The Man From Nowhere (Korean)

Overview:
This hard-hitting tale of revenge stars Bin Won as Tae-Sik, a former special agent living a bitter and lonely life following his wife’s tragic death. When a young girl (Sae-Ron Kim) he befriends is kidnapped by a vicious drug gang, Tae-Sik rushes to her aid. Bloodthirsty and hell-bent on justice — particularly after being framed by the gang — he takes the law into his own hands, infiltrating the ring and systematically wiping out its members.

Plot Rating: 5/5
Oh Netflix, where to begin with you… Well, first off his name is Won Bin, not Bin Won, but let’s leave that for now. Mostly it’s an OK summary, let me expland just a bit and correct the spelling errors on the names.

Tae-Shik is ex-black ops, a solitary and silent man who runs the neighborhood pawn shop. He is long-time friends with So-Mi, an outcast little girl who hangs out with him to hide from her drug-addict stripper mother. When So-Mi’s mother is caught trying to steal drugs from a powerful gang both her and the girl are taken captive. Tae-Shik, a witness to the kidnapping, swears not to stop until he gets his little friend back.

Basically, think “Taken”, except the lead is just a friend to the girl, not her father. It’s a fantastic story, I actually prefer it to “Taken”. The writing is very realistic and it gives you a good idea of the Korean cinema process and style, especially if you compare it to “Taken”.

So-Mi trades Tae-Shik her MP3 player for a day in exchange for 1,000 won (~$1)

Acting Score: 6/5
Won Bin is one of Korea’s acting treasures, and enjoys intense popularity. He brings his full game to “The Man From Nowhere” and delivers a commanding performance, despite Tae-Shik being a rather quiet man. Kim Sae Ron is not overshadowed as the young So-Mi, and is easily one of the best young actors in the field. Oh, and Kim Seong Oh is terrifying as the younger brother of one of the kidnappers, he brings a whole new dimension to the bad guys, a truly award-winning performance.

While Tae-Shik hunts down So-Mi a Vietnamese drug mercenary hunts him

Age Rating: 16+
There is a lot of strong language in this film. Yes, it’s in Korean, so you can’t understand it, but there are always subtitles. The film has some sexual content, nothing hot and heavy, nothing explicit, but it is definitely there. Finally, the scenes of torture are kind of shocking, especially the hairdryer one (you’ll see it), so young viewers are strongly discouraged.

Fun Trivia
The Korean title, 아저씨 (Ajeossi), translates to “Uncle”. In Korean culture it is an honorific title for any man who is either middle aged or older than the speaker by at least 6-7 years. Throughout the film Tae-Shik is called “Ajeossi” by So-Mi, and you hear Tae-Shik called that more than by his name.

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