The Man From Nowhere
by Del Harvey
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Somewhere in his past, CHA Tae-sik spent a little time behind bars, and we are never sure why. But now he tries to lead a quiet life, running a pawn shop in his high-rise apartment building. A true loner, his only connection to the rest of the world are his few customers and the young girl who lives next door, So-Mi. So-mi has also been neglected by the world and as she and Tae-shik begin to spend more time together, the two gradually open themselves to one another and become friends.
So-mi’s mother, Hyo-jeong, smuggles drugs for a local gang and, unknown to Tae-sik, slips the product into his pawn shop one day. When the traffickers find out they kidnap both Hyo-jeong and So-mi. But mistaking Tae-sik for another mule, the brothers that lead the gang—Man-sik and Jong-sik—promise to release Hyo-jeong and So-mi if Tae-sik makes a delivery for them.
Tae-sik is forced to make a decision - to face the outside world in order to rescue So-mi. However, he soon discovers the delivery was part of a larger plot to eliminate a rival drug ring leader, Mr. Oh, and Tae-sik is framed for that crime and arrested.
Around this same time, Hyo-jeong’s disemboweled body is discovered, and Tae-sik realizes that So-mi’s life may also be in danger. He fights off half a dozen detectives and escapes from the police station.
Now on the run, Tae-sik pursues the mobsters Man-sik and Jong-sik. In so doing, he makes a more disturbing discovery - that their drug ring operates through the use of kidnapped children.
He tracks them down at a factory where the brothers have children’s organs removed to accommodate the drugs. Tae-sik rescues one child just before surgery and becomes enraged at the prospect So-mi may already be dead. Tae-sik prepares to battle with Man-sik and Jong-sik, putting his own life at risk. But the risk is worth it in order to save So-mi, his one and only friend in this world.
And while So-mi is still nowhere to be found, the police begin to chase after Tae-shik. With the police and the underground mob close on his tail, Tae-shik continues his frantic search for So-mi and his hidden past slowly becomes revealed…
The Man From Nowhere is an amazing action film full of exciting twists and turns. Although it has a dark central story, the thing that makes it most amazing is the overarching sense that hope can remain even in such dismal circumstances. This is a thoroughly entertaining and satisfying film. One of the best action suspense films of 2010 - not only from Korea, but from any country. Don’t miss it!
The Man From Nowhere releases on BluRay and DVD on March 8th. Bonus features include the in-depth, behind-the-scenes featurette “The Making of The Man From Nowhere,” as well as a reel of action highlights from the film.
See the official trailer and find out more about The Man From Nowhere by clicking here.
Del Harvey is the founder of Film Monthly, a film teacher, a writer and a film critic in Chicago.
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