14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 1 June 2011
I highly recommend this movie. Sure it borrows from other movies, as stated in another review here, but it's a blast, and (dare I say it) betters a couple of the movies it borrows from!! Very violent, suspenseful and sometimes funny, this movie is a must!!
Also, the Blu-Ray is Region Free, so it will play on any Blu-Ray player!
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
This film is a little scorcher, what it lacks in originality it more than makes up for in pace, tempo, tension and buckets of action. The plot without spoiling it is fairly simple. A former Special Forces operative has gone into semi hiding, taking up a job as a downtown pawn broker. He deliberately cuts himself off from the outside world, except from his young neighbour So-mi.
Then a drug deal goes very bad and So-mis's mother is involved leading the drug bosses and police to come calling. Then it all kicks off. We are told the story of Tae-shik in flash back and how he came to be as isolated as he now chooses, and how he is actually an excellent if not ruthless killing machine.
This then is a full throttle re take on the `Leon;' formula with a Korean twist. It is superbly acted and even if some of the `baddies' are a bit two dimensional it works as they are surrounded by so many more fully developed characters. The cinematography is brilliant as I have come to expect from South Korea and the action is first rate. The plot may be simple but you do not feel that whilst you are watching as it just carries you along with the momentum. This is in Korean with English sub titles that are very easy to read. With a running time of 114 minutes, this is not a short film, but it felt more like half an hour. This really is a great action film, with a bit of heart, it does have an 18 cert, so if you are on the squeamish side you may be put off. I found it just top rate entertainment and thoroughly recommend.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
One of the things they did was to give this movie a smooth translation without having the characters have oriental accents. China is competing with Korea for drugs. The Koreans set up a deal with the Chinese for them to sample their wares. The heroin gets stolen by a dancer/druggie who has a daughter. Her neighbor is a mysterious loner who operates a small time pawn shop. He and the daughter become semi-friends, perhaps the best way to describe it. The Korean DEA is also on the case. They bad guys catch up with the dancer, and kidnap her and the kid. The pawn shop owner gets dragged into the mess. As it turned out, they picked on the wrong guy. He goes "walking tall" to rescue the girl.
The movie has one corpse nudity scene, some groping, and needless mf and f-bombs. The movie is straight forward action. One scene is a little awkward where there is a Chinese translator. A man would say something in English and then the translator would then say it in English also. Just one of those foreign movie things.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This film has the storyline and action scenes not too far similar from other films which have been released over the years. It may not win the award for the most unique or incredibly written story, but this film offers so much more that other films cant. Instead of the usual Hollywood ripping off a great Asian film, its the other way about, but done really well, as to stand up with other films such as Taken it feels like.
The flow of this film is impeccable, and keeps you watching and sucks you right into the storyline. Everything is done tastefully and the characters are developed quite well to help bring you deeper into this film. The artist rendering of this film is amazing, and it boasts some great cinematography throughout the whole duration of the film, showing great care and attention was put into creating this.
No film is without it's slight annoyances or quirky moments, and having one of the characters only talking in english to everyone is kind of weird as it just doesn't feel right to the flow of the film, as no-one else talks in english.
This film is subtitled in english, and it's quite easy after a few minutes to read and watch at the same time.
Overall I found this to be a great film, mainly for its gripping flow and its great look in most shots. The story wasn't bad, but I felt it could of had a little more uniqueness to it, and really been something great.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2012
The Man from Nowhere is not exactly unique. The premise is a young girl who is kidnapped by drug-dealers/ organ traffickers after her mother get's involved with them. Her neighbor is a mysterious young man who owns a pawnshop and while he doesn't show it to her face, he cares deeply for her and she is his only friend in the world. What follows is a riveting ride featuring the somewhat reluctant main character in his quest to bring back the young girl. The cinematography is superb, as is the acting and the writing. The pace is also good, and we have a nice mix of action and story at the start to make Cha Tae-sik's attachment to the girl believable, the action gets more involved and quicker as we progress. The acting is good, Bin Won is convincing and for a change so are the villains, they aren't over the top comic book evil, they are just criminals, and the big surprise is that Sae-ron Kim manages to play the annoying child character without being annoying, an excellent performance from her as well. The action sequences are well done, violent without being very gory, some elaborate martial arts and some simple brutality. Entertainingly, the movie was beautifully crafted. I was at my seat all throughout enjoying every moment. This comes highly recommended especially if you like Korean action films, even though it has some similarities to some Hollywood films like Leon and Taken, I still thought it was great. Do yourself a favor and check this movie out.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2011
This is a tremendous action film but with so much more. Its violent, raw, yes and on occasion over the top, its also a very touching film in parts, mainly due to the young girl actress. A film that grips right from the off and does not let go. It pulls no punches in showing the depths that man can sink, not for the faint of heart. Asia as a whole are making some fantastic films and this is one of the best.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2012
Absolutely brilliant. I would have never expected something like this from a Corean movie. The plot is great and it keeps you stuck to the seat all the time, expecting more and more. The soundtrack is good, the 5.1 is really amazing... I never heard so many details before (and it's DVD!!!)
Not recommended for sensitive people though...
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2011
Both brutal and sensitive, "The Man from Nowhere" avoids most of the usual 'comedic' stock characters populating the Korean mob cinema, heading toward the territory of tear-jerking drama instead. The flashbacks explaining the pawnshop keeper's extremely violent behavior deviate from the overall style, but aren't enough to sink this film that somehow manages to form a true original out of many utterly formulaic pieces. It's perhaps not a cinematic masterpiece such as "A Bittesweet Life" or "Oldboy" but nevertheless one of the most enjoyable cinematic rides I've seen for a long time.
on 5 May 2015
This film had been on my 'wish list' film for close to 5 years and my wife & I finally decided to watch it last night. What a treat! 'The Man From Nowhere' was Korea's highest grossing film in its year of release demolishing Hollywood competition like 'Iron Man 2'. I was actually compelled to watch the film when I heard the tragic news that Bob Weinstein's Dimension Films had picked up the rights to 'The Man From Nowhere' and would sadly be remaking it into probably yet another piece of Hollywood trash. When will American audiences finally learn to read subtitles!? It's was an absolute travesty when Spike Lee remade 'Oldboy' and after finally watching 'The Man from Nowhere' I can definitely say the same thing.
'The Man from Nowhere' is written and directed by Lee Jeong-beom and stars Korean heartthrob Won Bin ('Mother'). Set around the poorer areas of Seoul, the film follows “a-jeo-ssi” (Korean for Mister), a former black-ops agent for the Korean government, now living a hermetic existence as the owner of pawn shop in a dingy rundown basement. When he unwittingly takes delivery of a camera bag containing cocaine, and attracts the attention of its original nefarious traffickers, he embarks on a murderous rampage when the only person who seems to understand him, a little girl by the name of So-mi, is kidnapped as insurance.
Although, as I mentioned earlier, I'm not a fan of Hollywood remakes this film can't claim to be highly original. It's extremely reminiscent of Luc Besson's 'Leon'/'The Professional' but nevertheless it's still a fast-paced and brilliantly brutal action thriller anchored by a strong emotional relationship that most audiences can't help falling for.
The action choreography, reminiscent of 'A Bittersweet Life', is superb and the climactic knife fight is absolutely gripping. I'm a massive fan of Korean cinema and 'The Man from Nowhere' does not disappoint.
For those who crave uncompromising action and someone to cheer for, this film is for you. For others seeking a powerful dramatic piece on redemption, then this still delivers by the truck load!
Tae-shik (Won Bin) is a pawnbroker in a low-rent apartment complex. He's a man who's chosen to shut out the world around him, however his neighbour's young daughter So-mi (Kim Sae-ron) manages to break through the wall and they become something approaching friends.
So-mi's mother, however, has done something very stupid. She's stolen drugs from some very dangerous and ruthless people and when they come to retreive their merchandise Tae-shik unwittingly finds himself entangled in a dangerous web of deceit and double-cross. Tae-shik also has a secret though, a dark past that makes him uniquely suited to this situation and when So-mi is kidnapped and faces a gruesome end, Tae-shik rises to the occasion to give the gangsters a very bad time indeed.
This is a very, very solid thriller with a good amount of stylish action ably handled by a game cast. It's not exactly wall-to-wall action but when things do kick off it should certainly satisfy the action junkies out there. Korean mega-star Won Bin carries the film confidently in both the action and the drama and the relationship he has with the young So-mi gives the film a good amount of heart and manages to steer clear of the somewhat icky undertones that plagued the movie 'Leon.'
If there's a problem here it's with the disc itself and this release is symptomatic of the problems Asian movie fans are facing now that most of the specialist distributors (HKL/Premier Asia, Tartan, CineAsia) have all gone to the wall. It's a Barebones, DVD only shovelware release of a fantastic, stylishly shot thriller that deserves a lot better and a Hi-Def release at the very least.
The film is great, the disc isn't. It's more than worth a rental and it's available to stream online at Lovefilm so if you're a member then please check it out. 4 stars for the film, minus 2 for the disc.