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The Man from Nowhere (2010)
"Ajeossi" (original title)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Thriller  |  5 August 2010 (South Korea)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 39,351 users  
Reviews: 82 user | 97 critic

A quiet pawnshop keeper with a violent past takes on a drug- and organ trafficking ring in hope of saving the child who is his only friend.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hee-won Kim ...
Seong-oh Kim ...
Jong-pil Lee ...
Hyo-seo Kim ...
Su-ryun Baek ...
Old Woman (as Soo-ryeon Baek)
Kyeong-eup Nam ...
Section Chief
Do-won Jeong ...
Detective Park (as Jeong Do-won)
Do Won Kwak ...
Detective Kim
Seok-hyeon Jo ...
Moon Dal-seo
Sang-Kyeong Son ...


An ex-special agent CHA Tae-shik's only connection to the rest of the world is a little girl, So-mi, who lives nearby. Her mother, Hyo-jeong smuggles drugs from a drug trafficking organization and entrusts Tae-shik with the product, without letting him know. The traffickers find out about her smuggling and kidnap both Hyo-jeong and So-mi. The gang promises to release them if Tae-shik makes a delivery for them, however it actually is a larger plot to eliminate a rival drug ring leader. When Hyo-jeon's disemboweled body is discovered, Tae-shik realizes that So-mi's life may also be in danger. Tae-shik becomes enraged at the prospect that So-mi may already be dead and prepares for a battle, putting his own life at risk. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Should have left him alone See more »


Action | Crime | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong bloody violence, pervasive language, drug content and brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

5 August 2010 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

The Man from Nowhere  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


kim myung-min was originally casting for the role of tae-sik. See more »


Jeong So-mi: Mister? I embarrass you too, right? That's why you ignored me? It's okay. My teacher and all the kids do that too. Mom said that if I get lost, I should forget our address and phone number. She gets drunk and says we should die. Even though that pig called me a bum... you're meaner. But I don't hate you. Because if I do, I won't have anyone I like. Thinking about it hurts me here. So I won't hate you.
See more »


References Léon: The Professional (1994) See more »


by Mad Soul Child
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User Reviews

A Nutshell Review: The Man From Nowhere
20 March 2011 | by (Singapore) – See all my reviews

You may want to compare this with, or see shades of the film from the likes of Luc Besson's The Professional, Pierre Morel's Taken and Tony Scott's Man on Fire, with the common running theme of a highly skilled operative taking it upon himself to rescue someone they love from the clutches of devious villains, and executing a brand of vengeance without remorse as he ploughs through and single-handedly demolishes all who stand in his way. The Man From Nowhere is South Korea's answer to this sub-genre, and does so with aplomb both in providing that emotional punch to the highly choreographed set action pieces.

The heartthrob Won Bin buffs up to become that titular character Cha Tae-Sik, a man with a secret past who now lives his life incognito in a shady pawnshop trade, striking up his only friendship with the outside world through Jeong So-Mi (Kim Sae Ron from A Brand New Life doing an excellent job once again), the kid from next door whose mom happened to offend drug traders who are also in the business of dealing with the lucrative body organs black market. In fact, the villains are portrayed in such negative light for the multitude of vices they get involved in, including kidnapping children for an Oliver Twist type of artful dodging profession as couriers, that you just cant' wait for them to get their just desserts.

So-Mi's capture and her mom's demise moves the plot forward with Cha having to rely on skills from his past to reclaim the only life of normalcy he knows, as he goes on a one man rampage trying to piece together how deep the rabbit hole of villainy goes, while on the chase by both the cops, led by Detective Kim Chi-Gon (Kim Tae-Hun) and the villains all out to put a stop to his series of destruction to their business. Like any Korean film, there is ample time given to deal with Cha's backstory, as well as to showcase Won Bin's good looks sans scruffy long hair and a perpetual scowl on the face. His previous film Mother and this one put together would already prove that Won Bin has a wide range of emotions to play unorthodox characters rather than just being another pretty boy on the block.

Now for all the action junkies who think they may have seen it all, this Korean flick ups the ante in at least two scenes which makes you sit up and take notice that the stunt coordinators are no pushovers and can offer something refreshingly different. There's that iconic leap from the balcony in The Bourne Ultimatum that had Jason Bourne chase someone through the balcony window in a leap that's followed by a camera. Here, the same got pulled off with the major difference being knowing it is precisely the actor Won Bin himself executing the move from a second storey leap through the window followed by a roll on the ground to break fall, all done in one swift motion, and unless some devious trick is used, that's the actor alright.

The other is the much lauded close quarters knife fight. It may be inspired by the likes of Oldboy or even Repo Men, but this one held it's own ground through its beautiful (yes it's a little weird using this to describe bloody violence) choreography striking up that sense of all round danger, with Cha going for the jugular with a lesson on anatomy with respect to where major arteries are located, paralyzing his opponents before fatally dealing with some. This culminates in Part B that moved from many to one, to a one on one battle that occasionally puts you in the first person's perspective.

Those scenes alone will be reason enough to watch this for a second time, and for fans of the revenge thriller flicks, The Man From Nowhere sets to deliver the no BS, dead serious treatment that will leave you applauding each time any bad guy bites the dust. Recommended!

52 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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