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Tube
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Availability:

DVD (USA)
Region 1 NTSC
Columbia/Tri-Star Home Video
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean Dolby Digital 2.0
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English Subtitles

DVD (Korea)
Region 3 NTSC
KD Media
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Korean Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 6.1
Removable English and Korean Subtitles
Various extras


 
Year: 2003
Director: Baek Woon-Hak
Cast: Kim Suk-Hoon, Bae Doo-Na, Park Sang-Min, Son Byung-Ho, In Hyun-Shik, Kim So-Hyun, Sa Hyun-Jin
The Skinny: Korean "Die Hard on a subway train" flick that can entertain, but pretty much in the same way that most cookie-cutter Hollywood crap does. Watchable glossiness is all that can possibly save this ridiculous and all-out silly action film.
Review
by Kozo:
     If you need more proof that Korea is becoming Hollywood East then you should look no farther than Tube, a glossy, tense, but thoroughly ridiculous action-thriller that apes Hollywood with almost rabid glee. Handsome Kim Suk-Hoon is Detective Jay, who's a "cop that breaks all the rules." Tortured by the murder of his wife by evil bastard T (Park Sang-Min, oozing charismatic menace), Jay fills his days chewing on an unlit cigarette (only his wife is supposed to light it for him) and basically looking for a way to bust T.
     Jay gets yet another chance when T decides to hijack subway train 7301, a newly-christened model that houses 1000 passengers, including the local mayor. T takes the train hostage because he wants certain corrupt government guys to give up the goods, which is a plot detail which sounds edgy and cool, but only if you buy that it actually matters. Sure, it gives reasons for the government to actually want car 7301 to go kablooey, but it doesn't relate to the any central plot, nor does it help Jay exact his long-desired vengeance. It also doesn't help cute-as-hell pickpocket Kei (Bae Doo-Na) to bag Jay, who she desires in a Faye Wong-Tony Leung Chungking Express kind of way. Having stolen his bag, she gets access to his apartment, and free reign to delve into his life.
     However, instead of using the time to clean up his place and replace his personal goods, Kei notices the wanted sign of T on Jay's wall. So, when T shows up to take the subway, Kei conveniently can call up Jay and get him to the train in time, which means riding through the subway station on an offroad bike like the public menace that most "cops who break all the rules" usually are. What follows is a tense series of negotiations and encounters that are actually somewhat suspenseful—when they don't tax the believability meter.
     Sadly, the believability meter gets taxed far too often for any discerning moviegoer to really overlook. Tube comes straight from the Jerry Bruckheimer school of filmmaking, meaning egregiously manufactured backstory, illogical events that allow for glossy action scenes, and screenwriting that sounds cooler than it really is. When first confronted by other cops with a "Who is this guy?" question, Jay responds with "I'm not sure who I am." Bwahaha! It would be okay if such dialogue actually had meaning, but it's just trite hard-boiled crap that really has no relation to what's happening onscreen. Yeah, Jay is tortured, but that's pretty much a plot detail that exists to make him seem tragic or larger than life. It really does nothing for the film as a whole.
     Adding to this is the insipid love subplot involving Bae Doo-Na. An able, charismatic actress, Bae is wasted in a token female role that just isn't interesting or compelling. Her love for Jay involves all sorts of existential musing about good memories or whatnot, but really, the characters should just quiet down and get on with the ass kicking. A tense nailbiter like Tube would be better served by a stripped-down, sleek narrative that goes straight for action. Instead, we have standard subplots that are meant to add emotion, but only seem out of place instead.
     Add to the above the sometimes ludicrous action scenes (Two guys in a train versus a whole SWAT team? And they don't even get touched?) and even funnier mounting threats (Oh no, the runaway train is headed for...a nuclear power plant!), and Tube can't be anything but standard Hollywood-wannabe action fare. The film is glossy and well-produced enough for Hollywood, and features one of those pulse-pounding Armageddon-like soundtracks. Director Baek Woon-Hak does possess the ability to create servicable cinematic tension, but the overall product can only rate as average to insultingly manufactured. Some people might watch Tube and say, "Hey, it's not bad! It's got some cool action!" They wouldn't be entirely wrong, as the film does possess some good action. But when the rest of the film is so dumbed-down and Hollywood-aping, is that really enough? (Kozo 2004)
 
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