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2006-01-11 - By Olivier Bonenfant

Note: 30% - Tube is South Korean action film with a promising look and some generous reviews. South Korea's movies are just insanely good since 2002. Diversified (Wonderful days, Lies), intense (Save the green planet, Sympathy for mister vangeance), and intelligent (Old Boy, JSA), South Korea's movies are different from American style but still are modern and groundbreaking. It's basically an american action movie, remixed the South Korean way; I had lots of hopes for it.



Tube give the impression that it has an improvised script from a 10 years old boy with his Legos. To be more precise, I would add that the legos are gold plated and that the 10 years old kid just watched Armaggeddon, Speed 1 et 2, Money Train and Die hard 2 and 3 back to back. Evidently, for a normal person, watching all these movie back to back probably causes brain damage and a profount will to make everything explode instantly. Tube is a film that tries hard to incorporate all the elements of these typical action movies and can also cause brain damage and a profount will to make everything explode instantly.

A terrorist under the name of Mister T (not kidding here) take an entire subway train hostage and says he'll kill everyone and make explode stations and a gas plant if the old prime minister doesn't suicide himself to pay for past crime and to end government corruption. The heroic cop (who will stay nameless for heroic purposes) doesn't follow police procedures and has a duel to finish with Mister T, who killed the cop's wife in the past. In fact, the heroic cop is a detective, turning him even more into a big cartoon. He never has a mendate or any offical documents; just enters and kicks everything, doesn't follow jurisdictions, hit superiors and other people from a tactical team, he doesn't talk much, he fights like with suspects on rush hour on the subway rails. He is also single and tries to stop smoking.

His characters is made up of SO MANY clichés I'm surprised anyone would stick to this "messy cop" formula so much.

But contrary to other archetypes in his genre, a really cute girl is trying to get more personal with him. She is also a bit strange, and certainly dumb; she is obsessed with him and goes even as far as entering illegally the cop's appartment to clean it up. Absolutely fantastic, we understand immediately that she'll be the chick to marry in this movie.

Like it also a common tradition in asian movies in general, the main characters are always in an identity quest; "Who am I? What is my place in life?" and such. The girl just gets furious for no reason and just pretends she get the feelings of all men by looking at their shoulders; this concept is just badly explained in the movie (english and french versions). These parts are completely ridiculous and feel forced; they don't enhance the dialogues that are as subtile as a spitter. As soon as there is danger, our hero is the first to run the marathon, fly through half of the city on a bike he stole from some guy and enters subways on his bike, just flying over the ticket machines, chasing down a train while up on the bike. He runs as fast as subway trains, sharpshoots with assault rifles and runs on top of trains at full speed.

But his foes is genious too! In the first 5 minutes of the movie, Mister T and his dumb sidekick kill an entire SWAT troup THAT WERE SURROUNDING THEM FROM 2 METERS!! Before everyone gets killed, not a single heavily trained SWAT guy has the time to shoot, or the reflex to shout "Drop your weapon, I'm like pointing at you since 15 minutes". The thing is, he made something explode in the background, instantly paralysing everyone so he kills them. Watching this scene just reminds me how believable Santa Claus really is. Mister T is always covered from bullet even in the middle of a 40 meters wide airport hall.

As soon as Mister T and his sidekick take hostage everyone in the subway train. The SWAT always execute dumb plans and die like idiots. It's sad that not a single person except the hero is able to take a good decision in this movie. I will just stop now as this enumeration of abberations could go on endlessly.

I was about to forget that neon lights are equipped with action detectors; they are working well and as soon as there is a gunfight, or just plain action neon lights start blinking EVERYWHERE.

This film doesn't make any sense and the dialogues are a total bore with dollar mart rants. Technically, as the unbelievable action is backed up big time by huge money; it shows. The visual quality is always good, camera angles are dynamic and evocative, the special effects are also top notch. The music track is effective and shows, again, lots of money spent. But I the same time, one can't ignore the fact that every tune seems to come from something like "Armaggeddon greatest hits" or "Michael Bay, suspence and action compilation". The romantic music come straight from hell... or the 80's.

Baek Woon-Hak, director, is probably full of talent, but found a way to cram as much unbelivable sequences that he could into this a poorly scripted and badly structured action flick.

2006-01-11 - By Olivier Bonenfant

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