I have always loved Asian films, especially Japanese Samurai films and Chinese gangster films. Lately though I have been enjoying a wide range of Korean movies. The Man from Nowhere is currently available on instant Netflix.
The Man from Nowhere (2010) – Rated R
“This hard-hitting tale of revenge stars Bin Won as Tae-Sik, a former special agent living a bitter and lonely life following his wife’s tragic death. When a young girl (Sae-Ron Kim) he befriends is kidnapped by a vicious drug gang, Tae-Sik rushes to her aid. Bloodthirsty and hell-bent on justice — particularly after being framed by the gang — he takes the law into his own hands, infiltrating the ring and systematically wiping out its members.”
If you read the synopsis of this film above and thought, “wait isn’t that the plot of Taken?”, you would be correct. Although the characters are different, this follows essentially the same plotline and many of the same character beats as the Liam Neeson movie. That said this is still a very good albeit brutal thriller. Jeong Beom Lee directs here from his own script. Both are remarkably polished given that he only has one other movie to his credit (2006’s Cruel Winter Blues).
Won Bin, the actor who played the mentally challenged Yoon in Mother, is the star here. He does a great job of playing the enigmatic tough guy. The rest of the cast also does a good job and the little girl is cute. The action is quite good and the climactic fights are thrilling.
Aside: Did you know that Seoul has a Chinatown? I guess I never really thought about it but it is featured in this movie.
Product Placement: What the hey? There are now stacks of Hite crates. I guess it is that ubiquitous. Hite is the top-selling beer in Korea and the name of the brewery (I finally went and looked it up after seeing Hite in three separate films).