Thursday, May 9, 2013

Film Review: A Company Man (2012)

A Company Man (Review)
South Korea/2012
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

Everyday, Ji Hyeong-do (So Ji-sub) wears a suit and tie to work at a company - a hitman company disguised as a metal manufacturer. He has a very promising future in the company as he is considered the best contract killer around. However, the constant killing - particularly the killing of his co-workers - and Su-yeon, a woman he falls in love with, have him considering retirement. As his mind becomes preoccupied with resignation, Hyeong-do makes a few mistakes that make him the company's number one target.

The story in this film isn't 100% original, I understand that. However, it's very well told and immensely entertaining. A Company Man begins with a hit where Ji Hyeong-do is forced to kill a young rookie, Ra Hoon, after he finishes his job; the inner struggle and contemplation begins immediately. Hyeong-do is praised and promoted, but he continues to battle himself as he is sent to kill another co-worker. To add to his problems, Hyeong-do falls in love with Su-yeon, the mother of Ra Hoon; relationships that affect performance and the company is strictly forbidden. So, the hunt begins and ends in an action-packed third act; really a fantastically choreographed ending. The film really doesn't explore much of Hyeong-do's life before, or even during these events except for his relationship with Su-yeon; it does briefly go over the company's procedure, but only briefly, which I though was a minor issue. The story shares quite a few similarities to A Bittersweet Life; however, A Company Man is purely an action/thriller at heart, whereas A Bittersweet Life works as the same and a character study.

The film implements amazing action sequences throughout the story with the bulk of the action occurring during the final 30 minutes. The contract killings are performed with precision and swiftness, as expected coming from professionals. The close-quarter-combat is superbly choreographed, using both fist fights and knife fights; there is an amazing fight scenes that starts with bullets being fired (and dodged) in a driving car and ends on a highway with a knife vs. tie (yes, the clothing accessory) fight. The shootouts are equally intense.

The acting is great in the film. So Ji-sub is an amazing lead with his calm yet brutal performance - very reminiscent to that of Lee Byung-hun in A Bittersweet Life. The rest of the cast does a wonderful job; Kwak Do-won as Jong-tae, despite his limited screen time, is great as clumsy yet power-hungry boss. The editing is also fantastic in the film; however, one fight was a bit choppy with several inconsistent cuts in the middle of the fight. The cinematography is fantastic, as well
- it's great to see South Korean films shot at such a high quality. The music is also great, matching the tone of the film.

I own the first run South Korean Blu-ray of the film. The picture quality is superb; the audio quality is equally impressive. The slipcover is very high quality, and the case blu-ray case is see-through instead of the regular blue. The film has English subtitles, no English dub. Unfortunately, the special features do not have English subtitles.

Overall, A Company Man is a fantastic action film. The perfectly choreographed fights and the interesting story make this an amazing experience. Action fans will not be disappointed. I highly recommend a purchase of the South Korea Blu-Ray for collectors; I recommend a purchase of the cheaper U.S. Blu-ray, which releases August 27th, for fans of the action genre.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong Blood and Violence.

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