On the outside, Hyeong-do (So Ji-sub) is a normal suit-and-tie, white collar executive who runs a division of a South Korean metal fabrication company. But in reality, he is a paid contract killer for a secret organization of hit men and is considered one of the best in the business. On a routine assignment one day, Hyeong-do defies orders and spares the life of a young assassin apprentice, and as a result, meets and falls in love with the boy’s mother, Su-yeon (Lee mi-yeon). This new relationship opens Hyeong-do’s eyes, and he imagines a peaceful and honest life free from bloodshed and violence. To the company, his decision to quit is the ultimate betrayal, and Hyeong-do is forced to lead a one-man battle against colleagues and friends who are now his enemies.
Ever watch a movie where one man can kill 10 or more people with his gun, bare hand, blunt tool and sharp stuff. This is that kind of movie but still entertaining because it use some kind of weird subject for killing movie. This film devotes the middle hour or so of its story to the retiring hit-man looking after the young protégé he was supposed to eliminate, and subsequently romancing and falling in love with his mom along the way. I’m game for a good romance story intermixed with my action, but the love angle here is poorly executed…it drags along & is too underwritten for you to engage yourselves into the romantic relationship between the hit-man & mother. There’s also some nonsense back story angle about how the mother was a former pop star/singer in her youth, and the hit-man was once the young love/star struck dork who delivered meals to her…this “sub” story was told via various flashbacks from the past, and it’s all terribly unnecessary to the romantic story in the present.
OK, so I focused more on the sub story then the real meat and potatoes. Sorry, I couldn’t help it. There are a few decent action set pieces here and there, but, this is not a balls to the wall action film by any means, and, those action scenes are few and far between. That’s not really the problem though…It’s mostly undermined by its weakly written retirement/romantic story (which should have been a highlight, instead of a detriment). My lasting impression of this film was that it was OK, but, it was also very disjointed and muddled down a bit by its lackluster screen writing. The lengths a person working for their company had to go through to resign, was astounding. Top it off with the murder of your love interest, you killing your mentor and your friends and colleagues all trying to kill you, made him snap. Now his determination to put it all to an end, made this one good plot movie.
Obviously, I can recommend a film with a good plot but lame subplot. Yes a killer may have a heart too…and show compassion…and even willing to help a young man have a new life and not follow in his footsteps. That said, A Company Man is a poor version of A Bittersweet Life. After you’ve seen it, it is just as quickly forgotten. Still, A Company Man is a neat movie, being able the fulfill its main objective of delivering a good piece of cinema and solid entertainment.