Don't you just hate spoilers? I do, too. That's why I always try to include warnings. However, I sometimes ramble a bit too much here or there and maybe a few (or many) key plot points slip without me giving proper notice. So I'd like to include a blanket spoiler warning for the weary internet travelers of the world: Here There Be Spoilers. You've been warned.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Commitment (Dong-chang-saeng)

Forgive me for not posting. I've been a bit under the weather lately. I suppose some of it is physical, but a lot of it is mental. Work-related fun and all of that. I hinted at it before in a previous post, but for a while I've been going through a bit of a work-related depression. And it's really been killing my blogging skills. Of course, that's not to say I don't have a bunch of killer reviews coming up. The anime Kill la Kill, Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes, and the second volume of Dr. Slump should all get the Jacobian treatment before the end of the month. 

And I have a whole weekend off right now so I'm excited about that.

To get things started I suppose I'll post a review for a Korean film that I saw a few nights ago. This film stars the Korean hip-hop star that goes by the stage name of "T.O.P." His real name is Choi Seung-hyun. I'm really not a fan of hip-hop regardless of the language used, but this young fellow could have a future in acting if he was could improve upon his ability and choose movies that had more substance.

2013's Commitment follows the tried and true formula of the secret agent from the North trapped in South Korea against his will and betrayed by his country. That agent just happens to be one of the most popular artists in Korea in real life so it is kind of tough to take him seriously as this all around badass. I had the same problem when I was watching his role in the otherwise excellent Korean television drama Iris.

It's not that T.O.P. can't act. It's just that it seems like he's trying a bit too hard to seem like a badass. If he just toned it down a bit it would be easier to accept him as a leading actor. He's certainly chosen some pretty decent movies so far. Not great movies, but decent. His movies, like his abilities, are just missing that little bit that could really create a gap between the competition. 

That's not to say Commitment doesn't have its moments. There are some really good fight scenes and the ending is actually pretty satisfying because it doesn't go for the happy one. Unfortunately, some of the more political stuff kind of gets thrown out of the movie halfway through and that was kind of a disappointment. The underdeveloped storylines between Section 35 and 8 and the NIS become pointless when it is basically just T.O.P. vs. everyone the entire time and everyone knows it. It's a wasted opportunity. There's no muddying of the waters or complex characters relationships. Nope, it's a good guy vs. everyone type of movie without a lot of in depth reflection compared to many of the other Korean movies I have seen. 

And of course there's a love story thrown in. 

I did like the initial school setting. The idea of a secret spy from the North being forced to go to school in the South and try to hold back against the school bullies is a neat one, but it was quickly dropped and forgotten about. I thought a bit more could have been done with that. The school setting just served as the setup for T.O.P. to meet his love interest. So it was plot device and nothing more as far as that was concerned. 

Yoon Je-moon was pretty good as the main NIS agent, but other than that there really isn't a lot of heavy lifting on the acting front. 

Commitment is a fairly decent popcorn movie. It doesn't carry that weight of, say, The Man from Nowhere, but it's still pretty good. It just could have been a lot better. 

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