A Company Man (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
August 22, 2013 by Dennis Amith
“A Company Man” is an entertaining Korean action thriller with a revenge plot that is visually entertaining although banal. But as long as you don’t expect anything too deep and are movie fans who love action, “A Company Man” is a popcorn action film worth watching!
TITLE: A Company Man
FILM RELEASE: 2012
DURATION: 96 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 16:9 Widescreen, Korean DTS-HD MA 5.1 and Stereo, Subtitles: English
COMPANY: Well Go USA Entertainment
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Directed by Sang-yoon Lim
Written by Sang-yoon Lim
Producer as Hyun-ju Oh, Jeong Yong-wook, Jeong-hun You
Executive Producer as Jeong-hun You
Music by Mowg
Cinematography by Hyung-deok Lee
Edited by Na-young Nam
Production Design by Heyon-Seok Choi
Costume Design by Na-hyung Kim
Ji-seob So as Ji Hyeong-do
Mi-yeon Lee as Yu Mi-yeon
Do Won Kwak as Gwon Jong-tae
Dong-jun Kim as Ra Hun
Gook-hwan Jeon as Chairman Jeon
Kyeong-yeong Lee as Ra Bo-seul
Eun-ah Jang as Assistant Manager Seo Min-hui
Ha-bok Yu as Director Jin Chae-guk
Jin-woo Park as Detective Jo Myeong-deok
Seo-won Kim as Detective Choo Min-woo
Dae-yong Jeong as Chief
Hyeong-do (SO Ji-sub) is a professional killer working for a company specializing in contract murders. Fronted as an ordinary metal trading company, killing is nothing more than daily business dealings here. Hyeong-do is one of the firm’s best killers and a loyal employee. One day, he is assigned on a job with a newbie, Hun (KIM Dong-jun), who is supposed to be killed afterwards. Before meeting his fate, Hun asks Hyeong-do to pass the money he saved up for his family. After much hesitation, Hyeong-do visits Hun s house and meets Hun’s mother, Mi-yeon (LEE Mi-youn) who turns out to be a one-hit wonder singer Hyeong-do used to adore as a teenager. After meeting her, he starts dreaming about a normal life. In the meanwhile, the company discovers that Hyeong-do didn t kill Hun as ordered. Hyeong-do, who now hopes to start a new life with Mi-yeon, finds himself being hunted down by his colleagues.
From director Lim Sang-yoon comes a film about revenge titled “A Company Man”, which comes out Blu-ray courtesy of Well Go USA Entertainment in August.
The Korean action thriller stars actor So Ji-seob (“Sophie’s Revenge”, “Phantom”), Lee Mi-yeon (“Addicted”, “Typhoon”, “Indian Summer”) and Jeon Gook-hwan (“I Saw the Devil”, “The Bow”).
“A Company Man” revolves around a Ji Hyeong-do (portrayed by So Ji-sub). Judging by his suit and tie, on the outside, Ji Hyeong-do seems like a company man, but in reality, the company, New Continental Metal Incorporated, that deals with metal fabrications is actually a front for an organization for a group of trained assassins. Ji Hyeong-do happens to be one of the top assassins and one of the most loyal hit man in the company.
During one mission, Ji Hyeong-do and a young temp named Hyin Yee attempted to make a delivery where undercover police officers are located. But we see the young temp gun down all police officers and when he goes to leave the building, his partner, Ji Hyeong-do throws him off the stairs and plans to kill him.
When Hyin Yee asks for why he would betray him, he asks the trained killer for one last wish and that is to give money he saved up to his family. Hyeong-do goes to his mentor, a former manager (portrayed by Lee Geung-young) and tells him about the young man’s request and all his manager can tell him is to do his work, keep on earning the money and retire.
We learn that killing the temp was a plan set in motion by Ji Hyeong-do’s company but one thing that Hyeong-do is about to do, is fulfill the young man’s wish by taking the money to his sick mother and sister.
When Hyeong-do takes the money, he finds out that the temp, Hyin Yee’s mother is Yu Mi-yeon, a former pop star that Heong-do absolutely loved listening to as a teenager. And we learn through flashbacks that he was a big fan of her musical work but most importantly, we learn that he did not kill the temp Hyin Yee, he actually hid him, got him medical care and literally went against his company’s orders.
And now Hyeong-do has a change of heart about wanting to kill people and wants to live a normal life. He feels that he is falling for Yu Mi-yeon and wants to retire from the company.
But for the company, no one can quit or retire. And the next thing Ji Hyeong-do will learn is that by leaving the company or not following orders, makes him a target.
Can Ji Hyeong-do protect the people most important to him and most importantly, stay alive?
“A Company Man” is presented in 1080p High Definition and presented in widescreen (2:39:1 aspect ratio). The film looks absolutely beautiful with outdoor scenes are shown as vibrant, indoor scenes still looking very good and warm. While inside Jeong-do’s working area is dark and features low-light. Overall picture quality in HD looks very good with no banding or artifact issues.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“A Company Man” is presented in Korean DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio and stereo. I felt the film could have been much more immersive especially during the more action intense sequences but for the most part, dialogue and music is crystal clear through the center and front channels.
Subtitles are in English.
“A Company Man” comes with the following special features:
- Making Of – (4:30) A short making of feature showing behind-the-scenes footage from “A Company Man”.
- Trailer – (1:47) The theatrical trailer for “A Company Man”.
“A Company Man” comes with a slipcover.
An entertaining action thriller from beginning to end, “A Company Man” may have the banality of similar films about jilted assassins who becomes a target of his own organization.
While the storyline has been done before, what separates it is the character of Ji Hyeong-do going from trained killer to a happier man who finds himself dating the pop star he loved when he was a teenager. Of course, for those familiar with Asian cinema, let alone Korean cinema, should know by now that most often, there is no silver lining, no happy ending for most of these darker Korean films. So, what ends up keeping the viewer glued to the actual film is its action sequences.
In some way, the film reminded me of a reverse Jason Bourne, a one man killing machine going against the organization that tries to kill him. And while a popcorn action film which will no doubt attract viewers thanks to the casting of actor So Ji-seob, for filmmaker and writer Lim Sang-yoon, “A Company Man” is a juxtaposition of Korea’s corporate culture and how the culture demands loyalty from its employees and how it compares to the employees who take on shady yet tragic missions.
While the lighthearted moments were fun and humorous and the action-scenes were fast and furious, the overall film while entertaining is somewhat hindered by Hyeong-do’s stoic style. He’s a man of few words, man of few emotions and for other films similar to “A Company Man”, those films try to thrive on loss and tragedy by using the emotions of the character to show how he is deeply affected. But Hyeong-do is not emotional, he barely says a thing, aside from “I’m Sorry”, most of his words are with the pop star of his dreams. And even then, his words are sparse with her. I’m sure So Ji-seob fans will find it cute and amusing but for those wanting to see more anguish from the character, you’re not going get that much from him. He’s not exactly emotionless but he does fit the role of stoic character, one man army.
As for the Blu-ray release, you do get a short making of and a trailer. Picture quality for the most part is very good, while the soundtrack is not immersive but the dialogue and music is crystal clear and the action sequences do sound good and features good dynamic range, but I just want a bit more use of the surround channels for the action sequence.
Overall, “A Company Man” is an entertaining Korean action thriller with a revenge plot that is visually entertaining although banal. But as long as you don’t expect anything too deep and are movie fans who love action, “A Company Man” is a popcorn action film worth watching!
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