I have regular conversations with my Melbourne-based brother. When he asked me what I thought of The Man From Nowhere, I didn't hesitate: "Fuckin' fantastic!" We have similar tastes in films. My tastes are perhaps a bit more extreme, and I'm probably more partial to the sex and violence mix than he is, but, sure enough, our tastes aren't far apart.
I think we'll be in perfect sync with The Man From Nowhere, a belting, relentless, beautifully realized revenge yarn that also manages to be very emotional. It had me by the balls and brain stem.
The Koreans have been slamming home the brutal revenge material for several years now. I've loved A Bitterweet Life, Breathless, I Saw The Devil, and Dirty Carnival. This joins that esteemed group.
Director Jeong-beom Lee rapidly concocts a brutal scenario in which a young girl (a stellar performance by Kim Sae-ron) becomes the subject of the hero's (Won Bin) mission. What plays out over ninety tight minutes is a bloody, balletic, emotion-fueled hunt for an army of bad people and the people behind these people.
What distinguishes The Man From Nowhere from other revenge efforts is the refreshing clarity of complex action sequences and the obsessive focus on the hero's journey. Won Bin turns in an exceptional, physically demanding performance which never becomes one-note and adheres to the character's emotional trajectory. Nobody's going off on irrelevant tangents here.
This is disciplined, rousing filmmaking that does not miss a step.
There are so many unique individual scenes worthy of praise. One I'll single out here is an amazing chase through a building that ends in a stunt involving a broken window, a diving camera, and parkor-like acrobatics. It's a jaw-dropping accomplishment, and all the more effective because it's not slowed down or overemphasized. Like much of this film, its greatness lies in its humble creative ethic.
See this without pause.
The Well Go USA presentation of this film (on Blu-ray) is exceptional