The Man From Nowhere: A Mash Up of Archetypes

The Man From Nowhere Poster

The Man From Nowhere Poster

The movie The Man From Nowhere is a high action heart pounding movie with epic martial arts and compelling story line and good musical score. The movie is in some ways similar to an American style film and I’m going to try to pinpoint how it’s the same and what’s different.

The movie starts out like any other action movie with a guy trying to live a normal life doing everyday things despite being a master at bad ass. The main character Cha Tae-sik played by Won Bin, runs a pawn shop with seemingly the only costumer being his neighbor’s daughter. Everything hits the fan when she gets kidnapped by drug lords because of her mother and he has to go on a journey to save her while dodging the police. This is like the embodiment of an American hero, one who takes the law into his own hands and doesn’t wait for the police to stop sucking at being police. However it’s distinctly Korean because at first he tries following the bad guy’s direction and trying to cooperate before going off and doing his own thing.

After following instructions fails him and he realizes he’s been duped, he is captured by the police and has to escape to go out and find the girl on his own which you don’t really see in an American movie; you typically see them get the drop on the police officers or government agents. The way he’s go about finding her however is exactly like how a typical western hero would: go find clues and torture and beat the crap out of anyone withholding information or trying to get in your way. So simultaneously it set itself up as originally Korean and slightly American influenced reminiscent of Taken and The Transporter series

In the latter half of the movie, it shows Cha Tae-sik chasing down clues and following the bread crumb trail of a Chinese underground drug ring operated by orphan children under the supervision of adults who are picked of their organs to sell on the black market when they’re no longer useful. This I found particularly interesting because most western movies would focus on the past and current exploits and of the main hero primarily. However, the director took careful time and paid close attention to detail to display the poor and grotesque living conditions of the children which

You can even see American Hollywood influence in the way the posters of the movie are designed by the way the foreground and background elements are displayed. In recent action movies in the west there have been several design elements that are present. Grungy background, explosions, fire or sparks in the background and the main character in epic pose which you can see a comparison of here:

 “The Avengers' Posters and Concept Art”. Murray, Rebecca. Web. 19 March. 2013

“The Avengers’ Posters and Concept Art”. Murray, Rebecca. Web. 19 March. 2013

“Sorry sir, I got shot earlier...” Two Dollar Cinema.Blogspot. m.brown. Web. 19 March. 2013

“Sorry sir, I got shot earlier…” Two Dollar Cinema.Blogspot. m.brown. Web. 19 March. 2013

Although the movie does bear strong resemblance to a mash up of American hits over the last five years, there a lot of elements portrayed in this film that make it distinctly Korean and help it break apart from the mold of carbon copy. I would easily recommend this movie to any movie goer.

Primary Source:

“The Man From Nowhere Trailer.” FilmWerk. N.p. Web. 18 March. 2013

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