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Blu-ray Review: The Man From Nowhere
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The Man From Nowhere
Blu-ray/DVD
DIRECTED BY: Jeong-beom Lee
WRITTEN BY: Jeong-beom Lee
STARRING: Bin Won, Sae-ron Kim, Hyo-seo Kim
CJ Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: March 8, 2011

I wouldn’t say I’m a knowledge in Asian cinema; I’ve seen some of the required viewing films like Oldboy and a few of Kurosawa’s works, as well as ones like House of Flying Daggers and Hero, to name just a few. But despite my not having experienced many more of these movies, I’m always excited to see a new one. Running with this excitement, I was able to watch a movie recently that I had absolutely no prior knowledge of, knew nothing about the premise or story, and had not even seen a trailer for — a movie called The Man From Nowhere.

The movie tells the story of Tae-Sik Cha (Bin Won), a former special agent whose wife and unborn child are killed, sending him into a quiet, reclusive existence. He runs a lowly pawn shop and most people assume based on his appearance that he’s dangerous and keep their distance…except So-Mi Jeong (Sae-ron Kim), that is. So-Mi is a little girl with a bit of a kleptomaniac side to her who’s badly mistreated by everyone around her, bringing her to visit Tae-Sik often. She’s usually the one who does the talking as the quiet man just listens in silence, chiming in with a word or two from time to time. At first it might seem that he just ignores the little girl and possible doesn’t even like her, but as the movie progresses, we soon find out that she’s really the only thing close to a friend that he has.

The relationship between Tae-Sik and So-Mi alone would make a fine film, surely; perhaps a warm and loving family film. But their story is just a small piece of The Man From Nowhere. Due to a mistake on the part of So-Mi’s mother, both the girl and Tae-Sik find themselves in the middle of some highly dangerous drug lords and the team of cops trying to bring them down. And when So-Mi is kidnapped, Tae-Sik doesn’t take it so well and will stop at nothing to find and save her.

This is a movie you may have seen before. The quiet man who sets off on a dangerous mission to take out any and everyone involved in the kidnapping, killing, or any other type of harm to someone that they care about. It’s been done, there’s no denying this. But what this movie does is proves yet again that when done correctly, any movie can be great; so long as it’s entertaining, it doesn’t matter if it lacks some originality. Many movie fans constantly complain about the overabundance of remakes and sequels and so on, but let’s be honest with each other: if everyone took the time to make a remake great (True Grit, for one example), we simply wouldn’t care. Entertainment is the single most important thing to deliver when you make a movie, and The Man From Nowhere delivers in brutal, bloody, brilliant fashion.

The movie is full of fast-paced and intense sequences that will keep your eyes glued to the TV, but it all plays out with some remarkable and often times beautiful cinematography. Director Jeong-beom Lee and his crew do an excellent job of offering creative shot after creative shot, helping to keep things fresh and moving forward with a certain determination, much like our antagonist, fittingly.

The two leads, Bin Won and Sae-ron Kim, give outstanding performances, and I fully expect to see both of them showing up in some bigger roles in the near future. Sae-ron especially stood out to me; an adorable young actress she is, but she can also command the screen and steal a scene or two from the stars as well.

Another thing that kept popping into mind while watching was some of our own similar movies like Taken, where Liam Neeson runs off to save his kidnapped daughter. A lot of people seemed to like that movie for some reason beyond my own comprehension, but trust me when I say, if you truly appreciate film this is the type of movie you should be watching. It puts Taken and most others like it to shame, and reminds me why a lot of Hollywood fare has lost something over the years.

As for special features, you won’t find much. There’s a couple of small things to take a peek at but nothing substantial enough to get excited about, sadly. Thankfully the movie itself is worth the price tag.

There’s nothing better than a movie that holds you from start to finish, and that’s magnified even more for a film you know nothing about going into. I was a fan of The Man From Nowhere from the very first scene, it never faltered on me throughout, and as far as Asian cinema goes, it will now sit up there with my all-time favorites.

This is a movie I can’t wait to watch again.

Trailer

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