Another action flick! This is definitely a company you do not want to work for. From the outside, the company looks boring and ordinary. You have secretaries, managers, assistants, busy telephones, fax machines, all the gears of a Misaeng workplace. However, each staff member doubles as a assassin. They all know a variety of martial skills and perform contract killings to generate revenue. Like a regular company, you have promotions and you of course have demotions. With demotions or “resigning”, often you are completely obliterated from the face of the earth. The point of the company was to keep you in service until your retirement days. For our main character, Hyeong Do, he is rising and star employee looked upon very favorably by the company’s CEO. He asks no questions and follows all his orders to a T, no matter his own personal opinions or emotions. The company was his world and home. However, one day he decides to save a “temporary” worker from being disposed of because he had developed a close bond with the young teenager during work.
With this one action started a snowball effect of finding happiness outside the world of murder. He meets the teen’s mother, Mi Yeon, who was a faded pop-star and a single mom. They develop deep feelings for each other and hoped to start a new life together. As his happiness for the other world grew, he began to become more merciful and this lead to the company finding out about him not following his orders. Even though he was promoted to a high position for his extraordinary work ethic, he decides to resign in order to pursue love. Of course when Hyeong Do runs away, this is not taken lightly by the company. Meanwhile, an old retired employee tries to get back into the company and betrays Hyeong Do and his new found love/family. In a bloody fight, Mi Yeon unfortunately becomes a casualty. Heyong Do decides to get revenge by taking down the company. However as he arrived to the company, each staff member is armed to the teeth and ready to annihilate him. However, of course he manages to defeat them all and kill all the members, down to the CEO and slimy VP. He escaped with only a few bullet wounds and also took the brunt of the blame from the teen who had come along to help me. The movie ends with him walking out into the huge crowd gathered outside the company from when they had heard gunfire.
Thoughts of Mine
Lets start with the plot and get that out of the way. Concerning that, you know you are not getting anything new other than powerful killer falls in love with innocent women and gets revenge because she died. Although that trope is very much overused, I enjoyed other aspects of the film. It was interesting how they juxtapositioned normal ordinary office worker life with the killing missions. These workers only went outside of their company if they were to go on a mission. They worked in teams like in a office, with a Manager, Assistant Manager, Director, etc. Instead of some files, we have weapons hidden in between them. Instead of supplies in their drawers, we have more weapons stuffed inside. They went on retreats just like normal companies. What the movie did well was show that these employees have been so jaded and brainwashed that murder has become part of their normal life. It is just their job and nothing personal.
Although the fighting choreography is on point and very intricately done, at times it is overly done. For example, it is not realistic, not even a smidgen, that Hyeong Do can walk out of that bloodfest at the end without any fatal wounds even if he had a bulletproof vest on. I had hoped for more character development for the main character played by So Ji Sub. I had also hoped for more bonds between him and the teen in the “fatherly” role instead of boss to employee.
I must say thought that So Ji Sub is wonderfully casted for this role. He definitely portrayed that cold, emotionless attitude of a professional assassin perfectly. It was those tiny and brief moments of emotions that appeared on his face which are memorable. A single tear when he knew happiness was out of his reach. That quick quirk of the mouth when he found something amusing and touching. That endearing awkwardness for social situations and puppy love. He definitely worked his character to the max which really carried the movie. Other than that, I would say this movie is just something quick to fill the time, and not something to write home about.