(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Disc and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.)
Intense and visceral, South Korean director Lim Sang-yoon’s A Company Man is a fantastic twist on classic crime-drama themes. Rising action star So Ji-sub plays Hyeong-do, a normal, low key, suit-wearing businessman for a metal fabrication company, by all outward appearances. In reality, his company is a front for an organization of hitmen, and Hyeon-do is one of their most promising killers on the rise. After a hit job where Hyeon-do uses a “temp” that he fails to kill, he later meets the temp’s mother, the beautiful widow Su-yeon (Lee M-yeon). Hyeong-do falls instantly in love with her and begins doubting his current lifestyle, which gets on the bad side of his bosses after he refuses to kill a former “company” director he was assigned to “remove”. Now, Hyeong-do becomes the target of his former bosses, with his life and the life of his new love on the line when he tries to resign from the company.
A Company Man is a slow-burner that bubbles up to an orgasmic orgy of bloody gun violence for its finale. There’s nothing new in this story about a hitman trying to go straight, but the way Lim handles it and So plays it, icy-veined and nearly invincible, is what makes all the difference in the world. The gunplay and fight choreography reach balletic levels, while the settings glisten with a sanitized modernity, juxtaposed against the often blood-stained violence taking place. The end result of all of this is a genre film that hits all the right notes, its gripping, visually stimulating, and a top entry for films of this sort.
A Company Man was shot in high definition with the Red Epic cinematographic high definition camera and comes to Blu-ray in an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement from Well GO USA. It’s a fine transfer with lots of texture, strong contrast and natural flesh tones. Very slight issues with some motion resolution artifacts and banding can be spotted as well as some areas where a little black crush and color banding can be seen in the source, but they do not detract too much from the overriding amount of detail and the quality of the image.
The Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) is areal powerhouse of a mix. Fluctuating between the aggressive and the dialogue-driven, the mix places dialogue at times, what seems like, right inside your head, or at the very least right on top of it. When the epic gun battles begin, be prepared for bullets flying everywhere, lots of dynamic range, a natural high end, and hefty lows.
There’s nothing on offer here worth sitting through. Even the Making of is just some B-roll footage roughly strung together.
- Making of (1.33:1; SD; 00:04:30)
- Trailer (2.35:1; 1080p/24)
The Definitive Word
This South Korean crime drama raises the typical story of a hitman trying to go straight to new heights. It’s intense, visceral, and fantastically choreographed. Recommended.