It’s not as if filmmakers are under any sort of obligation to ensure their film is titled responsibly and accurately. Octopussy, Snatch, In & Out… fine movies all, but they don’t exactly live up to the salacious nature implied by their titles. And it’s not always a matter of titles that sound far dirtier than they are either, as sometimes the title simply infers a different kind of film all together. Haunters for example is a recent Korean film that has absolutely nothing to do with ghosts, spirits, or the afterlife.
Which brings us to Invasion of Alien Bikini.
It’s the story of a troubled young man who wanders the city each night as the City Protector, a false mustache-wearing do-gooder out to fight crime and injustice. The best he can normally manage though is to clean up litter. One night he rescues a young woman from three would-be attackers and brings her back to his abode… where she tries really hard to have sex with him. And he tries equally hard to resist. Up to that point the film is as entertaining (on a budget), slightly comical, and teasingly sexy as the title implies.
And then it turns cruel, misogynistic, and uninteresting.
Young-gun (Hong Young-geun) is clearly a bit off in the head, but when challenged with violence he can take care of himself. After a humorous but effective beat-down delivered to the three attackers he takes the woman home to recover and discovers her name is Ha Monica (Ha Eun-jung).
The two are awkward around each other at first as she’s still flustered from the attack and he’s absurdly shy and unfamiliar with having a woman in his crappy apartment, but a relaxed game of Jenga breaks the ice. Monica makes it clear she’d like to sleep with him, but Young-gun has sworn a vow of chastity and is unwilling to fool around until he’s married. At which point her spine exits her body and attacks him.
The comedy up to now was lightweight and limited, but it fostered a tone that was at least mildly entertaining. No more. It appears that she’s an alien in dire need of his baby batter before the night is out. The remainder of the film stays mostly in this one room apartment as the two battle it out with some very nasty exchanges. Her efforts to acquire his sperm include abuse, torture, and an attempted blowjob that leaves her mouth bloody. He returns the favor with an extended beating to her face (that feels like it goes on for several minutes) and maybe even a rape for shits and giggles. Glimpses of Young-gun’s childhood are meant to offer explanation and possible sympathy for his behavior, but all they do is imply that he’s a victim who’s finally been empowered.
Invasion of Alien Bikini feels like it wants to be a cross between the thematically similar but far superior Korean film Save the Green Planet and the sexy, sci-fi romp Species, but it’s severely hampered by budget, creativity, and talent. The film goes beyond simple entertainment, even failed entertainment, but it’s unclear what exactly it’s trying to accomplish. The lone female character, human or not, is basically targeted by Young-gun and the men chasing her for her desire to fuck. Sure she’s an alien, but that’s no reason to beat, rape, and try to kill her in service to a “story” about a guy finding his manhood. The essence of an intriguing plot is buried here, but much like that elusive life-giving sperm, it’s apparently out of reach.
The Upside: Film goes in some surprisingly dark directions; opening fight is entertaining
The Downside: Feels repetitive at times; violence always supersedes sexiness; tonal imbalance beyond even the usual Korean standards; poor treatment of only female character; no one wears a goddamn bikini, alien or otherwise