Save the Green Planet!

Save the Green Planet!

Theatrical poster
Hangul !
Hanja 를 지켜라!
Revised Romanization Jigureul jikyeora!
McCune–Reischauer Chigurŭl chik‘yŏra
Directed by Jang Joon-hwan
Produced by Sidus Pictures
Written by Jang Joon-hwan
Starring Shin Ha-kyun
Baek Yoon-sik
Music by Lee Dong-jun
Cinematography Hong Kyung-pyo
Edited by Park Gok-ji
Distributed by CJ Entertainment
Koch-Lorber Films
Release dates
  • April 4, 2003 (2003-04-04)
Running time
118 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Budget $3 million
Box office $15,516 (U.S)[1]

Save the Green Planet! (Korean title: 지구를 지켜라!, Jigureul Jikyeora!) is a South Korean film, written and directed by Jang Joon-hwan, released on 4 April 2003 . The movie mixes elements of multiple genres, including comedy, science fiction, horror and thriller. The basic story begins when the main character, Lee Byeong-gu, kidnaps another man, convinced that the latter is an alien.


The film's main character is Byeong-gu, a man who believes that aliens from Andromeda are about to attack Earth and that he is the only one who can prevent them. With his childlike circus-performer girlfriend, he kidnaps a powerful pharmaceutical executive whom he believes to be a top ranking extraterrestrial able to contact the Andromedan prince during the upcoming eclipse. After imprisoning the man in his basement workshop, Byeong-gu proceeds to torture him.

It soon appears that the executive's company poisoned Byeong-gu's mother in a pharmaceuticals test, and that it is vengeance fueled psychosis that causes Byeong-gu to believe the executive is an alien.

When a detective comes calling to investigate the disappearance, the executive tries to escape but is thwarted by the psychotic Byeong-gu. The detective at first finds nothing unusual but on his way out sees Byeong-gu's dog (appropriately named Earth) gnawing on the bones of his master's past victims. After contacting a partner in the police force he is killed by Byeong-gu's bees, is hacked up and fed to the dog. Byeong-gu then crucifies the executive and breaks his leg with the back of his axe, to punish him for his attempted escape. In a desperate move, the executive convinces Byeong-gu that the bottle of benzene in his car trunk is the antidote for his comatose mother.

As Byeong-gu races to the hospital to deliver the antidote, the executive frees himself by pulling his hands through the nails. He then travels deeper into his captor’s lair, finding evidence of his grim research. Photos of mutilated corpses are littered with blood scrawled notebooks, while hands and brains of past ‘subjects’ reside in jars. Reading through the journals the executive discovers Byeong-gu's traumatic past: his father was a coal miner who lost one of his arms due to his dangerous work and was killed by his wife when he attempted to attack her and his son. The child was beaten in school and was a victim of the sadistic whims of his cruel teachers. He showed early signs of violence, such as stabbing a fellow school mate with a kitchen knife. His mother was then poisoned in the aforementioned incident and at a protest his former girlfriend was beaten to death. He slowly went mad from the violence that surrounded him.

As this is happening, the dead detective's partner arrives and finds the frantic executive. And Byeong-gu, after desperately rushing to the hospital to give the 'antidote' to his comatose mother, killing her, becomes ever more enraged. He returns home to kill the alien, only to find the detective there as well. After a brief struggle and a bizarre turn of events, he captures both of them and plans on killing them both. The frantic executive then admits to being an alien and proceeds to spin an outlandish tale which stretches back to the time of the dinosaurs, about how his race was originally trying to save humanity by experimenting on the genetic code of his mother. He also agrees, in what appears to be a time-buying move, to contact the alien prince at the pharmaceutical company factory.

Byeong-gu leaves the detective all his notes, saying that if he does not make it, he will have the responsibility of saving the planet. At the factory, the executive triggers a computer controlled robotic arm to kill Byeong-gu's girlfriend, and after a long struggle, he beats his captor almost to death. When the police arrive, they shoot Byeong-gu, and as he bleeds to death he wonders aloud, "Now who will save the earth?"

When the aliens do arrive and beam up the executive aboard their ship, we learn he is in fact the alien king himself. Disgusted and angered by the torture and corruption and evils of the world, he deems Earth a failed experiment and blasts it from creation. As the credits roll still photographs recap the entire journey of Byeong-gu's life, focusing instead on the beautiful, happy moments of a young boy and man with his father and mother and girlfriend.


Actor Role
Shin Ha-kyun Lee Byeong-gu
Baek Yoon-sik Kang Man-shik
Hwang Jeong-min Su-ni
Lee Jae-yong Detective Choo
Lee Ju-hyeon Detective Kim
Gi Ju-bong Squad Leader Lee


Jang first conceived of the idea for Save the Green Planet! while watching the film Misery.[2] He enjoyed it, but was disappointed with the lack of depth of the Annie Wilkes character, and accordingly decided that if he made a film about a kidnapping, it would be staged from the point of view of the kidnapper.[2] Later, Jang stumbled across a crank website accusing actor Leonardo DiCaprio of being an alien who wanted to conquer Earth by seducing all of its women, and he decided to combine the two concepts.[2]

Awards and nominations

Blue Dragon Film Awards
Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival[3]
Buenos Aires International Festival of Independent Cinema
Director's Cut Awards
Grand Bell Awards
Korean Film Awards
25th Moscow International Film Festival[4]
Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival
Busan Film Critics Awards
International Film Festival Rotterdam


  1. "Boxofficemojo" Retrieved 2012-06-04
  2. 1 2 3 Stephens, Chuck. "Leo DiCaprio: Alien Seductor? So Says Director Jang Jun-Hwan.", The Village Voice, April 12, 2005.
  3. "Awards for Jigureul jikyeora!". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-10-10.
  4. "25th Moscow International Film Festival (2003)". MIFF. Retrieved 2013-04-01.
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