Attack The Gas Station
"...I hated these four motherfuckers and wanted to see that chick from "Shiri" walk on-screen and blast huge, gaping holes in their heads."
Attack The Gas Station (1999)
AKA: Gas Station Rout
Director: Kim Sang-Jin
Producer: Kim Mi-Hee
Cast: Lee Seong-Jae, Yoo Ooh-Seong, Kang Seong-Jin, Yoo Ji-Tae, Park Young-Kyoo, Chung Joon, Lee Yo-Won, Lee Jeong-Ho
Running Time: 112 min.
Plot: See Joe909's review below.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
NUMSKULL'S REVIEW: This Korean comedy about four young asswipes who take over a gas station and make captives of its employees scores humor points for the likable absurdity of its premise, but not for much else. It goes for sustained silliness of unremarkable intensity as opposed to well-timed, laugh-out-loud hilarity. The result is a moderately enjoyable film with no real standout moments that most people aren't likely to watch repeatedly.
The characters don't refer to one another by name, with the exception of Bulldog, and I rather doubt that that's the name he popped out the chute with. The film makes feeble attempts to rationalize the behavior of these four scofflaws by showing flashbacks in which they pursued some glorious career, like singing or playing baseball, only to have their dreams crushed by some dickhead adult. At least, that's the way they see it. Their own lack of persistence, it seems to me, is the real problem. So, they wreak all sorts of havoc at this gas station, like making kidnappees duke it out and filling peoples' tanks (and extorting the proportionate amount of money) when they only wanted a wee bit of fuel. Occasionally, they do something laudable, like trapping a group of sadistic bikers in the car wash, or hurling a baseball through the car window of some asshole who tears down the street in the middle of the night for no reason other than to annoy people. But they're still asswipes, and this is still a movie about asswipes being asswipes.
Towards the end of the film, there is a distinct change of gears, and the climax is, all things considered, the best part. It's not enough to make you forget that there are still two people suffocating in the trunk of a car, but it's enough to make you feel that the whole silly business hasn't been a complete waste of time.
NUMSKULL'S RATING: 6/10
JOE909'S REVIEW: This movie is sheer craziness. It doesn't waste any time with establishing characters or their motives; it just opens with a gang of four Korean youths attacking, and taking over, a gas station in the middle of the night. They smash up machinery, lights, and signs, terrorizing the older boss of the place and his three teenaged employees. When the boss (who the gang robbed earlier) claims that he no longer keeps money on the premises, the gang gets the idea of filling up gas for patrons, to make some change. So they lock up the boss and his employees inside an adjoining room and under the watch of the samurai-like Bulldozer, and go about filling up people's cars: always filling the tanks all the way up, and only taking cash. And if any of the patrons give them a hard time, well then, the gang takes them hostage, too.
So who are these four horrible youths? I really can't say: even though this movie is almost two hours long, I still didn't learn a thing about its main characters. Hell, I don't even think three of them were given names; I only recall the burly nutso with the stick (Bulldozer) even being referred to by name. So, we have the boss, who's the thinker of the group, always looking pissed off. Then we have a Jim Morrison-wannabe who I completely hated, replete with long, stringy hair, leather pants, and a rock star's short temper. Next there's a blonde psycho who paints everything he can and disappears for the majority of the movie: I guess the writers couldn't think of much for this guy to do. Which is fine, because he's just as annoying as the Morrison wannabe. And finally there's Bulldozer, a big guy who wears one of those hats Reni (of the Stone Roses) made popular, and who carries around a large stick with which to beat his hostages. He's basically the only likeable character in the gang.
The movie's plot is funny and different, but in reality it's like a Saturday Night Live skit. And, like most skits, once the gist of the joke plays out, there's nowhere left for it to go. However, whereas skits end after five or so minutes, Attack the Gas Station goes on for two hours, and by then you feel that the joke has gone far too long. You just want to see these punks get beaten to a pulp or gunned down, or at least leave the gas station. 99% of the movie takes place there, and you get sick of seeing the same sets.
Halfway into the movie we see brief flashbacks for each of the four gangsters, giving us a glimpse of who they were in earlier times. In each instance we see them having their dreams ruined by either nonunderstanding parents or abusive elders. I'm not sure if the intention of these flashbacks was to make us feel sorry for the punks, or even to give us an inclination of why they went down the crime road, but personally, regardless of their hard luck, I hated these four motherfuckers and wanted to see that chick from "Shiri" walk on-screen and blast huge, gaping holes in their heads.
I'm guessing "Attack the Gas Station" was produced for and aimed at the teenage audience of South Korea. It takes a lot of jabs at school and high school gangs, and the majority of the characters are lowlife punks. So in other words, the movie is sort of like a Hollywood teen comedy, with a bunch of hip rulebreakers who I'm sure have become figures of legend to high school students all across South Korea. Not surprisingly, I've read on-line that the movie became "a national phenomenon among South Korean students in 1999." With that in mind, don't watch this movie expecting something with a lot of substance: just keep it in mind as a teenage fluff piece, and you'll be okay.
Oh, and a final note: I always believed that the worst music around was Japanese pop (or Japanese rock, or Japanese "rap"), but after hearing the music in "Attack the Gas Station," I sadly see that there is worse music, yet. So be prepared to hear a lot of bad music, from the Morrison-wannabe's pathetic rock group (which thankfully gets kicked off the stage during his flashback sequence), to the Boys II Men-esque doo-wop shit of four rival gangsters.
JOE909'S RATING: 5.5/10