Note: This is an old format article. The article formats have been revised so please check some of our more recent ones! Thank you!
The Man from Nowhere. This is a film that reminded me very much of other famous South Korean films, it’s a revenge style action film, with a main protagonist who we know very little about. This film is very similar to Oldboy and A Bittersweet Life, taking the revenge theme of the prior and the action of the latter, and is the first time I have seen actor Bin-Won (who plays main protagonist Tae-Sik Cha).
I’m going to just give a simple synopsis to tell you what this film is about, if you haven’t already decided whether to watch it or not from the similar films I listed, which you probably have. Basically, Tae-Sik is some guy who runs a pawn shop, and there is very little known about him, he seems like a good person, then through complications with a ‘neighbour’ he gets involved (not so much involved in a business sense like you might expect) in the drug trade. Yeah, that’s all I should say. Oh. Wait a second, if you’re like me, you may have some trouble following what’s going on at the start, just know this: some drugs are being stolen by someones mother, and the some fat guy starts beating people up with a tree. That’s when the film really starts.
Okay so as you probably gathered by now, it’s a gun glory film (I can’t remember the common term, but it’s similar to that), and it involves a lot of action, not completely, but lots. It includes quite a bit of gunplay, but the more interesting parts are the fights that involve knives, the sound effects in such scenes sound very over done in a good way, like they recorded themselves smashing fruit and stuff. You can tell what’s going on for the most part, which is always a good thing, because lots of films make it hard to differentiate good choreographed action from thrown together arm waving nonsense. In this case it’s pretty good, especially during a certain knife duel towards the end (the latter half of the film reminded me very much of A Bittersweet Life).
Acting is good. The main protagonist was a pretty great and unique character, the young neighbour girl was also very good, as well as the various police heads and officers and of course the drug gang members. I can’t say much to the lines as the subtitles I was watching with were kind of sloppy, which sometimes makes a film even better or just unbearable. For this instance I’d say they were just about enough well done for me to say they were good, as you can imagine translating and typing up subtitles is a tough job, so props to the person who did it, everyone who watches foreign cinema appreciates your work.
So the style of the film was very good. Lots of outstanding shots and sequences, as well as sets, and a great range at that, all of which added up to give the film a fairly gritty and realistic look, whilst still looking very stylish. Lots of the sets had great detail put into them, and looked very… suited to the sequences they were used for. The music should also be mentioned here, it’s use was very tasteful, what I mean is, that it didn’t go too over the top during emotional scenes, and often stopped at interesting points (camera shots, transitions etc.) and whilst it was on, it was very good music, and suited the film well, and I can only say added to my enjoyment.
The story was of course far-fetched, but was very involving, and at no point whatsoever did I get bored, there was some good twists, and despite a pretty bad choice on the scriptwriters part at the very end I’d say it all came together great and felt like a full story, and the flashback sequence… well it was shocking and made my mouth drop a bit, which never happens, and it was pretty emotional, but I never cry so I can’t judge that.
Anyway. If you enjoy these films, you know the crazy action gun glory revenge films, then you are bound to find some good in this. It’s not quite as great as Oldboy, and not as good as A Bittersweet Life, but good films like this don’t come around often, so it’s a good idea to check this one out. And keep your eye on this Bin-Won guy, he could very well be the next Byung-hun lee. So in lieu of the films similarities to Oldboy, i’m gonna give this film 8 out of 10 Oh Dae-Su’s.