Jun 2016 VOL.62

k-cinema Library

  • Attack The Gas Station!
  • by Pierce Conran / 06.03.2016

  • 1999113 MIN | Comedy, Action
    DIRECTOR KIM Sang-jin
    CAST LEE Sung-jae, YOO Oh-seong, YOO Ji-tae, KANG Sung-jin
    RELEASE DATE October 2, 1999
    CONTACT Mirovision Inc.
    Tel : +82 2 3443 2568
    Fax : +82 2 3443 4842
    Email :jason@mirovision.com

    Following a decade of work as an assistant director and eventually a director of small scale comedy/crime titles, including the final installment of the KANG Woo-suk’s buddy cop trilogy Two Cops, the first of which he worked on as an assistant director in 1993, director KIM Sang-jin finally made his own mark with the anarchic youth action-comedy Attack The Gas Station! in 1999.


    An irreverent send-up of hierarchical authority that featured LEE Sung-jae alongside future stars YOO Ji-tae and YOO Oh-seong, the film features four youths who terrorize a small gas station in Seoul during one long night for no better reason than boredom. Initially looking to rob the store, the not motivated by financial gain, they discover that the establishment has no money (it had already been robbed), which leads them to lock up the crooked owner and his disaffected employees. They work the pumps to pocket the cash and if any customer gives them trouble, they throw them in with the other hostages. A surprise hit that built on the power of word of mouth, Attack The Gas Station! draws its strength from its on point examination of social structures in Korea.


    Exploring the disaffected youth and disenfranchised masculinity that became a staple of Korean film throughout the 1990s, Attack The Gas Station! spun its structure of social examination on a winning comedy platform with the help of appealing young performers who would later go on to bigger things - YOO Ji-tae became an international icon as the villain in PARK Chan-wook’s Old Boy (2003), while YOO Oh-seong cemented his tough guy status in KWAK Kyung-taek’s record-breaking gang title Friend just two years later.


    While Korean thrillers became the standard vehicle of consumption for global Korean film fans in the early oughts, Attack The Gas Station! remains one of the few Korean comedies to have achieved cult status overseas. Buoyed by a frantic style of over-the-top humour that drew its comedy from a relatable (yet still locally specific) send-up of power structures, the film sidesteps the lost-in-translation obstacles that  prevent so many foreign-language comedies from traveling abroad.

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