Pipeline is written and directed by Yu Ha, who made the erotica period drama A Frozen Flower (2008). But the name is certainly more synonymous with gangster films, thanks to titles such as A Dirty Carnival (2006) and Gangnam Blues (2015). So even in Pipeline, which explores the act of theft, the identity is still strong, while the uniqueness that is the attraction of a caper story/heist film he fails to show. Top Movie Site
Though the basic idea is quite interesting. Instead of money, gems, gold, or high-tech goods, oil becomes a target for theft. Meanwhile our protagonist, Pin Dol-yi aka “Drill-bit” (Seo In-guk), is a legendary figure who is known to be able to drill all kinds of oil pipes. His abilities reach the ears of Gun-woo (Lee Soo-hyuk), a businessman who asks Pin Dol-yi to carry out a massive oil heist. The team was formed. Besides Pin Dol-yi, there is Jeob-sae (Eum Moon-suk) the welder, Chief Na (Yoo Seung-mok) the geographer, Geun-sab (Tae Hang-ho) with the muscles, and the supervisor (Bae Da -son).
Looking at the description above, Pipeline already has an adequate team. In-depth characterization is not mandatory, as long as everyone has varying abilities, and several heads with opposite personalities to clash with. But in writing, Yu Ha seems to have not mastered the characteristics of the caper story, because throughout the duration, there are almost no “special performances”, where the skills of the characters are in the spotlight.
Dol-yi only once showed the reason why she was nicknamed “Drill-bit”. The rest, just ordinary drilling. Geun-sab is just a manual laborer, Chief Na often makes analytical mistakes while struggling with illness, Jeob-sae is practically useless and only exists to add to the conflict, while the character that Da-bin plays is just a sweetener.
The five personalities are not strong enough to give birth to the banter that characterizes the genre. It’s true that they often fight, but only to yell at each other. It’s not friction that serves to enrich the dynamics, or a source of entertainment (Yu Ha’s writing is too rigid). When a character’s fate finally leads to unity, it’s hard to believe it, let alone care about their fate. Best Movie
A theft-themed film is synonymous with style, and that’s not what the director has. Just as Dol-yi works in a tunnel in a suit, even though she presents a dirty oil theft, as a heist film, Pipeline should not lose its cool and elegant impression. At a minimum, this impression is present where each character shows off their respective skills. But what can you do, when the characters themselves don’t have skills to show off.
It’s not that Yu Ha isn’t trying to be stylish at all. Synth-based music in the style of heist films, to adrenaline-pumping rock is occasionally heard, even visual techniques such as crash zoom are sometimes used, but the impact is not much. Yu Ha is like a boomer who tries to look modern in the eyes of young people, by touting the term “millennial generation”, without knowing what it really means, and what they like.
But basically, he is still an experienced filmmaker. Style issues are successfully covered by solid pacing, so the 108 minutes duration is never (too) boring. Even the raw fights between gangs that define gangster films can still be found. Of course, the climax features a chaotic brawl, with humor here and there, like most popular South Korean action-comedies. Pipeline’s lack of success is a shame, considering that Seo In-guk, with his suit and charm, is clearly able to bring the stylish protagonist of a heist film to life. The potential he has shown through a drama entitled Squad 38 (2016). Movie Review