Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Man From Nowhere


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

16 comments:

  1. I saw a version of George Orwells " Animal farm" by the Singapore Theatre Company last night. You would of dug it. Jax

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  2. I've been wanting to see this film. I hadn't even heard about it until I saw it in the new release section of a video store. I'm in desperate need of a good and new action film.

    I know this is off topic, but have you read the graphic novel "The Squirrel Machine" by Hans Rickheit?

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  3. Jesse -- definitely not off-topic on this blog in general. I love 'The Squirrel Machine'. It's on my list of upcoming blog subjects. Truly unique.

    If you're still in need of a good actioner, you won't go wrong with 'The Man From Nowhere'

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    jaxflix -- anything 'Animal Farm' is good in my book.

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    Diary -- Thanks!

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  4. the sneering (homo-phobic) snobApril 1, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Phantom, did you know you were born on exactly the same day as Baz Luhr-girl. By the way, i was really relieved to find out that he is married with 2 kids because i always thought he was a bloody dirty faggot (because of his poofy speech and his decidedly poofy directorial chioces).

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  5. shbs -- Elton John was married once.

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  6. jervaise brooke hamsterApril 2, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    Phantom, i didn`t know you were freinds with Zelda Rubinstein, i was just wondering, when you spoke to her or met up for the dinner dates did she ever talk about Heather ? and if so what did she say ?.

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  7. jervaise brooke hamsterApril 3, 2011 at 6:02 AM

    Phantom, i said what did Zelda say about Heather ?, could you reply please.

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  8. jervaise brooke hamsterApril 3, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Strange because i`m assuming that your meetings with Zelda took place girl-y years or even decades after Heathers death so its odd that she didn`t reminisce at all about the little blonde moppet who was a part of her life for a few breif months in `81, `85 and `87.

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  9. Thanks for the review. Watched it this week and it's a perfect Asian actioner--the grime, the guts, the melodrama, the punch was all pitch perfect. The climax was really balls out.

    Thanks for mentioning Dirty Carnival as well. I was trying like hell to remember the title.

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  10. Hey, I just posted my review of TMFN, and, as usual, we're on the same page. Great minds ...

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  11. Well, I finally got around to it, and you are right on the money. A slew of great characters, simple and effective dialogue (especially by the villains), brutal violence, emotion, acting. It was all there. Big, big thanks, Pulp. \m/

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  12. d -- Terrific that you enjoyed it much I I did.

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    Patrick -- great minds, indeed!

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    Milkman -- You're very welcome. Makes me happy when my recommendations don't backfire on me.

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  13. aside from slick production values and a great knife fight, i thought this was about as cliched/corny/melodramatic/archetypal as a genre pic could get. "can i have a hug?" how about a vomit bag? oh well, i guess we can't agree on everything.

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  14. Paul -- we can't agree on everything. And I'm sure we'll live with that.

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