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The Man From Nowhere - Film Review: Korean masterstroke in action

Lars HindsleyBy Lars Hindsley Tue 1 Mar 2011 7:30 AM EST | 1530 Views
Four Danger Rating

(DL) –  If Kill Bill had more sophistication and class, if The Professional had a tear jerker ending –  it would be The Man From Nowhere.

The story is simple, a man left with nothing enduring his solitude has no interest in caring for anyone but himself. He just so happens to be ex-special forces. Billed as Korea's top billing film of 2010 and rated R for intense violence and implied gruesome acts, it's considered a Action-Thriller.

Unique in modern film The Man From Nowhere doesn't launch into action until the second half of the film after an excellent build up of tension. Until hell breaks loose the pacing is that of a suspense thriller as we learn to identify with the characters densely packed into the story. For those that can't tolerate sub-titles the film does have an optional English dubbed track. It's worth viewing a second time to compare the sub-titles to the English spoken interpretation of it's original Korean language. While the film is shot in dark stylization the cinematography is ultra modern fitting in with any top studio film in the U.S.

CHA Tae-Shik played by Bin Won portrays a mercilessly solitary man reminiscent of the MAN WITH NO NAME classic spaghetti westerns of the late 1960's and early 1970's. Tae-Shik grudgingly befriends a neighbors daughter as he tries to mind his own small pawnshop business but when the little girl's mother has her daughter pawn a camera with drugs she stole from a drug ring, he ends up in the middle of everyone else's fight.

The Ultimate Knife Fight in Film

Tae-Shik soon becomes motivated to rescue or have revenge for the little girl when she is kidnapped by the drug ring which then forces him to make a delivery on the promise to return the little girl. Eventually we learn why Tae-Shik became the man he is. With police watching everything they soon decide they need to capture Tae-Shik. He has a lot going against him but his mystereous background proves more than enough for everyone to handle.

The Man From Nowhere
The underbelly of Korea's modern world becomes the backdrop for close combat fights, chases and graphic deaths. The martial arts element is de-emphasized giving everything a more serious and real tone.

The close of the story is quite touching as we come down off the action andback into the melodrama of why our hero began his quest in the first place. Where Leon the Professional had no intentions of making you cry at the end, you'll have a hard time avoiding it with this one.

Director: Jeong-beom Lee
Starring: Bin Won, Sae-ron Kim and Hyo-seo Kim

You can also find my review at
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