Commitment Blu-ray Review
A well-mannered man in a baseball cap sits in a small restaurant, eating his meal. He takes a shot. The owner pours him another and pays for the bill herself. “Have a wonderful life,” she tells him. He exits and keeps an eye on every dark corner. A car creeps up. He flees, but he’s not quick enough and he’s soon surrounded by police. The man, Li Young-ho (Park Sung-woong, NEW WORLD), reaches for a photo of his family, which the police mistake for a gun. Sure hope he enjoyed those free shots.
For simply being related, Li Young-ho’s son, Myung-hoon (Choi Seung-hyun, who you may or may not know better by his pop name T.O.P), and daughter, Hye-in (Han Ye-ri, AS ONE), are sent to a labor prison camp, where he expects to spend the bulk—if not the rest—of his life. But a high-ranking official tells him that there is in indeed a way out for both him and his sister: “Become an agent” for North Korea, infiltrate Seoul, South Korea and take out whoever it is he’s told to.
Myung-hoon had other plans in life than to be an assassin. But freedom is something he can’t pass up, and so he quickly accepts the offer. When he’s not in school masquerading as a student, Myung-hoon is picking up his weapons and hunting down his targets. He’s good, especially considering he had desires to be a classical pianist.
The biggest issue with the story is that we don’t buy that Myung-hoon would be so good at his new job. How would he become so skilled so quickly? Unless he’s been secretly training for this in his basement, how could we believe Myung-hoon can kick a man’s head and practically make it explode all over a boxing ring?
Logicalities aside, the fight scenes (although few) are strong, well-choreographed and tightly edited. Whether on a rain-soaked blacktop at night or in a school storage closet in the afternoon, each fight is fast-paced and expertly staged. That’s what the viewer will want to see; too bad COMMITMENT often gets bogged down trying to develop its main character.
When he’s not seeking out victims, he’s wooing and rescuing classmate Hye-in Rye (Kim Yoo-jung, the South Korean miniseries MOON EMBRACING THE SUN), who has artistic aspirations herself. This romantic subplot should add another dimension to Myung-hoon, but its real purpose, it seems, is to make fans of Choi Seung-hyun (and his boy band, Big Bang, who have released singles with titles like “Beautiful Hangover,” “Fantastic Baby” and “With U”) weak in the knees. (Time is also set aside for Myung-hoon to reflect on his late father and the situations he’s now found himself in.)
COMMITMENT is the directorial debut of Park hong-soo, who previously served as assistant director on a series of Jang Hung’s movies, including THE FRONT LINE and THE SECRET REUNION. This is a serviceable debut that lets Park hong-soo show that he’s a director capable of handling action. The star, though, is Choi Seung-hyun, who plays the role with a straight face and carries the movie even in its weakest moments.
COMMITMENT BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 2.39:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Well Go USA’s high-definition presentation of COMMITMENT is a very strong one, with fine detail throughout and accurate colors throughout.
Audio: Korean 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; Korean Stereo. Subtitles in English. The audio is also very good, especially during the fight and exterior scenes, the latter of which gives an atmosphere that puts you right in the streets of Seoul.
Making Of (10:30) collects behind-the-scenes footage.