Imagine a man with Chuck Norris’ tenacity, Jason Bourne’s fighting prowess, Vlad the Impaler’s viciousness, and Bryan Mills’ motivation. That man pales compared to the single-minded destruction factory that is Tae-Sik Cha, a former CIA spook frantically searching for a missing child.
The Man from Nowhere follows Tae-Sik, a special agent turned pawn broker, as he is pulled into the seedy world of organized drug and organ trafficking. He’s searching for a young girl and neighbor who’s been kidnapped by a vicious gang after her mother had stolen their latest score. Despite his initial reticence, Tae-Sik grows into a John Wayne-caliber hero, rescuing children from servitude—or worse, being sold off piece-by-piece—and systematically dismantling the crime syndicate, as well as its members.
This isn’t just some cheap knockoff of Taken. If anything, the reverse is true. Where Taken seemed to jump from plot point to plot point with little regard to consistency or character, The Man From Nowhere offers a masterfully compelling, nuanced story that, despite the ultraviolence, is surprisingly poignant. The acting is genuine—nothing like Alan Rickman’s Hans—and the casting is spot-on.
I’ve been a huge fan of violent crime dramas and action flicks since I was a kid. And I thought I had seen just about every crazy fight scene premise there is to see—including Dae-su Oh bludgeoning his way through a hallway filled with two dozen gang members armed with nothing but a claw hammer (Oldboy, watch it)—but damn was I wrong. Watching Tae-Sik disassemble—literally—eight guys using nothing but a pen knife is simply jaw-dropping. Actually, I think I’ll go ahead an put it on right now. [Netflix – Hulu]