Movie #269 The Man From Nowhere
(2011, Korea, d. Lee Jeong-Beom)
Compared to an American revenge flick, The Man from Nowhere still proves my theory on global filmmaking: Korea has a far better grasp of making gripping and original format films than Hollywood does. However, compared with my recent surge in interest in the country’s industry, The Man From Nowhere, though a highly accoladed film within its borders, held nothing next to their best revenge films. Movies like Oldboy, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and Chaser are far better films than this one. To be quite blunt, The Man from Nowhere just really feels like it tries to outdo those films the whole time. With an interesting lead character played by Won Bin, Nowhere tells the story of a drug deal gone wrong. When the daughter of a drug trafficker is kidnapped with the the threat of death if the drugs aren’t given to the kidnappers, a quiet neighbor who has taken a liking to this girl decides to do something about it. This neighbor is our lead character – the man from nowhere – who probably has about 4 lines in the opening 30 minutes of the film. He decides to get her back. Little does everyone know that he is an ex-government agent whose only intention is getting her back and killing everyone who stands in his way. Apart from that, cue Korean revenge action sequences. With well delivered tension and interesting character arcs, The Man from Nowhere still does a great job of surprising the audience even when they feel they know where the story is going. A little recycled and a little worn, the film does a great job of feeling new, even though there are far better films in the Korean anthology.