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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Tube (2003)

"Under Siege, Underground."
- tagline

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: May 12, 2004

Stars: Seok Hun-Kim, Sang Min-Park, Duo-Nae Ba
Director: Baek Woon-Hak

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: R for violence, language
Run Time: 01h:42m:13s
Release Date: April 20, 2004
UPC: 043396028067
Genre: action

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A C-BB- C+

DVD Review

For anyone who enjoys films featuring nonstop action with guns that never seem to run out of bullets, Tube may be the film on which all others will be based from this point forward. There's lots of stylized action that has not been seen in Asian cinema since the days of John Woo's Hard Boiled and The Killer. And like Woo's work, Tube is much more than just a standard action film; the presence of tight direction and above-average acting make it memorable.

Detective Jay (Kim) spends every day attempting to track and find a deadly terrorist known as "T" (Park) to put an end to a long plague of violence. In the opening scenes, we see T's wrath as he lays waste to civilians and cops in a crowded airport while attempting to murder a high level government official.

After the incident at the airport Jay returns to the day-to-day grind of locating T and working the beat in Seoul's subway system. When he meets a pickpocket named Kay (Du-na), she becomes infatuated with him, which he ignores because his previous love was murdered by T in cold blood. When Kay sees T and an associate board a subway train, she follows them. Soon T announces his plans to blow up the train unless his demands are met, and it is up to Jay to stop him once and for all.

For all-out action, Tube fills the bill with its slick camera work during what seems like a million action set pieces, but the film suffers from a poor screenplay. The direction by Baen Woon-Hak has such a kinetic feel that, when combined with the slick visuals, the story moves like a bullet across the screen. But the writing fills the screen with characters that are one dimensional, and a love story that uselessly occurs during the second and third acts feels trite and unnecessary.

Tube borrows heavily from numerous Hollywood blockbusters including elements of Speed, Die Hard and largely The Taking of Pelham One, Two, Three in its setting and use of a subway as a location for a terrorist attack. While the central plot is reminiscent of the previously mentioned films, the characters act like those you would find in nearly every big budget action film ever made. The guns never seem to need to be reloaded, a fatal shot is absorbed by an heirloom kept in the pocket of the intended victim, and the seemingly endless number of police officers are seen as incompetent and devoid of any skill or knowledge. And yet after all of these flaws, the film still manages to be hugely entertaining.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer for Tube fails to do service to the visuals offered by the filmmakers. There is a lot of grain throughout with slight edge enhancement in numerous spots. Colors are done nicely with only a bit of bleeding evident. The darkly lit scenes in the subway fail to offer any sort of depth, but they are far from being horrible.

Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Koreanyes
Dolby Digital
English, Frenchyes

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 Mix is offered as an English dub, while the original Korean track is provided only in Dolby Surround. I watched the film with the original Korean track and while the English dub offers more enveloping sound, the Korean mix does a fine job, too. Surround use is almost always a factor with a a lot of gunfire and ambient sounds coming from the rear speakers. Dialogue is crisp and clear with no distortion, and the left and right speakers provide nice bass as well as other effects.

Audio Transfer Grade: B-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Korean, Thai, Spanish with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: A basic look at the making of the film is offered with English subtitles, and while it is informative it is largely redundant and rather boring. Clips from the film are cut together with interviews with the cast and crew as they discuss locations, the grueling stunt work, and finally their admiration for the material and their peers.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Tube is an exercise in exciting filmmaking. The action is intense and the heroes incredibly resilient and bright. In many ways it's a great action film.


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