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Tae-shik (Won Bin) is an ex-special agent whose tragic past has made him distance himself from the world. He now lives in solitude and runs a small pawnshop. The only people he now sees are the few pawnshop customers and So-mi (Kim Sae-Ron), the young girl who lives next door. So-mi has also been neglected by the world and as she and Tae-shik begin to spend more time together, the two gradually open themselves to one another and become friends. Then one day, So-mi suddenly disappears. So-mi s mother becomes involved in a major crime causing both her and So-mi to get kidnapped. Tae-shik is drawn back out into the world in a frantic search for So-mi s whereabouts. In order to save So-mi, his one and only friend in this world, Tae-shik makes a certain arrangement with the crime mob. While So-mi is still nowhere to be found, the police begin to chase after Tae-shik. With the police and the underground mob close on his tail, Tae-shik continues his frantic search for So-mi and his hidden past slowly becomes revealed.
"The Man from Nowhere" has certainly gained a lot of attention for itself and from what I could tell before watching the film myself it was all good. The story is about a man who is running away from his, he does so by running a small pawn shop and his only real communication with another person is a little girl that lives in the same building as him. Through her he gets to meet the girl's mother who we find out is a drug smuggler but unknown to her bosses she is making money on the side as well. After the organization catches wind of what she is doing they kidnap her and her daughter and they force Tae-shik to do some running for them as well with the promise of letting the two go. After running a few errands Tae-Shik realizes that the only way he is going to see the little girl again is to find her himself and he will need to use every once of his special agent skills to do so while doing his best to avoid the police who are hot on his trail as well.
Whatever the story might lack as far as originality goes it more than makes up for it in every other aspect and it's execution. The director does a great job at telling the story, the film takes it's time getting to the action while it sets up it's characters and story as well as giving us a detailed look at Tae-Shik's past. By doing so you really grow attached to the characters and you have invested interest in their outcome. Now on to the action, it is not only brutal but realistic as well. There's a knife fight in the film that is simply jaw-dropping, these are fight scenes that are so well choreographed you feel like you're watching them in real time. There's no fancy "Hollywood" style effects here and that's a good thing, instead you have a gritty action film that seems to put you right there with it's characters.
The entire cast did a terrific job but the two highlights are Bin Won as Tae-Shik and Sae-ron Kim as the young girl, So-Mi. I expected a strong performance from Bin Won and I wasn't disappointed but I was really impressed with Sae-ron Kim, this is a young actress with a very promising future ahead of her. "The Man from Nowhere" is a revenge thriller that brings a lot to the table, it tells a simple story in a complex way by having characters that are much more than one-dimensional. Suspenseful, dramatic, sad and a bone-crushing thriller that delivers as advertised. Both the DVD and Blu-ray have some excellent special features that include:
Korean and English soundtracks and English Subtitles.
If you like a good action/thriller you are going to love this film, it is a film that grabs your attention right from it's opening scene and once the action kicks in it has you at the edge of your seat till the bittersweet ending. You can order the DVD HERE and the Blu-ray HERE.
Released by Well Go USA
****Out Of *****