A man named Cha Tae-sik operates a pawn shop in a small neighbourhood. Very quiet and private, he is constantly visited by a small girl So-mi. So-mi is a girl with no friends, her mother doesn’t spend time with her and she generally feels unwanted, but appreciates time spent with Cha Tae-sik, who is her neighbour.
Cha Tae-sik isn’t the most friendliest person either. Although welcoming, he is also snappy and dismissive of So-mi. His mysterious past has him very disconnected from the rest of the world, and So-mi is basically his only human friend.
After a falling out between the two, due to Cha Tae-sik’s attitude, So-mi’s mother becomes the target of some gangsters after stealing form them, and So-mi is kidnapped. After discovering this Cha Tae-sik springs into action to save her. Driven by guilt and motivated by her innocence and his dark past, he viciously works his way through the gangsters to free her, while being chased by police.
Cha Tae-sik’s past
Cha Tae-sik isn’t your ordinary neighbour, even when the police try to learn more about his identity his file happens to be locked – under military order.
It turns out he is an ex-special ops agent with a high level of training and skill. But later we learn of his loss – the sudden death of his pregnant wife. This is what leads to his quiet existence, having mourned for years over their deaths.
With So-mi becoming almost like a little sister or even a daughter to him, he sees the same mistakes unfolding again. This is the driving force behind his relentless and ruthlessly vicious chase and killing of the kidnapping gangsters – and makes for some awesome entertainment!
His nature is dark, as is the rest of the movie as he ventures in to grittier parts of the city, revealing a disgusting side of the underworld filled with the scum of the Earth. Watching these scumbags being killed or taken apart like worthless chunks of meat is what I enjoyed about this movie – with Cha tae-sik’s simple, bloodthirsty yet righteous rage.
A Very Emotional Film (spoilers)
There’s a lot of imagery anyone with a family can relate to – losing your wife, unborn child, and possibly another make this movie very relatable.
But the real emotional charge is most obvious at the end of the film – when Cha Tae Sik is told that So-mi is dead, and has had her eyes cut out, right before throwing them to him. Cha Tae-sik cuts loose and ruthlessly murders every last man in the room with his knife before eventually chasing down the head of the group.
Having killed everyone in sight, and remorseful over the death of So-mi, he points a gun at his head, before discovering she is alive – a moment of happiness that he at least got this move right!
Cha Tae-sik’s character is very emotional for the rest of the film, and Won Bin’s acting talents are really remarkable in my opinion – he sells the character, the emotion and delivers a truly awesome physical performance as well!
This movie doesn’t have a hell of a lot of martial arts in it until the very end of the film.
The final knife fight scene is absolutely incredible and unlike any other I’ve ever seen. The variety of moves and technical choreography is presented in an excited and hugely motivated way – offering a blend of emotionally charged action which is fast and pulls no punches!
If you watch this movie for any reason – make it the knife fight!
The rest of the movie is told with pace and character, with quick flashes of action and revealing of Cha Tae -sik’s skill. It’s almost a bit of a tease leading up to the knife fight, but is entertaining in itself.
Top movie – gritty, emotional with a lot of character insight to that drives the final action sequence that is built up so perfectly. See it!
On Blu Ray –
Region A (US & Canada)
The Man from Nowhere [Blu-ray]
On DVD –
Region 1 (US & Canada)
The Man From Nowhere
Region 2 (UK, Europe, etc)
The Man From Nowhere [DVD]
Region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, etc)
Man from Nowhere on DVD