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Original Title:
Juyuso seubgyuksageun

South Korea 1999

Comedy, Action

Kim Sang-Jin

Lee Sung-jae
Yu Oh-seong
Yu Ji-tae
Kang Seong-jin
Park Yeong-gyu
Lee Yu-won
Jeong Jun
Lee Jeong-ho

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Attack the Gas Station

Story: Four guys attack a gas station and destroy everything in sight. Only a few days later, they decide to attack the same gas station again out of boredom. This time however, they find no money to steal. They lock up the employees and take over the station. The money they get from the costumers for refuelling, they simply keep for their own.
The night is long and because the four guys are pretty impatient, some of the costumers also become prisoners. Moreover, there are some gangs that keep on wanting to get beaten and so the prisonroom becomes somewhat crowded. Besides, the four new "gas station managers" have to deal with an insolent delivery boy, and even the police visits them more than once.
Eventually, the night finds its end in a big showdown.

Review: "Attack the Gas Station" is a classic of the Korean comedy genre. So my expectations were quite high and although the movie really has its charm, I was a little bit disappointed in the end. You just rarely have to laugh out loud. Some gags in fact don't work at all, but luckily this isn't all too troublesome. Apart from that, we get presented an unbelieveable wacky and crazy movie, which strengths lie in its great characters, a good story and a socially critical undertone.

The four guys who attack the gas station are the heart of the movie. At the beginning you can't identify yourself with them, because after all they are thieves and rampagers. But after some time you realize that they also have some sort of sense of righteousness. Their personalities and peculiarities become more clear, and we have no other choice than to start being on their side, even if their actions go against the law.
Later on, we find out why the four guys are outsiders of society. Everyone of them has been offended by authorities, and since then is searching for his place in society. Unfortunately, the flashbacks and the things we find out about the past of the guys are dealt with too short.

If the actors of the gang wouldn't have been cast that perfect, the movie wouldn't only have been running into danger of delivering main characters, that are played in a stereotype and two-dimensional way, but "Attack the Gas Station" would also have lost most of its charm.
Lee Sung-jae does a great job as the silent and introverted boss of the gang, especially because he manages to let some emotions shine through under his cool surface every now and then .
Yu Oh-seong plays Bulldozer, a simple minded rowdy, whose heart is nevertheless at the right place. Along with them, Yu Ji-tae ("Oldboy") also knows how to convince the audience of his acting abilities, as the failed painter "Paint", and Kang Seong-jin does a good job as a wannabe-rockstar, too.
However, not only these colourful characters are loveable, but even the in no way relevant side characters get their screen time to play themselves in the heart of the viewer.

The gas station does not only change into a playground for the four guys, but also for us. Scenes, that are so abstruse you won't see in any other movie, are fired at us frequently. Serious gang members and the gas station manager are forced to sing right on the spot, or one of the imprisoned women has to play a syllable game against Bulldozer, at which the loser has to undress himself or in this case herself...
Not only the individual persons, that clash at this night, but most of all the way they interact with each other gives us a real fun time. Mainly, the humor is situational comedy, but there are also some funny dialogues that can make you laugh
Since the gang is mostly solving their problems with violence, there's also a lot of action going on. Primarily brawls, natch, but also some chase scenes that speed up the tempo of the movie even more.

As a director Kim Sang-Jin delivers good work. The picture is very sharp and colourful. It stands out, that every one of the guys seems to have a colour assigned to them, at least concerning their clothes.
The main characters have some pretty cool and stylish moments, that you won't forget so soon. Some nice camera work and panorama shots of the whole gas station add do a well working atmosphere and the free-for-all brawls are captured with the necessary wildness.

"Attack the Gas Station" is not the masterpiece everybody is talking about, but nonetheless a comedy you shouldn't miss to see. The four main characters, as the wacky style of the movie, manage to deliver an extraordinary movie experience. A quite socially critical undertone and some good working action make this night of adventures into an entertaining movie-evening.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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