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Film / Attack the Gas Station!

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Attack the Gas Station! is a 1999 South Korean comedy film. A gang of four disaffected young men (No-Mark, Rockstar, Paint and Mad Dog), bored and fed up with their existence in urban South Korea, decide to rob a gas station they held up earlier that week (according to the title cards, either "Just because", or "For fun!"). When the spineless manager of the station lies to them about where the money is kept, they decide instead to hold the attendants hostage, fill the tank of anyone who comes in and pocket the money for themselves. As the night goes on, stranger and stranger things start happening to them, including run-ins with gangsters, politicians, angry delivery boys, a noisy car which keeps driving past, and the police.

Rule of Cool and Rule of Funny are in wide use here. This film could be considered a Lighter and Softer take on such crime comedies as Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, which is also about four small-time criminals who get in over their heads, although in a different way. At the same time, it features commentary on the socioeconomic and educational conditions of modern South Korea and the effects they have on its youth.


A sequel was released in 2010.

Tropes in Attack the Gas Station! include:

  • Abusive Parents: Paint's father, leading to Mood Whiplash.
  • Big Guy: Mad Dog.
  • Berserk Button: Several.
    • Don't harass the Delivery Boys too many times in an evening after the store is closed.
    • Paint's is pressed whenever he sees worker slogans, making him destroy them by any means necessary.
    • Rockstar needs his music.
    • Don't call Mad Dog stupid...
  • Catchphrase: Mad Dog during the Battle Royale: "JUST...ONE...GUY!"
    • Paint's cries of "I'm a genius!" also qualify
  • Delinquents, of the rarely-depicted Korean variety, which look a bit like Japanese 'yankees'.
  • Heroic Comedic Sociopath: The four mains, who take over a gas station because they were bored, and proceed to abuse the staff, though they get much better by the end. Potentially offputting.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: By the end of the film, every group who the four main characters have pissed off comes back looking to beat them senseless. Averted when all three groups fail.
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  • Karma Houdini: After all the damage the heroes caused, you would think they'd have some other repercussions than driving off into the sunset, wouldn't you?
  • Life Imitates Art: TOW: "During the question and answer session at a screening during the 2000 Vancouver International Film Festival, director Sang-Jin Kim indicated that the film inspired real-life copycats in South Korea."
  • Mexican Standoff: A four-way standoff, no less.
  • Mood Whiplash: The flashbacks are pretty depressing, despite the loud, cartoonish tone of the film. In fact, several points of the movie turn kind of dark, especially in context.
  • Musical Number: Rockstar forces four teenage gangsters to sing a capella outside the station.
  • Only Known By Their Nicknames: The four leads
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: JUST...ONE...GUY!
  • Refuge in Audacity: Just when you think it can't get any crazier, boom, here come the Delivery Boys.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue
  • Widget Series: Of the Korean variety.


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