Thursday, April 16, 2009

105) Attack the Gas Station! (1999)

105) Attack the Gas Station! (1999) Dir: Kim Sang-Jin Date Released (DVD): July 2004 Date Seen: April 15th, 2009 Rating: 3.5/5

Kim Sang-Jin’s Attack the Gas Station! (1999) excels at only one thing but that one thing is what makes it so much fun: attitude. In its brainless whatever-the-fuck mentality, Attack proves itself in thought and deed to be a punk film that sometimes looks like a mainstream youth action-comedy. In it, four moron slackers learn a lesson and take a stand against free-loafing cops one minute only to rob the gas station they’ve been holding up the next. They have to work for the money they’re stealing but they’re not joking when they say they have no idea where they’re going at film’s end.

The ambitions of the film’s stooge-like heroes are stupid simple—they rob a gas station twice for no other reason than they can—and so is the film’s script: get from point A-B and then worry about the rest of that other shit that comes afterwards as it comes. Any prescribed cultural critiques seem accidental considering how even basic plot points in the story appear and disappear with frighteningly casual regularity—whatever happened to that couple in the trunk?

Park Jeong-woo’s script is just as wonderfully listless, taking swings at local gangs, then joking about the neutered threat of Western commodities—Pepsi’s not a threat because, as one character points out, its blue, red and white symbol is from the Korean flag. Even our goons’ backstories, the ones that shed light on their current restlessness, are just one-off explanations that tie into insignificant plot points that are almost all forgotten right after they’ve been established. Without a plan and in no real rush to get to wherever the hell it’s going, Attack sacrifices complexity for authenticity's sake and is that much funnier for it.

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