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U-neun nam-ja (2014)
Another enjoyable entry from the director of "The Man From Nowhere"
If you enjoyed "The Man From Nowhere", you will most likely enjoy this as well. It's not nearly as flawless as "The Man From Nowhere" which I will explain shortly.
The reason I bring up the "The Man From Nowhere" is that "No Tears For the Dead" (or "Crying Man" in Korean) is a very similar movie but shot on an entirely different canvas. What I mean is you have the typical protagonist or anti-hero with a vague background that gets slowly revealed and starts developing a conscience after botching his last assignment when he accidentally kills an innocent child. He is then hired to go after the child's mother but can't bring himself to do it after he starts developing feelings for her and races to save her from his and her employers.
"No Tears For the Dead" is in no way original and the story is almost forgettable since it's been done to death but the action sequences are what makes it stand apart. The bloody and brutal fight/shooting scenes gets your adrenaline going throughout the movie. The night shots of Los Angeles are especially gorgeous which reminded me of Michael Mann's signature visual shots of Los Angeles in his flawless crime thrillers, "Heat" and "Collateral".
The lack of character development in "No Tears For the Dead" is what makes "The Man From Nowhere" so much better. In "The Man From Nowhere", you actually cared about the characters and what the protagonist goes through to save his neighbor's child. Here, it is almost nonexistent since the action sequences leave no time for them to get acquainted. However, both use the exact same format of revealing the protagonists' past that made them become who they were and it is also effectively done in "No Tears For the Dead". I came to care about the protagonist but there should've been more between the killer and mother.
The ending was also disappointing since it wasn't clear what really happens to everyone. But the final scene was a good way to end the movie on a tragic note which pretty much explains the title of the movie.
Overall, it's not as good as "The Man From Nowhere" in terms of plot and character development, but "No Tears for the Dead" is nevertheless another enjoyable entry from its director.
Coming from a huge fan of only the first PA movie
The first PA movie was a surprise hit that made millions out of its miniscule budget which led to several sequels that were both average and disappointing especially the fourth one which was made so lazily that its sole purpose was to make a quick cash-grab.
I expected this to be another average PA film but was surprised to see how well it was made. If you are not a fan of found-footage films which has recently become a huge trend, then obviously this movie will do nothing for you. The typical static camera shots of spontaneous noises and random things moving from the previous movies are gone now which is a good thing since there's only so much they can do with that. It takes place in a new setting with new characters and a lot more humor is added in this time. The protagonists were likable and not annoying and acted competently.
However, the good always comes with the bad but not too many. The film does nothing new or original but it wasn't as big a problem for me since the film was effectively made. Some of the scenes involving Latino gangs were too stereotypical and unnecessary but other than that, the movie didn't have too many flaws.
All I'm going to say without spoiling anything is that the last 20 minutes of the film will truly scare you with a huge twist at the end that will obviously not be explained further until the confirmed PA 5 comes out this October. I really thought this franchise was sealing its fate after the fourth one but The Marked Ones gives fresh opportunities for the filmmakers to indulge in. If you are a fan of the PA films excluding the fourth one and are unsure about whether you want to spend money to see this film, my recommendation is go see it without a doubt. I got my money's worth. :)