There is something fascinating about Korean cinema. For example, The Man From Nowhere at first watch seems generic to say the least, yet it manages to entertain the audience. You are bound to find similarities between the film and Leon and at times it has an Oldboy feel to it, still Ajeossi (Korean name) keeps the audience interested and at the edge of their seats.
The story is partly about revenge and mostly about the anti-hero being a savior. Certain events lead to our quiet hero Taesik (Bin Won) protecting a child Somi (Kim Sae-ron) living in his building and as a result taking on a local gang that have their fingers in pretty much everything from drugs, to organ trafficking to child kidnapping.
Just like in this movie, Korean cinema has always scored big on cinematography. The Man From Nowhere is great to look at. The POV camera shots and a number of others techniques are made use of in limited quantity, but high quality. I hope the director of my recently reviewed Hindi film Saitan would have learned something from this.
The basic premise of the story has shades of other films (predominantly Leon), but it still has enough twists along the way and is paced fast enough to keep everyone happy. Most of the characters are well defined, but hardly get enough screen time. The title character on the other hand has ample screen presence, and makes good use of it with a violent back story leading him to his present state of mind.
I honestly cannot complain about the acting. Everyone performs well and Bin Won gets a special mention for portraying a character with many shades. Some might find that the villains are a tad over the top, but then I believe that in an action film like such, it's almost quintessential to have villains go all crazy. The blood and gore might be hard to look at, but it definitely adds to the feel of the movie.
Strengthening my liking for Korean films, The Man From Nowhere is a performance and action based gangster thriller that provides ample film watching excitement and for that it gets a 4 out of 5 star rating.
PS: I decided to use the Korean version of the poster as the title photograph since I felt it had a much better impact than the “English” version which lacks depth.