Justin Decloux’s review published on Letterboxd:
I will try to sum up the first 15 minutes of ALIENOID
*takes in a deep breath*
FIRST SCENE: We're told an alien race is using human bodies as prisons for their criminals (because their society refuses to kill, but when imprisoned in humans, the criminal dies when the human does), but some of the baddies are rebelling and trying to escape their human hosts (who don't know they have an alien in them), which leads to an opening where a Fighting Robot who drives a talking car time travels back to the 14th century Korea (using a magic glowing crystal) to re-capture a criminal trying to escape. See, time flows simultaneously, so the aliens have dropped off criminals all over the time stream and monitor them in present-day Korea. During their opening mission in the 14th century, the sassy talking robot car takes back a baby from the 14th century to modern-day South Korea, and the robots decide to raise it.
*takes in another deep breath*
CUT TO TITLE
NEXT SCENE: We're back in the 14TH century and following a dopey Wizard with two cat sidekicks that can transform into human beings. They learn that there's a bounty on the magic time travelling crystal seen in the previous scene, so they decide to go after it, but find themselves fighting other wizards - who are after the same crystal. Aliens who can shoot out tentacles also get involved.
*struggles to breathe*
NEXT SCENE: In the present, the Robots have raised the baby they kidnapped from the 14th century, but she suspects her dad is an alien of some kind, so she starts to investigate. And bad aliens begin to arrive.
This is still the first 15 minutes.
As you can tell, Alienoid plays like flipping back and forth between two movies - a sci-fi one and a fantasy one - from scene to scene in a way that only Writer/Director Choi Dong-hoon is allowed to do because he's been delivering massive box-office hits for years now. You've got goofy Stephen Show-style swordplay shenanigans in the past, and straightforward CGI-assisted sci-fi action in the present, until it all comes together in the film's final act. The time travel elements are straightforward, but the rest is a pretty exhilarating ride if you don't fight it, and the magic martial arts stuff is a blast of creativity with a cartoonish KUNG-FU HUSTLE vibe. The sci-fi stuff is a little too TRANSFORMERS for my taste, but there is a spaceship duel!
UNFORTUNATELY: The film ends in a goddamn cliffhanger - so be prepared.