Robyn's Review of The Man From Nowhere
The Man From Nowhere(2010)
When it has comes to the extreme revenge film genre, it seems that South Korea has the market cornered. Chan woo-Park's theme based "The Vengeance Trilogy", "The Chaser" (2008) and "I Saw the Devil" (2010), "Vengeance" (2009)-- a steady stream of never ending films--I couldn't be more thankful. "The Man From Nowhere" is a deadly combination of "The Professional" (1994) and "Taken" (2008), and yes--better than both of those films individually.
"The Man from Nowhere" begins by developing the relationship between Cha Tae-sik, played by Bin Won "Mother" (2009), and So-mi, played by up and coming child actress Kim Sae-ron. This friendship developed is the heart of the film, and is efficiently set up in the first 25 minutes, before So-mi is abruptly kidnapped. The rest of the film mainly focuses on Cha's efforts to find her. Having almost nothing to work with, and with the police being more of a hindrance than a help, we learn more about Cha's demons and tragic past as he gets closer to finding So-mi. Won Bin delivers a great performance as a highly-skilled fighter, and equally effective as a very emotionally damaged, vulnerable character.
The more technical aspects of production, cinematography, and action are all extremely well handled. I prefer the style of action in this film to many American films, which tend to use extremely quick cuts, and overdubbed sounds to make their scenes. "The Man from Nowhere" uses slightly slower cuts--and gives a much better sense of space for the viewer, as opposed to a film like "Taken". Much of the action uses gun play which is fairly unusual in Korean films, but effective nonetheless. The action scenes are all tightly choreographed, with nice spatial and visual sensibilities.
A great thriller--a non stop adrenaline rush of emotions, with plenty of action sequences to carry one through its two hour run time. It's not perfect by any means, It does run a little too long, and could easily lose about twenty minutes. And most of that time is a handful of overly melodramatic scenes. But it's hard to be angry with director Jeong-beom Lee because he delivers so well in just about every other way. It's not nearly as brutal or shocking as films like "Oldboy" or "I Saw the Devil", but is a highly polished, exciting, thriller.