This movie is the best WTF movie ever. (Yes, that is a genre. It refers to slapstick comedy of the unpredictable variety.) That first sentence sums up the movie pretty well. I wish I could leave it like that and end the review, but I know that alone would never induce anyone to watch it.
Attack the Gas Station is about a group of four guys who…rob a gas station. Why do they rob it? ‘Cause they’re bored, yo. What better thing to do on a slow night than to rob and subsequently hold up an entire gas station? The whole film takes place during that one night, and the stuff that happens will make you wish the night (and the movie) never ends.
They first rob the gas station, do a moderate amount of destruction and leave, only to come back a few days later to rob it again. This time, though, the manager/owner (wiser for his worries) manages to hide the cash somewhere in his office and fibs to the four that his wifey came earlier and emptied out the cash. They tell him to call home for the money and meanwhile, hold the three crew workers and owner as hostage while they themselves run the gas station. Think that’s ridiculous? The night is long and holds many surprises, which ultimately results in a crowd of hostages and many, many deliciously crazy encounters. I can’t give away more than that because the best thing about the humor is the element of surprise, which I would not want to be lost because of me, no matter what.
What I loved most about the film was the fact that they first reel us is with the crazy random stuff, and when we’re hooked good and are in love with the main characters, tell us a little bit about each, making us finally understand and sympathize with the main characters. The guys themselves are misfit delinquents, the dregs, the outcasts of society. The film basically uses their disillusionment with the world to shed a light on the evils prevalent in society. The boys aren’t bad guys per se, nor do they lack awareness of what’s right and what’s wrong. They just want to go against the establishment that treated them thus, and sort of get back at the world, while simultaneously fixing a lot of the small situations that occur. They initially treat all their hostages like crap, but their unique way of dealing with things cause the hostages themselves to come over to their side.
The movie goes beyond what you’d normally expect, culminating in an awesome climax, and before you know what hit you, you’ll be LOL-ing at the main characters’ antics in awed reverence; rooting for them to ‘fix’ everyone and get away with everything.
The Leader Dude aka No Mark: Leader is the solemn, quiet and intelligent type. An ex-aspiring baseball player, he’d been pushed aside by the damn bribe-taking coach, causing him to give up the thing he loved best *wipes tears* and turn to crime.
Long Hair Guy aka Music Dude: At first, I liked this guy the least. Ended up loving his the most. His weird ADD-like behavior concerning music, the way he made random ajusshis sing to him, and his backstory make me LOL multiple times.
Hat Guy aka The Bulldozer: Tall, scary looking guy with a deep even scarier voice. Carries around a gigantic stick with him at all times, presumably to inflict damage on any opponents he might encounter. Is invincible in a fight. Likes disciplining rowdy hostages using his unique methods(which more or less are purely for his own entertainment). LOVE LOVE LOVE all the hostage scenes. This movie would have been nothing without him and his unique disciplinary style.
Paint aka Bleached Hair Dude: YOUNG YOO JI-TAE!!! He’s the crazy rich guy from Oldboy, and as soon as I saw his face, I felt the hatred for his face resurfacing in me. I ended up not being able to hate him at all. Why am I not surprised? He was so damn cute, with that goofy smile, bleached hair and ridiculous green outfit. Anyways, he’s the stupid one of the bunch, who never got good grades in school and wasn’t accepted by his parents. He is a self-proclaimed genius, though, and makes really good ’paintings’…of the naked lady variety. LOL.
Owner: Young Park Yeong-gyu!!! He’s the ahjusshi from numerous K-dramas, and here we see a 12 year-younger version of him. He’s hilarious as always, and acted out the role of petty and at-times-immature owner to the T. The character, though, has the WORST luck in the world. THE WORST. Poor guy, you realize you ought to feel sorry for him, but you never really get past mild bemusement.
Rest of Gas station crew: Two guys and a girl. One of the guys is a nerd, one is a wimp, while the girl is a bit of an airhead. She’s the ‘man’ of the bunch, though, and is always slapping the others around. She’s played by none other than Lee Yo-won (Song Yi-kyung from 49 days!) and is just a teen here. Seeing her really made me squee. It felt like the equivalent of looking at someone’s baby pictures. Nerd’s part was minimal, since he was too busy cramming for his mid-term which was the next day. Wimp was just too cute. Acted like a 10 year old. Got bullied at school, but when the balance of power tipped in his favor, got all the ‘swag’ and acted like a tough guy…*shakes head* Boys…
Other characters: Chinese food delivery boys, small time gangs, big time gangs, corrupt police officers, mean customers… this list could go on for a long time.
Rubbing your hand in anticipation yet? I hope you are. I KNOW this movie will appeal to anyone with a sense of humor. There will be plenty of times in the middle of the film where you’ll go to yourself, ‘Damn, this is the funniest shit ever, I wonder how they’ll top this,’ only for them to go on and actually surpass your expectations. The rising action, bewildering climax, and ending (complete with hilarious after-stories) are just pitch-perfect. Very rarely do movies give you a good run with a satisfying ending, but here, you get it.
Normally, when giving a film a rating, I make allowances for personal bias and give maximum marks of 9.5 out of ten. This one gets a whole ten. I highly recommend you to watch this film. I’ll wrap up this review with a quote from the director, Kim Sang-jin.
“A gas station in a city is like an island. In this isolated space I tried to show, in a funny way, the attempts of alienated young people to overturn the existing order of the world.”
End note: Once you finish watching, I’d like for you to come back and hypothesize about what happened to the people in the trunk of the car. *wink wink* You’ll know what I mean after you’re done watching.