Just finished watching Attack The Gas Station! (Juyuso Seupgyeok Sageun), a ’99 release helmed by Kim Sang Jin. I really enjoyed it. It’s definitely a 90s film, with a 90s aesthetic and feel and I get this despite the fact that it’s a Korean movie.

It’s a comedy at heart but there’s lots of fighting and satire/social commentary as well. 4 young punks decide that they’re gonna attack a gas station on a whim, most probably because they’re broke and whatever and at the start of the show, you’d obviously associate them as the bad guy element. By the end of it, they become the anti heroes you root for.

How the story pans out is a little ludicrous as element after element just perfectly falls into place for the next sequence to happen and it’s easy to see where things are heading. Still, you wanna see how it happens and why it does I guess. After a second robbery of the same gas station, they decide to take over for the night. However, they soon get bored and find different ways to amuse themselves. One guy’s into painting. Another is mad for music and yet another likes fighting. The leader though, is constantly having light bulbs go up in his head as he steers this rather absurd plot.

He hits upon the idea of making more money by using the gas station but forcing customers to pay for full tanks. Doing so brings more characters into play, not to mention the side acts like this stupid speeding car or a pair of dumb cops or a Chinese takeout guy. There’s also the ever increasing stable of hostages that started with the station owner and his 3 employees but expands to include school bullies, gangsters and some slut. Ultimately, their hijinks cause greater entanglements for the foursome and the story hits a literal flashpoint, which is pretty much the end of the show.

It’s not a deep movie, there’s really nothing to get. It’s a youth movie, one about how easy it is for misguidance to occur. It is a hella fun movie and in my mind, certainly one of the more distinctive Korean films I’ve watched that doesn’t involve eating live octopi or tears and drama. One for the anarchy lovers out there.

Apparently, there’s a sequel out 2010 by the same director too. The ’99 version has also inspired countless motorcycle gangs in Korea to actually attack gas stations. Probably not the intended result but well, I guess you could say it has legacy!

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