The Man From Nowhere: DVD

Monday, 11 April 2011 00:00

Korean movie “The Man From Nowhere” blends “Taken”, “Man on Fire” and “Leon” to present one very stylish revenge thriller, brimming with hard-hitting martial arts action and gun-play. Ex-special forces operative Tae-shik (Bin Won) leads a quiet life as a pawnbroker. One day his drug addict neighbour drags him unwittingly into her sordid business and as a consequence her gangster associates try to kill him.

Tae-shik handles himself exceptionally well, but unfortunately the gangsters kidnap his neighbour and her lonely daughter who he has taken pity on and befriended. He makes it his mission to rescue them but with organ harvesting and child labour in drug factories on the cards, time is very much against him. Meanwhile, the local police force is hot on his tail, baffled by his identity and role in this crazy gangland turf war.

The Man from Nowhere comes to UK DVDLet us be frank: This film has nothing new to say. Fortunately, director Jeong-beom Lee pulls it off thanks to some great acting and characterisation, exciting and fast-paced set-pieces and an emotive orchestral soundtrack. Star of the show is child actor Sae-ron Kim as So-Mi, the neighbour’s daughter. She out-acts everyone else and perfectly captures So-Mi’s vulnerable get sometimes worldy-wise nature. We have to believe that she has got under Tae-Shik’s tough-as-old-boots skin, and thanks to her brilliant performance that fact is never in doubt.

Bin Won is also very compelling as the lead. At the start he hides under a mop of hair, quietly brooding but not letting on that a human being lurks somewhere underneath. Once the kidnap has taken place and he has been forced to efficiently flatten a few baddies, his cool facade starts to crack as his emotions rapidly rise to the surface. He dazzles in the fight scenes, moving at the speed of light and with incredible fluidity and physical awareness, blocking and spinning foes and their weapons against themselves.

Occasionally the direction only shows us the results of a ruckus rather than the act itself, and sometimes the camera gets a little too close to the action which makes it hard to follow, but in general the fight screens are superb.

Against a plethora of cocky drug dealers, unquestioning body guards, creepy organ thieves and their shady lackeys, dark-knight Tae-shik manages to remain likable and critically gets the backing of the audience. He is far from perfect and knows the police will probably catch up with him eventually (if he survives that long), but he is a man on a humanitarian mission despite his death-dealing tactics. He is as hard as nails but occasionally the odds or his narrowly-focused compassion do overwhelm or blindside him, and he is saved from becoming an unrealistic superhero.

The preview disc had no special features, and no information was forthcoming on whether the commercial release will have any. Either way, this is good movie and worthy of consideration next time you visit your local rental shop.

“The Man From Nowhere” (2010) is out now on DVD, courtesy of E1. The main feature has a total running time of 114 minutes approx, carries an ‘18’ certificate and retails for £12.99, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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