Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Man from Nowhere (2010)

The Man from Nowhere (South Korea, 2010) - Color, Director(s): Jeong-beom Lee
MPAA Rating: R
[UK: 18]
Approx. 119 min.

Z-rating: 4 out of 5 stars for good action with great story

Cheese Factor: 1 out of 5 stars for trying to balance a sweet story with a violent one

Well, I think I should start off by saying that I probably would've liked this movie more if not for the fact that I had recent watched The Raid: Redemption. This was still a very good movie that balances emotion with action but The Raid just raised the bar for action movies SO high that my expectations were a little skewed when watching this one.

The basic premise is that some whore attempts to steal a batch of heroin from a gang of drug dealers and gets caught up in a sticky situation. Meanwhile, her innocent little daughter is making friends with the local pawnshop owner with a mysterious past. One night, the gang comes for the drugs and ends up kidnapping both the mother and daughter. The pawnshop guy (our hero) has his hands forced when they go to his pawnshop looking for the stash. After getting emotionally attached to the little girl, all he wants is to get her back and he's willing to do ANYTHING to make that happen.

The twist? This gang of drug dealers has their hands in other shady business practices such as child slavery and ORGAN HARVESTING!!! When I heard the premise of this story, I knew that I had to watch it. Immediately. I really liked the way the story builds (even though some people might say it's slow) but organ harvesting was far from what I expected out of this type of movie.

As luck would have it, this guy was ex-military so when he vows vengeance... you know the drug dealer/organ harvesters are pretty much fucked. The only complaint I have about this movie was that they build him up to be this super bad ass, highly trained, black ops type guy but the pay off from his revenge was a little lackluster. I can't say that it was a complete disappointment but I definitely expected his revenge to be much more satisfying from the way they built him up to be some cold-blooded super solider. I have to say though, I think this type of thinking come from American action movies where the protagonist is usually some highly trained ex-military guy who can fire 10 shots and kill a room full of people without so much as a scratch on him. My complaint wasn't that this guy wasn't invincible because I feel like that gave his character a much more realistic feel, but just that they made him out to be a top-level assassin but the way his revenge would play out just wasn't satisfying enough for me. (Maybe I'm just a sadist!) I really would've thought that his plans would seem less haphazard by the way he seems to act so cool when you first see him. A very minor complaint, however, as I did really enjoy this movie.

Nudity: I think you may see a flash of titties when they discover a woman's body in the trunk of a car but it's neither sexy nor arousing.

Unless you're into that sort of thing!

Gore: Surprisingly, not much gore in this movie either. There's plenty of violence and people getting stabbed but not much in the way of guts spilling out all over the floor. Maybe because I'm primarily a horror movie fanatic, this one seems a bit tame in the way of gore. While the themes are violent, a lot of the actual violence is just alluded to and happens off-screen.

Awesome: Pretty awesome. I like how this movie is different from what we're used to seeing. I can really appreciate how they tried to incorporate organ harvesting into the story and that was what really set this movie apart from others in the same genre. Also, like I mentioned earlier, the main character wasn't untouchable despite being highly skilled at what he does. My only disappointment came when they built him up to be this unstoppable force of destruction but the way his plans for revenge play out just wasn't satisfying enough. I was hoping to see something along the lines of Law Abiding Citizen in terms of planning or The Punisher in term of execution.

Like I said though, I feel like I would've enjoyed this movie A LOT more if I hadn't seen The Raid a couple days before it. So my recommendation if you're planning to watch these movies, watch this one first to see how you feel about it. Then go out and buy The Raid: Redemption cause that's going to be MUCH more intense. (DVD and Blu-ray drop August 14th)