Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
A Company Man: Lifetime Employment
killing is one of the few recession-proof industries. Given the illusive nature of our economic
recovery, it probably won’t be long before the administration starts doing
photo ops with the Assassination Bureau.
At least, murder-for-hire is still illegal in Korea, but it is a tough
racket to quit. On the plus side, there
will be a whole lot of openings at Ji Hyeong-do’s firm by the time he finishes
resigning in Lim Sang-yun’s A Company Man
releases on digital, DVD, and BluRay today, from Well Go USA.
is on the fast track. His people skills
are not great, but he has other talents the firm’s president values highly. His upward career trajectory will hit a few
speed bumps when two rather messy assignments start gnawing at his
conscience. First, Ji must dispose of Ra-hun,
a young “temp” who thought he was in the management trainee program, after the
kid caps a sensitive target. To make
matters worse, Ra-hun’s struggling single mother happens to be Yoo Mi-yeon, the
one-hit wonder teen idol Ji always had warm fuzzy feelings for.
Ji starts looking after Yoo and her teen-aged daughter, the president tasks him
with “taking care” of Jin Chae-hook, his former superior who has gone AWOL
after the accidental death of his son.
Suddenly, Jin has a lot to say to Ji, which he does not want to hear,
even though he more or less knows it all already. Wanting to start a new life with Yoo, Ji
decides to resign from the firm. Right,
good luck with that.
the corporate hitman-gangster thing has become a pretty shopworn movie cliché in
the post-Sopranos era. Lim adds little insight into either the world
of the salaryman or the contract killer.
However, he racks up quite an impressive body count. While the middle gets a little draggy as Ji slowly
starts putting the moves on Yoo, the set-up is smooth and grabby and the third
act delivers in spades. Company was a monster hit at the Korean
boxoffice, so you know you can take happily-ever-after off the table. Popular Korean audiences just seem to dig a
bit of tragedy. Nevertheless, the big climax
well exceeds viewer expectations with a massive dose of violent action. It is not exactly John Woo’s Hard-Boiled, but it provides a good,
stiff fix for genre fans.
Ji, Rough Cut star So Ji-sub moves
like a shark through his action scenes and broods like he really means
business. Lee Mi-yeon nicely
counterbalances the regiment of jaded sociopaths as the effervescent, but not overly
perky Yoo. Amid all the dark suits, Kwak
Do-won also makes an effectively loathsome villain as the firm’s petty
micromanaging second in command.
Viewers in a hurry can probably get away with
watching the first ten minutes of Company
and then fast forwarding to the last half hour. Indeed, when Lim fully unleashes the mayhem
it is kind of awesome. A safe bet recommendation
for action fans, A Company Man is now
available for home viewing options from Well Go USA.
Labels: DVD, Korean Cinema