Wednesday’s What You Should Watch – The Man From Nowhere
Asian films, particularly Asian horror and action/thrillers have been gaining a reputation for being disgusting (see Three Extremes: Dumplings) and brutal in their violence (see I Saw the Devil). But what’s often lost in the hype/translation, is that many of these films are actually telling a decent story to go along with their spectacle. For action/thriller fans, “The Man From Nowhere” has it all. It’s a smart, sometimes VERY bloody film about a loner who, in his quest to protect an orphaned girl, gets in way over his head with an organized crime syndicate. Except, he has some special skills from his past that come quite in handy.
I’m not just spewing accolades here. It was the highest grossing film of 2010 in South Korea and the United States has already picked up the rights to an English language remake. I’m trying to imagine who I see in the lead role and I’m coming up blank. Jeremy Renner might be a good choice, but I’m sort of biased there. Maybe an unknown would fit the title role best, I’m not sure. But obviously, this film has been loved by executives and audiences and is currently available on Netflix Instant. You should check it out now.
The beauty of the film really comes from a few things. First, is the relationship between the man and the orphan he befriends. Like all movies with this plot, it takes a little while to develop, but it feels quite real. Of course she disappears and the man decides to track her down. There is a fantastic montage of him tracking children through the streets, watching as they are used by a drug cartel to deliver goods and pass messages. Second, there is some interesting double-crossing involving the cartel and the man, that really sets up the action of the third act. And yeah, wow, the third act. I don’t know if I have watched a sequence of film more than the ending battle between the man and the thugs from the cartel. It takes place in a beautiful lobby with stone walls, floors and statues. The bullets ricochet off of everything, the blood is bright against the white floor and the choreography of the gun battle and ensuing knife fights is flat out amazing. Some of the best action I’ve ever seen in a film.
If you don’t like subtitles, then I suggest you suck it up for this one. Much of the story can be deciphered simply through watching how characters behave, so the dialogue is sort of just a bonus. I’m serious, watch it without subtitles and you will be fine. The action will remain intact, the story still coherent. Just do it before they remake the damn thing.