The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: CJ Entertainment/United Pictures - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 119 minutes
Genre: Action/Martial Arts
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): Korean DST-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English (dubbed), English
Starring: Won Bin, Kim Sae-Ron
Written & Directed by: Lee Jeong-Beom
Music by: Shim Hyun-Jung
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 8, 2011
"Nothing to lose, Nothing to compromise"
Tae-Sik, a former special agent becomes a loner after suffering a tragic loss and lives a bitter life running a pawnshop. He only has a few customers and a friend named So-mi, a little girl next door. As Tae-Sik and Som-Mi spend more time together they strike up a friendship. So-Mi's mother is an addict who gets on the wrong side of some local mob types with ties to drugs and something much worse. When she gets in over her head she and So-Mi are kidnapped. Tae-Sik quickly steps out of the shadows in order to rescue them but finds that doing so means striking a bargain that could reveal his hidden past. What the kidnappers don't realize is that Tae-Sik, The man from nowhere with nothing to lose, nothing to compromise and nothing to stop him.
Tae-shik (Won Bin) is an ex-military special agent whose tragic past has made him distance himself from the world. He now lives in solitude and runs a small pawnshop. The only people he now sees are the few pawnshop customers and So-mi (Kim Sae-Ron), the young girl who lives next door. 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 mother's affiliation with drug trafficking turns deadly when she pilfers a delivery and stashes the goods in Tae-Shik's pawn shop without his knowledge. When the bad guys come looking they kidnap So-Mi and her mother to use a leverage in order to entice Tae-Shik to make a delivery for them. In reality the delivery is part of a bigger plan to eliminate their competition and set Tae-Shik up as the fall guy. When the truth comes to light Tae-Shik sees the handwriting on the wall for So-Mi and her mother. With time running out The man from nowhere, as he is now referred to, must step from the shadows into the light in order to extricate himself but more importantly to save the only person in the world that he cares about.
This is a pretty decent action thriller that has a sentimentality that I found reminiscent of (Leon) The Professional. This lies in the relationship between So-Mi and Tae-Shik and the nature of the bond they share as two people who discover that they need one another. I liked the entire cast but especially thought that Bin Won did a great job in the role of the ass kicking silent type who does more communicating through his actions than his words. The plot is a straight forward revenge scenario although it got a little fuzzy a few times. I think this may have had more to do with the language barrier but I did scratch my head once or twice. The pacing could have been smoother as well however I found the moderate level of suspense, slick integrated action and excellent cinematography to be rewarding. The bloody encounter in the final act segues into an emotional ending that didn't quite befit what preceded it but everyone's take on that could be different. The bottom line; The man from nowhere is a thematically dark and entertaining crime thriller that makes for a satisfying action film.
The rating is for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, drug content and brief nudity.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The man from nowhere comes to Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 1.7 Mbps.
This video presentation has a filmic quality that doesn't always lend itself to razor sharp images however resolution is excellent as both people and objects are rendered with clear definition that at times is meticulously resolved. The color palette isn't a diverse one and with the exception of a colorful flashback sequence sticks mainly to tamped down secondary hues with splashes of primary colors that render a cooler overall aesthetic. Flesh tones are on the bland side but fit right in with the visual style of the video. Contrast is bold which adds dynamic emphasis to sequences containing bright elements. Blacks are dynamic and slightly crushed. Scenes containing uneven and/or dim lighting reveal discernible but occasionally limited detail in shadowy backgrounds and darkened areas. These segments don't have the dimensional perspective of the brighter scenes and tend to appear flat by comparison. Grain is visibly moderate and appears to be well preserved.
The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix which comes in English dubbed and Korean (which I used during my evaluation) languages does a nice job rendering the film's soundtrack. Dialogue has excellent intonation and clarity which allows even subtle changes in vocal pitch to be appreciable. This is a well balanced audio presentation that quite often engages the entire system. Dynamic range is excellent and the soundstage has an open expression that allows its elements to extend well into the room. Discrete rear channel activity isn't extensive however the action based elements provide an enriching level of immersion which is generated by a seamless sound field. The action based sequences are empowered by near field sound effects, robust dynamics and thumping techno rhythms that energize the room. The LFE channel is frequently active and reproduces the film's music and extended lower bass frequencies with visceral impact that has excellent tactility.
** CIH users should make note that the subtitles appear both in the picture and letterbox areas.
- Teaser trailer
- Theatrical trailer
- Action sequence highlight reel - 5 minutes
- Making of featurette - 17 minutes
The man from nowhere is a dark crime thriller built around an oft used plot that features rewarding action, interesting characters and a little melodramatic flavor that works in nicely. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Well Go USA in a technically strong offering that features solid audio/video quality but a lackluster offering of bonus supplements. Genre fans should definitely check this one out.
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