August 24, 2013

Attack the Gas Station! 2: A Gang Fight With Plenty of Punchlines

A sequel that comes ten years after the original movie has gotta suck, right? Wrong! Attack the Gas Station! 2 is every bit as funny as its predecessor. Actually, I take that back. It's funnier. Once again, director Kim Sang-jin focuses his comedy on four disaffected youths who love to brawl. This time, there's a soccer player (Jo Han-seon) who kicks heads, motorcycle helmets and lighters now that he's been booted off the national team; an obsessive video gamer (Jeong Jae-hoon) who lives out his fantasy life by fighting through the pain then inflicting it by biting ears; a fat stutterer (Moon Won-ju) who defends womanhood by lifting men onto his shoulders then spinning in circles before tossing them aside; and their leader (Ji Hyun-woo) who just likes to deliver a mean right hook. They're not the only brawlers in the movie either, which also features a biker gang, four wannabe punks, a busload of escaped convicts, a squadron of police, and a shady reporter who runs around in his underwear for most of the film.

The movie is filled with running gags like the humiliated journalist. There's also an aspiring robber (Baek Jong-min) who jump-ropes through much of the action, a room of ever-changing hostages who keep building a castle out of soda cans, a criminal (Park Sang-myeon) obsessed with the notion of justice, and a series of back stories that explain why each of the four main characters have grudges to bear. The final extended fight scene in which the rebel youths and the prisoners on the lam join forces is impressive in its ability to keep upping the ante. The tension surrounding whether diesel fuel is as inflammable as gasoline (or sesame oil, for that matter) gets more laughs than you've any reason to expect.

After watching such disappointing comedy sequels as Sex Is Zero 2 and Mapado 2 earlier this year, Attack the Gas Station! 2 proved a welcome reminder that some lunatic ideas are worth revisiting and remaking and reinventing.

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