|...Especially if you love Korean discos|
Cha (Bin Won) is gruff and standoffish. He lives in a dingy apartment behind a crappy pawn shop, which appears to be in the middle floor of a tenement. That seems like an odd location to have a store, but I certainly am not a Korean real estate expert. The only person who seeks Cha out is So-Mi (Sae-Ron Kim), the obviously neglected daughter of Cha's drug-addicted stripper neighbor. So-Mi likes Cha because they are both outsiders; the neighborhood calls Cha "Pawnshop Ghost" and her "Garbage," which So-Mi correctly observes would make a great rock band name.
|Plus, he already has the haircut|
|Less pleasant implications than Clockwork's scene|
|Cha is a janitor's nightmare|
Bin Won was pretty good as the stoic and tortured lead in The Man From Nowhere. His action scenes, while mostly gun fighting, were pretty impressive when he got physical. As far as his acting goes, tough guy roles are a dime a dozen, and he doesn't screw up. I was less impressed with the flashback scenes that explain his tortured soul, but he was at least decent in those. Sae-Ron Kim was kind of obnoxious as the kidnapped girl; she was just annoying and depressing, with a notable exception at the very end of the film.
|Annoying and presumably soulless|
|Give him whiskers and he's ready for Naruto|
Having said that, The Man From Nowhere is nothing you haven't seen before. A reluctant tough guy is forced to kill a ton of bad guys to rescue or avenge a young girl. If you haven't seen Commando, Man On Fire, or Taken, you still probably know what will happen next in this plot. This predictability is tempered a bit by solid production values and fine direction from Jeong-beom Lee, but that shadow is still hovering over this movie. Thankfully, the shoot-em-up action scenes --- particularly the climactic scene in the bath house --- are all good and the hand-to-hand scenes are impressive. The dialogue is pretty stiff, but that could have simply been the translation. There is one line that I genuinely liked, though: "Those living for tomorrow get fucked by those living for today."
This song was played over the closing credits. Not bad.