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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Crime > Murder > Assassintation > Martial Arts Cycle > Comedy > Korea > Corportations > Drama > Far > A Company Man (2012/Well Go USA Blu-ray)/At Any Price (2013/Sony Blu-ray)/The Iceman (2012/Millennium Blu-ray)

A Company Man (2012/Well Go USA Blu-ray)/At Any Price (2013/Sony Blu-ray)/The Iceman (2012/Millennium Blu-ray)


Picture: B/B-/B-     Sound: B/B-/B     Extras: C     Main Programs: C+



Now for a new set of dramas that are not great, but have their moments…



Lim Sang-Yun’s A Company Man (2012) is a sometimes very funny action film about a young man named Hyeong-do (So Ji-sub) who has gone to work for a nondescript corporation in Korea that turns out to be a front for assassination jobs.  You have to be good at what you do to stay employed and he is, but inner turmoil and people vying for power within the contract killing company start to cause unexpected complications.


Some of the fight scenes and murder set-ups are not bad and the cats is pretty good, but some of this is just too much and the script does not always find the way to go all the way on some points as it should have since we have seen some of this before.  The mix of predictability and scenes that do not have the impact they should hold back what could have been an unexpected gem, but it was still worth a look and you are bound to smile a few times if not laugh from this uncut version of the film.


Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer and Making Of featurette.



Ramin Bahrani’s At Any Price (2013) has its own ironic comedy as Dennis Quaid is a farmer who has been up to no good battling to make money and deal with corporations flooding the market with often inferior genetically engineered (GMO) seeds they own the copyright to.  They can resell new seeds every year, killing the seed washing and reselling businesses that only remain for organic farming these days.  However, he has gone too far and his schemes are about to catch up to him.


His older son has left the country, leaving his younger (Zac Efron) to help him with farming, but he wants to be a car racer, so maybe the family business, if it survives, will not last after all, but other fact ors might kill it first.  We see Quaid’s almost dementedly charming interaction with potential customers, or is that victims, and the film has some moments that work.


The problem here are more clichés, Efron is not bad but could be better, some of the turns are just too predictable from a mile away and some of the dialogue is just plain awful.  The storyline needed to take on more of how ugly the GMO seed debacle is and that would have meant cutting back on the melodramatic, formulaic filler.  Kim Dickens, Heather Graham (there she is!) and Clancy Brown also star as part of a decent supporting cast, but this film needed to go further and if so, it would have really worked.


Extras include Rehearsal Footage with the makers blocking the scenes without the actors, a feature length audio commentary track with Bahrani & Quaid and Toronto International Film Festival Q&A featurette.



Ariel Vromen’s The Iceman (2012) has Michael Shannon playing to type as a family man who also secretly makes XXX films as an editor in the 1970s when the opportunity arrives for him to be a contract killer in his own right, which he takes advantage of.  He loves his wife (Winona Ryder) and is quickly very good at his job, but various conflicting gangster and gangster elements may doom his run of luck and his family.

Based on a true story, I liked the consistent style and look here, even if it was not 100% true in tone, it was close.  Shannon is not bad, but he is again repeating himself, as is Ray Liotta as a head gangster quickly annoyed by inefficiency and incompetence, though we can also say that about the plot, which is everything we have seen in the Gangster and Crime genres for many years.


Chris Evans gives the big surprise performance here as his own kind of hitman and James Franco does a turn that is brief enough to work, along with David Schwimmer in his best work since Apt Pupil and Robert Davi as an older Italian chief gangster in an almost unrecognizable appearance.  Fine work on Mr. Davi’s part.  Too bad we have seen too much of this before, but once again, it is worth seeing for what does work.


Extras include separate Behind The Scenes and Making Of featurettes.




All three releases are digital shoots and fare well enough with the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Company just edges out the other two in picture performance, detail and definition, but the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Price and 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Iceman are still decent shoots that more than have their moments.  Price simply has more motion blur and detail issues than I would have liked, but manages to look naturalistic for an HD shoot, while Iceman does an excellent job of styling itself to look like the era it takes place in, even if this costs it in definition, warmth, detail and has Video Black that is a bit crushed.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Company and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix on Iceman tie for the best audio presentations, despite the latter being quiet often, with warm consistent soundfields throughout.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Price is towards the front speakers except when action kicks in, especially car races.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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