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The Man From Nowhere (2010) Film Review

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Summary

Cha Tae-sik (Bin Won) is a former special agent with a tragic past, who now lives a quiet life as a recluse running a pawn shop. Two people, Hyo-jeong (Hyo-seo Kim) and her young daughter, Jeong So-mi (Sae-ron Kim) come into his life. They are his next door neighbors. One day Hyo-jeong asks Cha Tae-sik to do a favor for her and deliver something that he isn’t aware of is really drugs. Cha Tae-sik doesn’t know that the mother is a heroin addict that smuggles drugs for a drug and organ trafficker gang.

The gang leader finds out the drugs have been stolen and sends out Man-seok (Hee-won Kim), his brother Jong-seok (Seong-oh Kim), Ramrowan (Thanayong Wongtrakul) to retrieve the drugs. The gang members kidnap Hyo-jeong and her daughter, Jeong So-mi. They torture the mother and tell Cha Tae-Sik the only way you are going to see them again, is if you make a delivery for us. The drug delivery is part of a plot to eliminate a rival. Cha-Tae-sik makes the delivery, but is framed and arrested.

The Korean Narcotics division that arrested Cha Tae-sik was led by Detective Kim Chi-Gon (Kim Tae-Hun). When Cha Tae-sik broke out they were impressed with his fighting ability. They became curious and investigated his background. They discover that Cha Tae-sik was a former Black Ops agent that disappeared, because his pregnant wife was killed before his very eyes.

The arrest of Cha Tae-sik leads to the discovery of Hyo-jeong’s disemboweled body. Cha Tae-sik realizes her daughter that had befriended him, life is in danger. The narcotics division tells Cha Tae-sik that the trafficking crime organization is now using Jeong So-mi to smuggle drugs and also might be killed so her organs can be used. Cha Tae-sik is forced out of exile and back into the world. A bloody showdown ensues between him and the criminal organization. Cha Tae-sik puts his life on the line to rescue So-mi and a bunch of kids being used by them at their base of operations.

The Man From Nowhere Review

The Man from Nowhere is a perfectly written action crime thriller with some Drama elements. It is somewhat not original since it borrows elements from the French film, Léon: The Professional (1994). The little girl, Jeong So-mi played by Sae-ron Kim endears herself to the main character, Cha Tae-sik.

The relationship between the two develops in a somewhat similar fashion that Natalie Portman and Jean Reno had in Leon The Professional. I have enjoyed watching South Korean cinema in recent years. I have seen a few Korean films such as Old Boy, Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War, A Bittersweet Life, and Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance.

These films I mentioned all have excellent acting and a well put together script. The Man from Nowhere is no different. The acting in The Man from Nowhere is excellent. All of the cast members do a tremendous job. I was especially pleased with the acting performances of Bin Won, Sae-ron Kim, and Seong-oh Kim. Bin Won and Sae-ron Kim show very good chemistry together and do a great job expressing their emotions. Bin Won as Cha Tae-sik has distinctive eyes in the way they express pain, regret, and sadness. He was perfect for the role of an outcast in The Man from Nowhere.

Kim Sae-ron as Jung So-mi is adorable, energetic, and cute. She is a very talented child actress. The ending scene where they reunite will touch your heart, as they both cry when So-mi runs up to him and hugs him. Kim Sae-ron will make you cry when you watch the final scene. Bin Won is very impressive with his martial arts skill on display in the fighting scenes. The fighting scenes are realistic real life battle situations and are fast moving.

The Man from Nowhere has the best knife fighting scenes I have ever seen in a movie. The close quarters bathroom fight between Bin Won and Thai actor Thanayong Wongtrakul as Ramrowan is stunning and very brutal. The camera work is excellent as it follows them at different points of view.

The fight scenes involving hand to hand combat, knife fighting, and gun shooting all really sounds great if you have a Home Theatre receiver. The sounds of the guns firing off/killing their targets, the slashing and slicing of flesh, and the breaking of bones will immerse you.

The final fight between Bin Won and the thugs is a sight to behold as the hero Cha Tae-Sik turns the scene into a blood bath as he tears through all of them. Bin Won holds a black belt in Taekwondo, but he does not make use of that fighting style in The Man from Nowhere. The hand to hand combat in this movie is more akin to the up close and grappling MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) style. One half of the evil brothers, Kim Sung-oh as Jong-seok will catch your eye as he plays this very cold, sadistic, and sleazy character. Kim Sung-oh also makes great use of his facial expressions.

His facial expressions are cartoon like as he looks very weird and creepy to highlight his unstable psychotic character. You will not like Jong-seok at all and will be cheering when he gets his just deserved from Cha Tae-sik. Cha Tae-sik rigs a fire lit lamp to a sack of cocaine. He then lets the gas out and stabs the cocaine. When the cocaine pours out, the lamp will collapse and smash, engulfing the drug factory in fire. The building explodes and Jong-seok is burned to death. The bad guys in general in The Man from Nowhere are all irredeemable pieces of shit that do really bad things and exploit kids.

Kim Hyo-seo, as So-mi’s drug addicted mother Hyo-jeong, is very pretty and did a great job displaying the ugliness of drug addiction in a scene where she shoots up heroin. The scene is realistic and gritty, since her daughter So-mi walks in on her and Hyo-jeong just tells her to get out while being in selfish ecstasy from the drug. The dilapidated apartment scene is much like in the real world that drug addicted mothers are negligent towards their own kids.

The intense scene where actor Bin Won jumps out of a window and somehow keeps going without losing a step is perfectly shot as the camera follows him. The main theme song for The Man from Nowhere is very beautiful and epic like. It is a symphonic instrumental piece that complements the tragic character that Cha Tae-sik is quite well and the gloomy mood that the film has. I hope to see Bin Won in more films.

He has a naturally charismatic presence and is powerful when showing his emotions. If you haven’t seen Tae Guk GI: The Brotherhood of War (2004), I recommend to check out the excellent Korean War Era movie. It is a powerful and tragic film with Bin Won acting as one of the brothers that end up on opposite sides during the war. Bin Won can also be seen in Mother (2009) as a mentally disabled young man.

The Man from Nowhere is an impressive example of South Korean Cinema. Director and Writer, Jeong-beom Lee in only his second directed film, managed to make a compelling, well paced, and powerful movie. I hope to see some more of his work in the future. This is a great film with a bad ass silent hero in Bin Won. The Man from Nowhere is nearly 2 hours long, but you shouldn’t get bored with the well written character development and action scenes mixed in. The ending to The Man from Nowhere is brilliant.

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Source by Randy Wheaton


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