Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Review: A Company Man (2012)

A Company Man (Review)
Lim Sang-yoon/So Ji-sub/2012
Where To Watch:
Netflix Streaming
Amazon Prime

"...the perfect time-killer."

Hyeong-do (So Ji-sub) is a hitman for a business disguised as a metal production company. Very skillful and dedicated to his work, Hyeong-do begins to have an internal conflict concerning his lifestyle...

A Company Man continues as Hyeong-do begins “slacking” at work after he meets and falls for a single mother – the mother of a young colleague he was forced to assassinate. Aside from falling in love, Hyeong-do also struggles with the morals that surround his job, or the lack thereof. He simply lacks the fulfillment in his life and strives for more. But, the company won't let him go without a fight. A simple and even a bit cliché story, A Company Man reaches an action-packed climax and bittersweet ending.

A Company Man is an action-thriller with some romance elements. The story, as explained above, is very simple and treads familiar territory – A Company Man is in no way a groundbreaking film. But, that doesn't make the film bad. In fact, the simplicity of the story really helps create a blockbuster, popcorn action film vibe, and it becomes a bit more effective than your typical action film thanks to the romance elements. In other words, it's a film that you can jump right into and enjoy it's versatility. On that note, the action ranges from some great close-quarters-combat and a few shootouts. The fight sequences are the best part of the film, especially the scene on the freeway. The character development, the fighting, the shooting, and the romance all blend together to create a balanced film. Furthermore, the pacing is great and the runtime is short – the perfect time-killer.

So Ji-sub plays a very quiet and calculated character – his performance isn’t one of energy, but rather one of complex yet subtle emotion – definitely a great leading man. Lee Mi-yeon also stars in this film as the love interest, and she eases into a very natural performance. The acting is otherwise great. The music was the most original part of the film, really, it had a different sound but worked well with the action. The film is also well shot. The action choreography, particularly the fight sequences, were fantastic. But, some of these scenes feel over-edited; there are so many cuts and zooms during these scenes that it occasionally creates a choppy and inconsistent fight. Director and writer Lim Sang-yoon plays it safe; the direction gets the job done – it's even exemplary during the action – but the story never strives to be more than good enough, more than just a frame for the action.

Overall, A Company Man is a great action film. I watched this film for the first time almost a year ago, and it's still a very entertaining entry in the genre – that's what I call music replay value. It may not be the most original action film, especially in the story department, but the rest of the film is exceptional.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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