“…because I’m her next door neighbor. I’m also quite bored, and bitter over the death of my fiance.”
Words: Desmond Childs
Cha Tae-Sik is a quiet, unassuming pawn shop owner; operating out of a cluttered workspace within a small neighborhood. And it’s these small, unassuming truths are exatcly the reason he appears so suspicious. Not suspicious in a “I’m actually a mass-murderer” way, but there appears to be more to the guy that meets the eye. Not to mention that he’s a bit of a recluse, preferring to keep to himself. In fact, only a neighbor’s daughter is nice enough to even conversate with Tae-Sik. While this one little social contact seems insignificant enough, Tae-Sik himself apparently values the “friendship” of this little girl well enough to embark on the rescue mission that serves as this films primary plot. I was very impressed with this movie, and have officially accepted it as the proper replacement for the entertainment value “I Saw The Devil” gruesomely robbed from me. Both rescue missions and quests for revenge require high stakes. I Saw The Devil was a revenge film in which the “protagonist” (outside of losing his finance) never really had to risk anything as opposed to his nemesis in the film. In this movie here, Tae-Sik is risking his life for the friendship he shares with this kid. I know that sounds pretty paper thin to bet a life on, but as I mentioned earlier Tae-Sik is a recluse and those types are always a little weird. Take Bruce Wayne for example, that guy leaps around pretending to be a winged mammal.
Synopsis and Analysis: “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN!?”
Mr. Lee has yet to make a significant impact in the moviemaking industry although some have marked The Man From Nowhere as being his big breakthrough. Prior to his work on this film, Lee’s only other project was Cruel Winter Blues in which he wrote and directed. Debuting with Cruel Winter Blues and following up with a feature such as The Man From Nowhere, this writer-director has already showcased some skill.Although I have yet to see his debut film, the visual flair The Man From Nowhere carried throughout was a very entertaining experience. Many filmmakers strive to be able to tell an engrossing story to go along with all the blood and guts. Mr. Lee’s The Man From Nowhere helped the guy flex some movie making muscle. Lee’s already got a formula to build on, an engrossing, viceral experience is the craft he’s looking to master then perfect.
As I mentioned earlier, this movie is about a pawn shop owner named Cha Tae-Sik. The story kicks off when his next door neighbor, who is apparently a drug smuggler (Hyo-Jeong) who has double crossed the origanization she worked in. Now, to avoid losing her expensive product, see secretly hides the narcotics in Tae-Sik’s pawn shop. The organization captures both Hyo-Jeong and her daughter (So-mi) after learning that the product is with Tae-Sik. Then the organization sends henchmen to rough up and explain the reason for the kidnappings to Tae-Sik. However, Tae-Sik, mysterious past and all, beats the hell out of them and sends them running. He than embarks on an adventure to rescue the two from the organization. A lot of questions as to Tae-Sik’s past are answered throughout the film, such as the terrible tragedy he suffered many years earlier. There’s even a shocking little sub-plot involving serious child-labor law violations. And I mean serious violations. The Man From Nowhere succeeds in a number of aspects but, specifically shines in developing it’s tragic hero in a way I couldn’t help but compare to Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity. This film’s stylized action scenes also help justify that comparison with Tae-Sik’s fighting style being nearly indistinguishable. Awesome film though.
The Man From Nowhere can be found on Netflix’s “Instant Watch” feature. Check out the trailer below: