Director: Park Hong-Soo
Writer: Kim Soo-young
Cast: Seung-Hyun Choi, Han Ye-Ri, Kim You-Jung, Yoon Je-Moon, Cho Seong-Ha, Park Sung-Woong, Lee Ju-Sil, Jung Ho-Bin, Kim Sun-Kyung, Park Ji-Il
Running Time: 113 min.
Seung-Hyun Choi, more popularly known as T.O.P, the power rapper of the K-Pop super group Big Bang, stars as 19 year-old Myung-Hon Ri in Commitment. His previous film roles include Iris: The Movie (2010) and 71: Into the Fire (2010). In the latter, he won critical acclaim and numerous awards for his role as a student soldier.
Commitment is Choi’s first lead starring role. The film was a huge box office hit and it was a perfect vehicle to catapult him to major stardom – or was it?
Along with his sister, Ri was sent to prison labor camp because of his disgraced father’s (Seong-Woong Park) so-called traitorous activities. Given a chance to redeem both him and his sister, Ri reluctantly agrees to become an agent and follow in his father’s footstep and be sent to South Korea. Posing as a defector, he takes on the identity of Dae-Ho Kang, an 18 year-old high school student.
While in school, Ri encounters a soft-spoken, mild-mannered and oft-bullied girl, Hye-In Lee (Ye-Ri Han). Reminding him of his own little sister because of their identical first names, Ri is intrigued by Lee and strikes up a friendship with her and soon becomes her protector.
Ri soon learns of his mission in South Korea. He is tasked with searching for another North Korean agent who has been systemically killing other North Korean agent defectors, who has long since assumed new identities and has assimilated into the populace in South Korea. His objective is to search and terminate the assassin.
Not everything is as it seems as Ri delves deeper into the dealings, double crosses and intricacies of political expediency. He begins to face danger at every step with nowhere to turn to and soon realizes that forces beyond his control are shaping events that will ultimately lead to answers he has long sought.
Choi’s good looks and charm is a plus for his character and he does play a high school student quite nicely. His acting is good but his reticent, innocent, and somewhat disengaged mannerism shows very little emotional depth where needed (credit). Understandably, his character is an innocent and gullible 19 year-old thrown into games better suited for adults. Yet, I find his lack of emotion in trying circumstances somewhat disappointing, be it rage, sadness, confusion, desperation or sheer joy.
The relationship between Ri and his little sister could have been explored a bit more adding yet another layer to the dilemma he faces. His relationship with Hye-In Lee was also somewhat underdeveloped.
The action scenes were crisp and well-choreographed. Most of the them involve close up hand to hand combat, which look pretty realistic. What I can’t get over, however, is how good of a fighter Ri has become in such a short period of training right out of labor camp.
Plot plausibility issues aside, the film was quite enjoyable. Recommended.
oneleaf’s Rating: 6/10