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Tube (KOREA 2003)

Director : Baek Woon-Hak
Cast : Seok-hun Kim, Sang-min Park, Du-na Bae and Oh-jung Kwon

When a former undercover agent takes a crowded subway hostage, one detective must risk it all by facing the terrorist in a deadly showdown.

by Edward Tang

When you see a film that is compared to others in this fashion “In the same game as Speed and Under Siege, comes this rip roaring action packed film straight for South Korea!”, just avoid it like the f*ckin’ plague. They tried to hard with that line, but I’m still a sap, and knowing that Korea has produced some good action films (Namely Shiri), this one was a no-brainer considering the low price tag. Through the notion that some films can be crap but still be “entertaining” can be used in many categories, I”m afraid “Tube” falls a little bit short. I don’t know what this film tried to accomplish, because it wasn’t a fast-paced film. There were many parts that were trying to build this dramatic side to the characters, which just didn’t do anything for the time at hand. Sure it’s like Speed and Under Siege, it successfully takes their plot and characters and makes them even worse! Alas, the action sequences weren’t that good at all, there were two in general that involved big bitch machine guns and thousands of slugs being sprayed all over the place, but they looked sloppy and belong in the “visited territory” box.

The story is basically a cliche if I have ever seen one. Renegade Cop Jay is basically your typical hero. This time, they included two of the cliched aspects into his character: one being the fact that he doesn’t follow rules, the other is that his wife was killed by the main bad dude. So basically we enter the film and are given a pretty good gun battle, with the terrorist T and his cronies. After this, we learn that Jay and T are bitter enemies, both hate each other and so on. So Jay meets Kay (a girl) and they somewhat form a relationship. See here’s the part where I lost interest, they form some sort of relationship that doesn’t go anywhere, since Jay still has a hard erection for his dead wife. Pointless and pathetic, but whatever. So T takes over a train, Jay of course gets on this train, and shit happens. Basically we find the conclusion sitting on our shoulders, of Jay having to kill himself to save a bunch of worthless people.

There is a side plot that involves one of the train workers and his girlfriend, which never amounts to anything other than a tearful hug at the end. There’s something that is used during the story of a microchip that has a bunch of evidence on it that can put away some guy for life. The story is pretty typical but some of the paths they cross just don’t add up to anything. There’s a decent fight scene with T and Jay, which ends with T almost falling out of the train with Jay holding on. T lets go of Jay’s shirt and falls under the train, but we never see a body. I’m sure he died, but the way they shot it gave me the feeling that he survived. Whatever the case may be, I didn’t really like how they did that particular scene. They also abused the voice over, with that attractive bitch Kay and how she rambles on about nothing. I think somewhere down the road voice-over should be banned, because when done wrong, it really sucks. Guess what? It sucks in this!

Ah the one salvation in this film could be the action sequences, but once again they are a bunch of cliched sequences that showcases nothing new. The main characters never miss or are never hit, maybe in the arm but never deadly. T and Jay fighting was nothing to look forward to, they throw each other around and do a bunch of emotional “YOU KILLED MY WIFE” crap and just nothing special. The beginning gun fight in particular reminded me of the 1995 film entitled Heat (Starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino) although the one in Heat was better. But alas, the scenes just couldn’t do anything to make themselves unique. There was a familiar bike chase, a familiar stunt jumping off the bike and onto the train, which just goes to show that those things have been done too often. Just to mention this, the musical score seemed so typical to something you’d find in an overdone action film that’s 100 million dollar budget doesn’t save it from being a horribly directed and written film.

As for the cast, nobody stood out. The group of hostages on the train seemed to be piled on from different films as well, giving some of them a little bit of a backstory and a little more importance than they should deserve. I have a question for all of you out there, would you even think about trying to wrestle a terrorist to the floor in a life or death situation? Yeah I figured as such, nobody would waste their time, and yet once again, there are still stupid people who try to accomplish such goals. Jay, Kay and T are the three main characters, all of whom don’t do anything to establish themselves as hated or loved. T played the typical bad guy, not speaking that much but still can handle one hell of a machine gun. Kay looked good but she was annoying, especially her rambling over the VO. Then we get to Jay, a guy who lost his wife and now wants T dead, what shall he do? Like I said, we have the typical cast, all right up to the guy who doesn’t believe in the plan that will sacrifice the people on the train to save others.

Basically you have a crappy film that if you can’t find anything else, it makes for a solid night of average entertaining if intoxicated. If you aren’t, I suggest straying away and going toward the films that it stole from, or hell why not just rewatch Shiri? Find something better to do with your time rather than take this bad boy on, because it just isn’t anything special.

Plot : 1/5
Acting : 2/5
Entertainment : 2/5
Overall : 2/5

Notable Scenes
- The lousy shootout in the beginning

Buy this movie at YesAsia – Tube

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