Commitment (dong-chang-saeng) (NR)

Action/Adventure 113 December 6, 2013
By Simon Abrams
Commitment, a South Korean teenage romance/Bourne-style thriller, is the comfort film equivalent of a peanut butter-and-meatloaf sandwich. Served as is, the spy stuff is insubstantial, while the love stuff is overcooked, as when Myung-hoon (rapper/boy band leader Choi Seung-hyun), a Spock-stoic North Korean assassin, stabs a double agent to death while wearing his high school uniform. Characterized by manic tonal shifts, Commitment is both gratuitously nasty and sickly sweet. No one aspect of Myung-hoon's character is fully developed because the film is an ego-driven vehicle for Choi, a huge pop star in his native Korea. Myung-hoon, a hardcore killer who is inevitably betrayed by his handlers, needs to be taken seriously, so he kicks one opponent's head off, a decapitation that's implied but not shown because Choi is brutal, but not that brutal; he also has to be taken seriously as a Byronic romantic. He pines for Hye-in (Han Ye-ri), an equally uninvolving introvert who dreams of dancing in Germany ("I looked it up, and they have a famous dance company. They express themselves with dance."). Every other aspect of the film is half-baked, from Myung-hoon's paranoia to his motivating fear of losing his sister, now kidnapped by North Korean spies. When Commitment isn't a perfectly forgettable action film, it's either an oil-thin melodrama or a charbroiled treat for meatheads.
Hong-soo Park Choi Seung-hyun, Han Ye-ri, Kim You-jeong KIM Soo-young Well Go USA


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