the Green Planet is a jet black comedy with a serious message. Through the veil of farce, scenes containing high-intensity drama can easily be upstaged if not careful about their comedic approach in this 2003 South Korean film. Although Joon- hwan's portrayal of a descent into madness keeps us guessing and excited over which side to support, Save the Green Planet is really a story with a moral call-to-arms about saving the earth. The main character is falsely convinced that the end is coming from aliens, when it is really from us humans.
Lee Byeong-gu is a man who's lost a lot and replaced it with insanity and conspiracy. Dressed in a makeshift Ghostbusters-meets-Back-to-the-Future type of gadget suit, complete with accessory belt and makeshift body bag poncho, we can easily recognize that a screw or two is loose in his brain. After convincing his dimly-lit bulb of a girlfriend that aliens are planning to destroy the earth in a week's time, he informs her of his plan to kidnap the CEO of a large chemicals company, who is believed to be an impostor in human skin; a high- ranking alien official from Andromeda who communicates with "The Prince" of his race concerning the destruction of the Earth. This is where we begin our drama. Through scenes of abundant energy and boundless ambition, the interrogation of, and police search for, CEO Kang begins.
But we discover that Kang is not Lee's first victim. In our era of modernity we find many innovations in cinema. As the plot progresses, Korean genre-bending takes full hold to balance scenes of emotional genuinity contrasting farce, futility and madness. Of course Kang is just a prickish CEO and underneath the quest to save the Earth by killing aliens, Lee also has a bone to pick with the president of the company his mother worked for until an accident comatized her, but what really makes this film memorable is its intertwining of dramatic pull for both sides. We want to sympathize with the wounded Lee, whom society has wronged all his life, but we want to see justice brought to the victims of his murders and Kang released.
There is a touching scene in which the second police officer is thwarted and Kang admits to being an alien and tells the story of their presence on the planet. He explains that humans are dangerous, destructive, just as violent as they are powerful and have carefully been given another chance. As the decision approaches to keep or destroy humanity, Kang reveals that Lee's comatose mother is one of their many experiments. Whether or not this is a ploy to buy time or remains to be seen. There is a nostalgic musical motif that follows the images of the destructive humanity which has been seen in many flashbacks of Lee's life and how it made him a psychotic killer.
There is a visually stunning scene of a detective being attacked by bees kept by Lee, in which he tries to shoot the swarm of bees with his revolver, only killing one or two. in the midst of this futility and comic outcome, there is a stark parallel to Lee's attempts to save the earth by killing alien suspects, most of whom he has ultimately determined were in fact human. The aim of the criticism Lee unleashes is very anti-capitalistic, as Kang has no sympathy for idiots like him that try to come on top. After the death of his mother, Lee leaves all of his books of research and information on the aliens to a tied-up detective and says that if he fails in defeating them the responsibility lies in detective's hands. Lee's tenacity shows itself in the several times he is seemingly killed during the climax of the film, but always gets another hit out on Kang. The police ultimately catch up with them and finish Lee off.
Upon Kang's narrow escape and multiple wounds, he is once again treated as royalty by the police who escort him to the car and all is well. Or is it? Unexpectedly, but not all unpredictably, Kang is whisked off to an alien spaceship, the details of which corroborate with his story perfectly. Disgusted by the torture and corruption of the humans which have even sickened the planet's core, he then sentences the earth to destruction as he says it is a "failed experiment." After its brief destruction, the credits roll alongside a television projecting the happy memories of Lee's childhood, once more with the nostalgic motif playing.
Lee's last words are "Now who will save the Earth?" As they appear to be the stubbornness of his madness unto death, we are left to peer past the words of the madman and ask ourselves the same question. The detective, representing the archetypal every man, is left with the responsibility of being the catalyst to the change which may yet be barely enough to save the earth.
Review by davidbello777 from the Internet Movie Database.