Bullet Points: The Man from Nowhere
I originally watched this movie only after I had seen a trailer for Jeong-beom Lee’s new film No Tears for the Dead (which looks amazing). After watching it I did some research and saw just how many awards TMFN had won and I can’t say that I’m that surprised. I came into it without too high of expectations since I hadn’t seen either the actor or the directors work before. Sometimes that is for the best. If this movie had starred someone like Dolph Lundgren or Stallone I would have obviously come into it with my own personal bias towards those bulking genetic freaks and their kickass filmographies. Having said all of that, I was very pleasantly surprised by this film.
The Gist: CHA Tae-shik is a quiet pawnshop owner who prefers to keep to himself, his only friend being the young girl who lives next door with her drug-using mother. After her mother makes a bid to get a higher portion of a drug deal, her employers abduct her and her young daughter which involves their neighbor, the mysterious CHA Tae-shik. As he becomes more and more involved in the situation, his own personal demons begin to re-appear and his past comes back to haunt him. His search for the young girl soon becomes the only thing that matters to him and he will stop at nothing to find her.
The Cast: Bi Won played our hero CHA Tae-shik and I can honestly say that I was very impressed by his chops. My only issue was how he had that pussy Justin Bieber haircut for the first third of the movie. Luckily, he gives himself a proper haircut and looks way more like the badass that he was portraying. The little girl was quite annoying at times but that seemed to be the point. I have no complaints about the character of Detective No but some of his underlings were a bit silly.
Thank God he cuts his hair.
The Villain: There was more a villain by committee in this one; a pair of brothers who were dealing in both drugs and organ trafficking play our resident assholes in this one. They have, of course, surrounded themselves with expendable bad guys and it gives our hero plenty of blood to shed on his way to finding the young girl. The brothers grab for power within their own drug/organ industry gives them an unpredictable nature about them and you never really know if there will be a happy ending for our hero and his little friend.
Our villains blend believ-ability, successfull-ness, evil-ness, and ridiculous over-the-top lunacy all into two people.
The Action: TMFN did something that I might normally not like, but in this case it worked perfectly. Our mysterious hero was not shown fighting for some time throughout the first half of the movie. For his first two sequences they are either cut-away or merely talked about. If this had been a Jason Statham movie I would have been pissed about this, but considering our Bieber-haired hero had yet to show his skillset, I was pretty pumped when I finally got to see him in action. There were three or more fantastic fight scenes in this one. One of them being in a club restroom and they other that ended up kinda being the final showdown which you can see detailed in the photos below. It was immensely enjoyable.
Take it Home:
–Favorite quote: “You better find the sample heroin or I’ll donate you two to the Bodies exhibition.”
–Torture ingenuity: This was the first time I have seen a torture scene involving a hair dryer.
–Anything you can do…: This movie was really just a better version of Man on Fire for me…minus the explosives in the anus.
–Keep ‘em guessing: It’s always great in an action flick when the build-up to the finale is done in a way that you don’t really know whether or not the hero will survive.
–Tears of joy…and of pain: I thought the film was surprisingly touching. Let’s be clear, it was basically Commando/Man on Fire/Taken with a bunch of Korean dudes, but mix in a little Extreme Home Makeover (who hasn’t cried watching that) to tug on the heartstrings and you have a touching film about a guy killing the shit out of loads of drug dealers and organ traffickers.