A Company Man (2012) Poster

(2012)

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7/10
Corporate family is no family at all
thisjustinsherman22 May 2014
An impressive movie. More than just a crime-thriller/action flick, this film takes a hard look at the Korean/Asian work-ethic, underlining the dangerously soulless nature of 'Corporate Family'. That's what The Company featured in this film is, beyond it's cover as metal-traders and its hidden, darker nature. The young field employees all see their Boss as a father-figure, "I love you, boss." the literal mantra of their interactions with him, something they say with such casual ease as to suggest this is, in fact, a relatively common way to greet your boss in South Korea. The lieutenant of the Boss, who doles out and reviews 'assignments', is like the jealous older brother; his position assured by the hierarchy, but his self-worth frequently challenged by the skills of his underlings, for which he punishes them frequently, and for which they desperately apologize. The protagonist is immersed in this family, seeing it as his life entire. He truly does love his boss, and his devotion to The Company borders on the absolute. As he leaves youth behind however, crisis of conscience begin to afflict him. He begins to question the worth of his own assignments, the value of the lives he's taking, and more and more he comes to feel that living should mean something more, and his love and devotion to a Company so callous and cruel has been gravely, woefully misplaced.

It's rare to find this kind of social commentary hovering over an action/thriller film, and I found it to be treat. It gives one a window into a way of living that one otherwise might only hear about, and explores the emotional anxieties surrounding that way of living in a gripping, often very heartfelt way. There's plenty of blood, violence and gun-play to keep the viewer entertained, but the deeper themes running through it provoke real sympathy and hard thought in those receptive to such things. The catharsis of the film, the 'redemption' of the protagonist, comes in the simple form of a conscious decision to smile; to seek happiness over professionalism. It's an odd moment, hard to place in time and setting, but a potent and highly uplifting one.
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6/10
The story of a hit-man in a modern corporate world.
cremea16 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
A Company Man is 2012 Korean movie about a contract killer operating in a modern day corporate structure. It is an action drama.

SPOILERS AHEAD!

The film stars So Ji-sub as Hyung-do. Hyung-do is white collar worker employed at the corporate office of a metal works company. He's a loyal mid-management type who's married to his job, and, he goes about his daily 9-5 routine as so many other people do in this world. He also happens to be a professional assassin, as is, apparently, everyone else at the entire office he works at. This a legit company with typical business concerns, but they also kill people. There are several dozen people or so that work for this company, and everybody working here is well aware of the company's dual purpose. From the chairman on down to the receptionist at the front desk, everybody has their part to play in making sure the company is a success on both fronts.

There must be a lot of people that need to be killed in Korea, in order for a corporation such as this to have sprung up to be outsourced to handle all the contract killing work that's seemingly available. While the existence of such a company as this is hard to fathom, it does provide for somewhat of an interesting dynamic here; office politics, personal employee interactions, and the like, are on display (just as within any small to mid-size company work environment the world over). There's board meetings, company retreats, promotions vied for, office parties, etc. It's one big happy work/family that seems perfectly content with what they're doing.

It's an odd and intriguing premise to watch play out, one that posits a work environment where conversations generally go something like this: "Hey, Good job everyone on getting that shipment of girders out to Japan on schedule." "Let's all welcome back Mrs. Kim from maternity leave." "Mr. So, you're late for knife fighting practice." "Project team B, we need that cost analysis on the Jeju project asap." "Today is Ms. Bae's birthday party." "Now, everyone be on time tomorrow, cause we have lots of people to execute this week." It is strange.

Hyung-do is a rising star in the company, and its best assassin, He's tiring of the "corporate grind" involved with his job however, and he's also becoming more & more sentimental with the people he's continually charged with killing off. Eventually, he wants to "retire" from the business, but as one would imagine, this is a company that is somewhat difficult to extricate one's self from on your own terms.

It's not hard to figure out where this all headed from there. But before that happens, the 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. Spend some money on a second unit writing team will you?

Eventually, you arrive to the climax of the story, then revenge & bloodshed ensue!

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. What action scenes there are, albeit well done, 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.

Bottom Line: 6 to 7 range. It's a 6 star film IMO. Not mandatory. Watchable though.
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8/10
underrated , very entertaining but not a must see.
killahdelfin9 February 2013
5.8 ?! Are you kidding me ? I bet the ratings were given by women disappointed in the love-line of the story.I in the contrary was superbly entertained : Excellent cinematography , acting , action , sound and a story , which can be labeled as unique in the ocean of a pro-killer falls in love-wants retirement-pisses-his-employers-off-movies. To my great relief the focus wasn't placed on love but on THE company , something I never saw before. A corporation masked as yet another unit of the ,,normal '' business world. Bureaucracy , business meetings and boring office work ? HEll NO! Suits , guns and office women in tight skirts with the ability to kill you under the blink of an eye , coworkers aka. a deadly wolfspack ; ready to turn the back on you if the money is right ? H-E-L-L Y-E-A-H ! ! ! And this exact atmosphere makes this film very enjoyable. But the main highlight is the charismatic Ji-Sub So as the silent killer ,managing to draw compassion in spite being a murderer-for-money.

A Company Man is a neat movie , being able the fulfill its main objective of delivering a good piece of cinema and solid entertainment , but it lacks that little ,, something '' to make it memorable forever.

( But fans of heroic bloodshed can't skip it!)
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6/10
Entertaining but just isn't all that memorable
KineticSeoul10 May 2013
This is actually a entertaining flick that combines different movie elements into one and pull it off for the most part. It seemed like it combined movies like "A Bittersweet Life", "Wanted", "RED" and maybe even a bit from the film "Fight Club". Never the less despite how wacky and silly this movie gets(intentional or unintentional) it's still a entertaining flick. It just not a very memorable flick but a decent way to pass the time. Although many things in this movie has been done before it's still a decent rehash I guess because I just wasn't really bored with this movie. So Ji-Sub really drives this movie as this charismatic and cool killer that works for a company full of assassins with special sets of skills. So Ji-Sub's style of fighting is not only entertaining but slick and cool. Also the the duel with him and a knife wielding office chick is one of the highlight of this flick. Although there are some areas where they could have gone more ahead with and some aspects of this film seemed rushed and underdeveloped. It's still a watchable flick, even just the climax itself makes it worth a watch. If you like this movie check out "A Bittersweet Life" which is a more gritty and realistic film that has some similar elements as this one.

6.9/10
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8/10
A Company Man Review: I'm a fan!
Prashast_Singh9 February 2017
Movie: A Company Man

Rating: 4/5

South Korean filmmakers have been impressing me constantly since they package their action-thrillers with world class stuff. Such is the So Ji- sub starrer action thriller A COMPANY MAN. Terrific action and well portrayed emotions along with some surprisingly amazing visual effects: that's what makes this film complete.

So Ji-sub is a good actor and that needs not to be told to his fans. But those who don't know him would need his introduction for sure. He is superb in the emotional sequences and uses his voice as an instrument to show his character. He does a stupendous job in the action sequences, which forms the film's highlight. Rest others, since I don't know their names, do a great job too.

The story and screenplay both are quite good, and the film is quite fast paced too. With a runtime of merely 96 minutes, thee film wins over you completely. The music is good. Cinematography, editing, dialogues are all good.

The only thing one might find as a glitch is that the film resembles A BITTERSWEET LIFE in some portions. Both were about the same kind of heroes and some elements do match. But at the end of the day, both films are quite different from each other. The film is quite dramatic in the beginning but later on builds the required tension with momentum.

Overall, A COMPANY MAN is yet another impressive South Korean action thriller that makes me say, "Go for it, I'm going to watch it again!".
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8/10
Company Man
kosmasp1 April 2013
The only thing these Company Men have in common with the other Company Men (movie with Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and more), is that they're struggling to survive after they are fired. On a more serious note though: This is a really good action drama, with a central performance that is understated and played very small.

Of course you have to wait quit a bit for action pieces, after an initial amazing stung at the beginning of the movie. But while it is foreseeable most of the times, it does deliver on everything it promises. There is over dramatization a few times, but you'll either accept it as part of the movie or just hate it happening. Depends on your own view.
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8/10
Korean John Woo
ChuckJorris13 April 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Movies like this one are the reason, why i nowadays watch korean thriller and action movies instead of the usual Hollywood productions (Fast & Furious, Transformers, sequel after Sequel, remake after remake...).

The plot of this movie isn´t new or original. A professional killer falls in love with a woman and gets a conscience. He wants to stop killing people, wants to quit his "job" and gets him and his sweetheart in big trouble...

What IS new and original is the realisation of this plot. The killer is neither a lone wolf like "Leon" nor the stereotypical psychopath. He is played by Ji-seob So as an average, hard working employee, who goes to work everyday like everybody else. The difference between Ji and other employees is that his workplace is just a sham company, behind a secret door the protagonist and his colleagues meet the boss to plan their discrete and deadly assignments.

Killing people is just a job for Ji. He kills some people at work, after work he irons his shirt for the next day, he lifes a quiet life and is looking forward to his next promotion. One of the great aspects of the movie is to show the callous routine of the young protagonist and his colleagues, going to work everyday, killing people everyday... It´s just business.

Mi-yeon Lee plays an middle aged woman, who was a famous singer and the crush of Ji, when he was a kid. As they meet again, Ji falls in love with her again and wants to leave the company to start a new life. But he fails to protect her and her family from the company. She gets killed by company man after a shootout. Her death in front of her children is tragic and could not be more "anti-Hollywood".

Ji avenges her death in a fantastic gunfight, that i want to compare to the Hongkong action flicks from directors John Woo or Tsui Hark (Time and Tide). But every action sequence in this movie is excellent choreographed, especially the amazing scene, where Ji fights two company colleagues in a car...
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8/10
South Korea's Niche In The Film Industry
Foutainoflife26 January 2019
South Korea has really carved out a place for themselves by releasing some pretty awesome dramatic thrillers. This is one of those movies. A professional hit man working for a group who use a metal company as a front for their illegal enterprise, begins to rethink his career choice. After been given the task to eliminate a young and expendable coworker, he meets his co worker's mother, a former musician who he admired as a teen, and starts to develop feelings for her. This makes him want to leave all the more but how do you leave such a dangerous position unscathed?

I enjoyed the subtle drama used to build our characters and story in this film. There is an air of romance to this but it is really focused more on the relationship between the hitman and company. This was filmed and acted well and the action choreography was good. There's not much to complain about other than a bit of tweaking the story and adding a bit more to the end to tie up a few loose strings. This is a movie that I would recommend to a friend. Check it out.
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10/10
The cruel, cruel relationship between employer and employee...
basil-grimes24 September 2013
From the very start to the end this is yet another example of the Korean way of making action movies.

On one hand, a lot of bloodshed and fighting (not to be misunderstood, the action moments are very well chosen) and on the other hand touching moments and a gentle exploration of the characters. For me this is quite an interesting recipe and a breath of fresh air from the clichés of the "classical" action movies.

Enough generalizing. Just thing about it: how would you live, if every morning you would punch your card and than head into an office in which you would get an assassination mission. Business as usual, right ? Well, have you thought about it ? Good. Now let's guess. What would a man with no family and the desire to head another way. A man who had his taste of blood, who satisfied his inner need for violence. Wouldn't he try to make a connection with the real, human world ? Wouldn't he try to befriend someone trustworthy ? Well, if you do want answers to these questions, watch this VERY interesting movie. One more thing. Hope you're not a vegetarian...
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4/10
Bland, boring and slow moving
paulclaassen10 June 2018
I generally enjoy Korean cinema, but found this utterly boring. It is slow moving with very little action. A lot of time is spent introducing the characters and their goals, and I didn't find it interesting enough, considering this is supposed to be an action film. It reminded me of 'The Saint' (starring Val Kilmer), which also could not decide if it wanted to be an action thriller or a romance drama. The protagonist is very passive and doesn't do much in the film until the climax, which comes and goes so quickly. Even the action scenes were not that well done. The director's lack of vision was overwhelming. I found the characters and story very bland.
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10/10
Underrated gem
moraliskgod27 December 2014
Its a shame when a film of this artistic beauty doesn't have the proper rating. Maybe everyone is fed up with 'the common drama' and expect something unexpectable, it could be various reasons, it could be anything, but this drama stands out as a solid one. Its Korean drama in a nutshell, and shows how far the korean scene is from its counterparts (the rest of the world). It feels like this film takes a lot of influences from other korean dramas, I immediately thought of 'A bittersweet life', mainly because of the personality and situation of the protagonist. Personally, I cant get enough of this type of drama, ofc. you could have a more developed story and dialogues, strive for better overall quality, but you could say that about anything.

For your sake, ignore the rating and see this wonderful film.
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8/10
Professional assassin develops a conscience at great expense.
suite9222 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Hyeong-do is assigned to terminate a man. The man asks that he give a certain woman some money. He does this. The woman is someone who he knew from earlier in his life, who used to be a singer.

He finds her, gives her the money, and meets with her now and then. He puts off killing the man, but later is cornered into doing it.

He grows closer to the woman, and helps her buy a small shop. He encourages her to sing again. He decides to resign at a meeting. His company sends two others to escort him to the meeting. They were also assigned to kill him.

Throughout much of the film, he consults a disgraced former operative that the company let live for some unclear reason. He confides in this man. He decides to take the singer and her two children to a 'safe' place.

How well does that work?

-----Scores------

Cinematography: 8/10 Good.

Sound: 8/10 The subtitles seemed to be good. Incidental music and foley were folded in nicely.

Acting: 9/10 I liked the principal actors very much.

Screenplay: 8/10 Reasonable story, well told. Loved the final revenge phase.
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9/10
Another hard-hitting Korean action/drama
Leofwine_draca30 September 2014
South Korean filmmakers are top of the field when it comes to pumping out incredibly intense, superbly directed action-thrillers with breakneck stunts and action sequences enlivened by super-fast editing and gritty realism. Such films are clearly inspired by the BOURNE movies directed by Paul Greengrass, yet they're very much the equal of those movies.

A COMPANY MAN is another instalment in this particular sub-genre and a film whose plot bears more than a passing resemblance to the Korean classic, A BITTERSWEET LIFE. There's plenty of room for social commentary as the main character plays a guy caught in a corporate world, unable to quit the job he's grown tired of and forced to work under his despicable superiors. The twist? That he's a hit-man.

What transpires during the film's running time is easily guessable and yet at the same time it's eminently watchable. Ji-seob So does a great job as the gaunt and tired lead you get behind, and the film features a sequence of top-class action sequences to keep it bubbling merrily along. It's a slow builder, this one, leading up to a taut, frenetic and mayhem-filled climax which truly doesn't disappoint. If only all movies could be this entertaining.
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5/10
Average thriller that borrows a lot from "A Bittersweet Life"
hangchai2 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
i wouldn't say the movie is necessary bad, but just average.

The styling and action sequences are filmed very well.

However the story seems just too forced and we never get the chance to explore the protagonist or the other characters and their inner turmoil.

And even till the end of the movie, i feel totally nothing for the characters.

One point that i do wish to bring out is that having watched "A Bittersweet Life", i feel the director 'borrowed' too much from that movie, whether it's the story, the styling and including the acting from the main actor such as the look of being lost with regret to even the ending of looking at the mirror trying to figure out why the whole thing is coming down like this.

If you haven't seen "A Bittersweet Life", i suggest you skip this one and see that instead... If you have seen both, i'm sure you get what i mean.
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6/10
Going to the office
tenshi_ippikiookami16 December 2016
"A Company Man" is an average, not especially original, but mildly entertaining, story of the everyday life of a hit-man, who (you can imagine) will rethink his lifestyle.

Ji-seob So plays Ji, who does his job very well and cares for his 'family'. But on one job, he kind of starts thinking too much (how come all those hit men always end thinking too much) and doubting about the lifestyle he has. Cue our man trying to figure out how to be 'human' will being also a 'killer'.

The plot, as said above, is 'hit-man-with-a-heart' 101, and someone should tell the writers of this kind of movies to be a little bit original (here the originality is that the assassin's company has a... well, company, in a building, where people 'work' as your average salaryperson).

But even lame plots can be made great by acting, production, direction, scenery, pace... Here all of this is more or less average, the best the acting (even if we still fall into the blank, expressionless acting for the hit-man). All enjoyable enough, with a couple of set-pieces that are good. However, the movie neglects its raison d'etre (action), because the direction and pace of the action pieces is not as good as it should. Especially, because the movie falls into the we-cannot-shoot-for-the-love-of-all-the-gods pit trap.

"A Company Man" will be an enjoyable one hour and a half for fans of this genre, but it offers absolutely nothing new.
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7/10
A Stylistic and Entertaining Dramatic Action Feature, Spoiled by Lacking Depth
totalovrdose9 June 2015
Ji Hyeong-Do (So Ji-Sub) works at what appears to be a regular company, however, this is just a convenient smoke-screen for the actual modus operandi: contract killing. Using this particular business as the backdrop for the illegal operations is uniquely entertaining, as much as it is thought provoking, while comparing the assassins to regular employees offers an interesting approach in depicting these methodically trained killers. Under the guise of company president Jeon (Jeon Kwak-Han), who truly appreciates Hyeong-Do's capabilities, and the unlikable, egotistical Kwon Jong-Tae (Kwak Do-won), who ironically appears to psychologically evaluate the staff, Hyeong-Do's career has admirably flourished, his impeccable record readying him for many promotions.

Despite this, we are able to witness Hyeong-Do outside of his employ, affiliating with retired assassin Ban Ji-Hoon (Lee Kyoung-Young), an old acquittance of his, who serves as a figure of guidance and support. Hyeong-Do is seen to be questioning his stay with the company, alongside harboring feelings of resentment and fatigue, Ji-Hoon being tactically used to put into words what Hyeong-Do cannot, revealing the life that those working for this particular organization are forced to endure.

After hiring an impressionable young man, Ra-Hoon (Kim Dong-Joon) to assist with the assassination of a target, Hyeong-Do is ordered to terminate all loose ends, but finds this particular assignment more difficult than previous experiences after forming an attachment with his temporary partner. Overcome by regret, he fulfills Ra-Hoon's wishes and meets his family: his sister, Bo-Seul (Han Bo-Bae), who is as spontaneous as she is disrespectful, and his mother, Yoo Mi-Yeon (Lee Mi-Yeon), a former one time pop idol, who Hyeong-Do has a past connection to, being not only appreciative, but inspired, by this beautiful woman and her family.

Over the course of the feature, Hyeong-Do appears legitimately introverted, experiencing difficulties in socialization and communicative practices, that are conveyed effectively through facial expression, an occasional inability to look others in the eye, and difficulty in finding appropriate words to accommodate a situation. Mi-Yeon on the other hand, although suffering the shame of never successfully completing her professional endeavors, is quite the opposite, being garrulous, sweet, compassionate and family oriented, always looking out for others, rather than attempting to secure her own happiness. Although these two characters have almost nothing in common, with the exception of a unanimous attraction, the film depicts them as not necessarily wanting to be in a relationship, as much as they need to be together, both individuals having the capacity to complete and compliment the other.

As Hyeong-Do's lacking dedication to the company becomes increasingly more noticeable, questions regarding his professionalism begin to plague those in command. As an inquisitive detective, Myung-Duk (Park Jin-Woo) begins to investigate the authenticity of the company's business, and his contact with Hyeong-Do is revealed, the once revered assassin discovers the company he has worked tirelessly for, have a strong desire to terminate his contract - permanently, putting not only himself, but those he cares about, at risk.

The action segments in the film are well executed, and despite the predictability that often accompanies their execution, the locations, that are not always stereotypical for action movies, offers entertaining backdrops to the genre. At the same time however, though South Korean action features have established themselves as frenetically enjoyable experiences, they are also renown for their melodramatic atmosphere. In the case of A Company Man, there were more than a couple of moments where the filmmakers had the opportunity to invest the audience more emotionally in the story, yet, these moments appear to be wasted, and for the most part, despite the interesting characters and appealing visuals, this film is one that will not invest its audience entirely into the plot.

Further characterization regarding Hyeong-Do's original motivations for becoming an assassin, alongside knowledge on Mi-Yeon's past life, would have been additionally advantageous. This aside however, A Company Man, despite its South Korean origins, is capable of reflecting the kind of action we have come to expect from American features, and with this in mind, will surely entertain its audience, though if a viewer is after something with further depth, perhaps they ought to order from another menu.
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7/10
korean cliché but not too
fluffset26 February 2013
Warning: Spoilers
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, what is it? A company, a company that's look like just usual company but actually work on intelligent assassins team. Maybe after you read the synopsis you will think it's just a cliché, yeah pro assassins wanna get out from his team because of a woman he love. No no, that's just a little sub-plot, then his team will after him to kill him because he knows too much. Yes, but in different way and you must watch it first. The ending is good and somewhat memorable.
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2/10
Not very good at all
chillinmmm4 March 2021
Action was pretty good.. the rest of the film was just nonsense
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6/10
Partly good
phd_travel17 May 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I liked parts of the story. There is a slow build up establishing the characters. When the action starts in the second half things are exciting with a car fight and memorable office takeout thats hilarious. So Ji Sub is good as the company man / hitman. Is it a dig a Korean corporate culture? The ending is a bit of a downer but not totally dismal. Why couldn't they have got away?
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9/10
Korean Version of John Wick
donkrishna-dk30 July 2020
I love this movie a lot. So ji-sub played his role as a professional killer perfectly. The fighting choreography is also fun to watch.
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8/10
Classic Kdrama but with a bonus- Die Hard/Death Wish action
HBelloc15 June 2020
Can't believe I hadn't come across this earlier. Koreans are excellent story tellers, imho so you have the famous Korean drama storyline but with a bad arse hit man who is gonna go Die Hard/Death Wish "take no prisoners" killer on everyone, but it's his former employer. Comes with the territory.
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7/10
Decent movie but could've been more
krazysoon31 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
A company man is a film about a man who works for a company of assassins that is actually disguised as a metal company in order to remain secretive. The film starts out with the main character and a young temp who is about to go murder a few people. After the job the main character was supposed to kill the temp but leaves him alive and wishes that some money is delivered to his family. The main character falls for the mother and begins to realize that he does not want to continue in the line of work but rather start a new life with this woman. Only problem is it isn't a job that one can actually just quit.

The film is predictable for the most part and a few of the scenes I found a bit funny. The action sequences are good but as some of the reviews mention the dialogue and the characters are a bit one dimensional. One reviewer compared it to a film called A Bittersweet Life, which also deals with an assassin but the story is deeper and the acting is amazing. If you haven't seen a Bittersweet Life please watch it rather than this film but if you have seen it and want to watch this, you will see the similarities and major differences. I think both characters however carry themselves the same. Start off as emotionless but slowly begin to care for what they want.

A Company Man is available on Netflix and is in Korean with English subtitles. Not sure if A Bittersweet Life is on Netflix.
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