Commitment (2013) – By Duane L. Martin

When Li Young-ho, a North Korean agent in South Korea is exposed and killed, his son Li Myung-hoon and his daughter Lee Hye-in are taken prisoner and thrown into a North Korean prison camp and their father is accused of being a traitor. The only way for Myung-hoon to keep his sister alive is to go to work as a sleeper agent and assassin for a spy division called Unit 8. Unfortunately, they’re having a power struggle with another division called Section 35 and as such, the target’s he’s given to kill are Section 35 sleeper agents. Unfortunately, when his "foster parents" who he’s staying with as part of his cover are murdered and thirty million in diamonds are stolen, things escalate quickly. He’s told if he retrieves the diamonds for Unit 8 that he’ll be allowed to return home and be with his sister. Unfortunately, as he comes to find out, the agents that are sent to the south are never allowed to return home again.

I’m not going to lie here. I had a really hard time getting through this movie. Not because the production values or the acting were bad, because they weren’t. In fact, they were both excellent all around. The reason I had a hard time getting through it is because the story itself is really confusing and could have used a lot more work before the film went into production.

For example, the whole deal with Unit 8 and Section 32 doesn’t really become really clear until about two-thirds of the way through the film, and even then there’s no telling what they actually are or what they’re supposed to be doing. I get that they’re spies…or something, but all they seem to be doing is fighting with each other. They never actually serve any other purpose as far as I can tell.

When he goes undercover as a refugee and is given to foster parents that are also in Unit 8, he doesn’t seem to have any relationship with them at all other than that they operate out of the same house and they stay out of each other’s business. However, when he first moves in with them, it’s not clear who they are or that they’re even a part of Unit 8 at all. We don’t find that out until later.

When he goes to school to keep his cover in tact, he meets and befriends a bullied girl who, as it just so happens is also named Lee Huy-in, just like his sister. Now there’s a coincidence, huh? Anyway, he tries to ignore the bullies at first, which is difficult because they start picking on him right away as well, but when their abuse of Huy-in goes too far, he gives them a good old fashioned beat down. Unfortunately, Huy-in leaves school shortly after that to pursure her dream as a dancer, but the pair are in contact throughout the film. The confusing part here is that we’re never really sure what kind of a relationship they have. They never act like anything more than friends, but there’s something more to it.

Then later in the film we’ve got the two big ones. At some point he tosses a grenade into a room, and then at another point he tosses a backpack full of explosives and sets it off with a remote detonator. At no point in the film did it ever show him acquiring anything more than a pistol and some ammunition, so for him to suddenly start throwing explosives around was quite confusing.

At another point in the film he calls the cell phone of a cop who just happens to be sitting with his sister down at the police station. So um, how did he get the cop’s cell number when he’d had no direct communication with the cop at all before that? He didn’t even know the guy’s name up to that point, and yet he’s calling him on the phone?

It’s things like this that really hurt the film in a big way. If the acting and the production values hadn’t have been so good, they’d have ruined it completely. Fortunately, those things saved it from its story issues, at least to a point. You’ll still be scratching your head quite often, but at least it’s watchable.

The one thing this movie excels at the most are the action scenes. The fighting is fast and the movements are sharp and precise, which makes for some very exciting moments.

For special features, this new release from Well Go USA contains a making of featurette and the original theatrical trailer.

In the end, it comes down to one thing. Can I recommend it? The answer to that is…yes, but only mildly. I personally wouldn’t bother watching it more than once, but some people may enjoy it more than I did. If the story elements had been solid, this had all the potential to be an absolutely phenomenal film, but those are the very issues that dragged it down to an unfortunate level of mediocrity.

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out its page on the Well Go USA website here, and if you’d like to pick up a copy for yourself, you can get the blu-ray or DVD from Amazon, or from any of the other usual outlets.