Bullet Points: Commitment
Most of what I know about North Korea comes from Team America and The Interview but I doubt that any travel agents are “dying to tell you about this hidden vacation gem called North Korea.” It’s based on this ignorance that I’ve come to the conclusion that no amount of money could make me want to live in that dark and dreary place. Having said that, Commitment is the second or third Korean flick that I’ve watched about a North Korean spy being jobbed out by his own people and either killed or left to die. I haven’t seen a movie yet where the North Koreans are good guys so I’ll continue to think of them as assholes until I’m proved otherwise.
The Gist: In order to protect his younger sister, a young North Korean boy becomes a spy and goes undercover to find and eliminate an assassin who is killing his fellow operatives. As he gets deeper into the job, he develops a bond with a classmate and finds himself feeling more human than he had in years. He’ll do whatever it takes to protect his sister; including becoming the monster he was trained to be.
The Cast: In the US the biggest names in the music industry always seem to want to try their hand at acting. Common, Mos Def, Ludacris, Bette Meddler, Tim McGraw, Nelly, all of those Disney kids have made an attempt at being movie stars after having successful careers in the music industry. That seems to be similar to how things work in South Korea as well since the star of many of the action films that I’ve seen from there star current or former musicians. Commitment stars former rapper Seung Hyun Choi, who looks like he’s a 13 year old boy. He is apparently a member of a rap group called Big Bang in his native South Korea. He has eight different film and TV projects listed under his imdb.com page and I was pretty impressed with his performance here. He doesn’t seem to be quite as fluid as Bin Won from The Man from Nowhere or Yoo Gong from The Suspect but he never detracts from the action on screen and that is better than most musician turned action stars here in the States. Ye-ri Han plays his love interest/friend who ends up saving his butt on more than one occasion. She’s a real cutey, especially after she cuts her hair.
These two look like the kind of people who would get picked on by bullies. Just sayin…
The Villain: Kang Dae-ho is meant to be the hero of the story but he really starts out as more of a villain than anything else. He is a spy from North Korea who attempts to find and kill a rival assassin. It’s only as we start to learn more about his motivations (protecting his sister) that we start to empathize with the man. By the end of the film you’ll be cheering for Dae-ho, as you should, but the role of the villain turns out to be his former North Korean handlers. Not only are they communist but they’re also just bad at their jobs.
The Action: When our main protagonist is hidden in plain sight as a student he gets into it with a couple of bullies at his school. Part of his problem is the way that he takes to the Lee Hye-in character as he’s either attracted to her or he just thinks of her more as a sister. Maybe both, who knows? All that matters is that she plays a proper damsel in distress for Dae-ho to rescue. There is a pretty solid fight at a boxing studio where Dae-ho tracks down and attempts to question a rival agent. Between that fight and a couple of the other shorter, and or more brutal ones, Commitment has just enough action to be entertaining but not enough to blow your mind. There is a scene where Dae-ho is attacked at his crib by a rival and after he has properly disposed of the rival he puts on a leather jacket. Payback is coming!
Choi didn’t have the mysterious toughness as some of the other Korean heroes that I’ve seen but he wasn’t bad.
Take it Home:
- From out of nowhere: I always love it when someone produces a grenade out of nowhere.
- Favorite quotes: “When I get this cast off, I’ll make his asshole bleed.” “A bucket full, make sure of it!”
- Favorite quotes: During the final confrontation the big bad mutters to himself about Dae-ho, “Resilient fuck…”