Film / The Man from Nowhere

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/manfromnowhere_8592.jpg
Should've left me alone.

The Man from Nowhere, also known as Ajeossi, is a South Korean action film that opened in August 4, 2010 and is directed by Lee Jeong-beom.

It centers around an ex-Army Intelligence Command operator turned quiet pawnshop owner named Cha Tae-Sik, who is unexpectedly flung into a conflict between the Kkangpae and South Korean narcotics detectives. However, Cha later takes things personally when a child he knows becomes embroiled in the conflict.


This movie provides examples of:

  • An Ax To Grind: Hatchets appear in the hands of mooks during some action sequences, and one is featured in an early interrogation scene. Hatchets and cleavers are commonly used by the real Triads and Tongs.
  • Bad Boss: Mr. Oh. His first scene shows him beating Man-Seok for losing his product. When he learns that the police are surrounding the golf course, he tells none of his mooks and leaves them to stall the cops as he escapes.
    • Man-Seok counts too, since he has Bear murdered as a fall guy, and beats a wounded mook for not loading money fast enough.
  • Badass Boast: Tae-Sik
    You guys only live for tomorrow, don't you? You don't stand a chance against a guy living for today. I only live for today. I will show you how fucked up it's going to be.
    • To Man-Seok, before the climactic final battle:
    How many cavities do you have? I run a pawnshop. I take gold teeth. I'll keep the gold teeth... And I'll chew up everything else.
  • Battle Discretion Shot: For the first half of the film, most of Tae-Sik's fights is offscreen, his first onscreen fight is between him and Ramrowan.
  • Berserker Tears: Tae-Sik cries for So-Mi before his battle with Man-Seok's men, but instead of breaking down he starts shooting.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Tae-Sik doesn't talk much, but you'd better listen when he does.
    • Ramrowan has even fewer lines, and is equally dangerous.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Man-seok and Jong-seok, two brothers who run a drug-and-irgan trafficking ring.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Tae-Sik's fellow AIC colleagues save him from being killed by the assassin.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Mr. Oh. the Seok brothers masterfully set him up for a fall after he beats Man-Seok.
  • Bishōnen: Tae-Sik at the beginning of the film. Jong-Seok also counts.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The drug and organ traffickers are dead and gone, and So-Mi was alive after all, but it's heavily implied that Tae-Sik's killing spree is going to end up in him spending time in jail.
  • Blood Knight: Ramrowan.
    Man-Seok: I told you not to send (Ramrowan) alone!
    Jong-Seok: That sick bastard likes going rogue anyway.
  • Boom Head Shot: Done twice, both by Tae-Sik.
  • Bullets Do Not Work That Way: Near the end, Tae-Sik shoots at Man-Seok's car's bulletproof windshield repeatedly at the same spot. The glass starts to crack but the bullets (which failed to penetrate the glass) are nowhere to be seen.
  • Bullying a Dragon: It's bad enough that the Seok brothers manipulate Tae-Sik to be their fall guy and lead him around in his search for So-Mi. The fact that they relentlessly mock and deride him along the way makes his Roaring Rampage of Revenge all the more appropriate.
    • Mr. Oh makes some dismissive and racially-charged remarks about Ramrowan in his first appearance. Later, Ramrowan defeats all of Mr. Oh's men, disfigures him and brings him in for organ harvesting. Granted, he was following orders from Jong-Seok , but he made a point of confronting Mr. Oh alone, and watched him beg for his life with a smile before slashing his face open.
  • Camp Straight: Jong-Seok.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The knife Tae-Sik grabs from the mook accompanying Bear lets him cut through the mesh net and chase Mr. Oh.
    • Ramrowan executes Mr. Oh while he's offering him money from his meth operation. This seems innocuous, but later in the film Tae-Sik stumbles upon a meth lab run by Jong-Seok.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Tae-Sik has no qualms about using his gun to thin out the opponents, use effective disabling moves or even biting to get things done quicker.
  • Covers Always Lie: Most of the posters show a gun-wielding Tae-Sik with So-Mi standing behind/ next to him. This never happens in the movie.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Tae-Sik. He watched his pregnant wife get murdered in front of his eyes while he was still a Special Force agent.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The lead detective at the beginning. He takes out Bear single-handedly, despite being half his size, and has witty remarks for every occasion. He is still an important character, but after Tae-Sik's introduction turns into an Inspector Javert.
  • Driven to Suicide: Tae-Sik after killing all the bad guys, prepares to kill himself, assuming So-Mi is already dead.
  • Dysfunctional Family: So-Mi's family. Her mother is a dancer at a night club and a drug addict. So-Mi spends most of the time by herself and often steals to get money.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Man-Seok.
  • The Dragon: Ramrowan.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: Tae-Sik's [[pistol, given to him by an old comrade, helps to thin out the mooks during the final fight.]]
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: When Tae-Sik has Jong-Seok captive, his brother Man-Seok grows visibly agitated, his voice rising and cracking as he makes threats.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Ramrowan has a soft spot for So-Mi, and when "500" puts her under to extract her eyes he turns on him and kills him instead.
  • Eye Scream: Thankfully, we are only shown the preparation and the aftermath of the eye-removal process.
  • Face of a Thug: So-Mi thinks that Tae-Sik during their conversation in that he was hiding, because he did something bad.
  • Final First Hug: From Cha Tae-Sik to So-Mi at the very end.
  • Gun Fu: Plenty of guns used through the film, but Tae-Sik is shown to have advanced skills.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Quite frequently used. Most notable is Mr. Oh getting killed by Ramrowan, the harvested body of the kid whose nails were done by So-Mi, and though we see the aftermath, Ramrowan kills "500" by ripping his eyes out.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: Ramrowan; he still fights Tae-Sik to the death, but that was out of their mutual respect as warriors. He saves So-Mi from a horrific fate, though.
  • The Hedonist: Jong-Seok dresses lavishly, spends his time in hot tubs and night clubs and surrounds himself with pretty women. Man-Seok calls him out on it.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Tae-Sik suffers this for a moment after he's presented with what he believes are So-Mi's eyes in a tube.
  • Hollywood Healing: Tae-Sik, after taking an almost-fatal gutshot and get the bullet dug out, does not show any sign of the still-healing wound in the final part of the film. Or he's just that badass.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Man-Seok warns Tae-Sik against hurting his brother Jong-Seok. Tae-Sik responds by shooting at Jong-Seok's leg a few times with a nail gun. Tae-Sik, interestingly, never uses this phrase. Instead, he insists that he will kill the Seok brothers no matter what they do or say.
  • Ignored Expert: Ramrowan notices Tae-Sik wasn't shaken by the sound of a gunshot right next to him. He mentions this to Jong-Seok, but the latter isn't interested.
  • Important Haircut: Tae-sik gives himself one about halfway through the film.
  • Inspector Javert: Kim Chi-gon, a detective with the narcotics squad.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted. The first shot of Tae-Sik focuses on his hand with calluses on his knuckles (it is later noticed by So-Mi), and in every fight he refrains from punching people in the face.
  • Karmic Death: If they're evil, odds are they die a very, very appropriate death for their crimes. To note:
    • Mr. Oh, the initial Big Bad, winds up getting his organs harvested in his own meth lab.
    • Jong-Seok dies the most horrifically karmic death in the film. Especially so since he has to watch helplessly as it happens.
    • "500", the "expert" in organ harvesting, is killed and has his own eyes harvested.
    • Ramrowan, a Knife Nut, is killed by Tae-sik's knife.
  • Kill 'em All: At least for the villains.
    Tae-sik: Even if I find So-mi... you two are still dead.
  • Knife Nut: Ramrowan and Tae-Sik.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The mook accompanying Bear spikes the drink of a girl to have sex with her. Two scenes later he got stabbed by his own knife and shot down in the restroom after having sex with the girl.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Tae-Sik.
  • Man Bites Man: Used by Tae-Sik against Ramrowan.
  • Manly Tears: Shed by Tae-Sik on a few occasions.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Jong-Seok is incredibly stylish in every appearance, and is usually seen entertaining multiple women with drinks.
  • Noble Demon: Ramrowan is plenty violent and serves the Seok brothers, but clearly develops a respect for Tae-Sik, noticing his skill and resolve early on when the other thugs are writing him off. He clearly relishes their fights, and during the final battle, waits for Tae-Sik to finish the mooks before engaging him one on one in a knife fight, despite having a gun. It's also hinted that he has a soft spot for kids, trying to protect So-Mi from seeing her mother being tortured, bringing her snacks in the ant's nest and ultimately saving her from getting her eyes removed by 500, going so far as disobeying and lying to his boss.
  • Organ Theft: One of the income sources for the bad guys.
  • Papa Wolf: While technically not So-Mi's father, Tae-Sik is practically this. So-Mi views him as something of a surrogate father-figure as well.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Tae-Sik, until the Important Haircut.
  • Pet the Dog: Ramrowan shields So-Mi's eyes when she walks in on her mother being tortured by Jong-Seok. He later gives her a snack at the "ants nest" and ultimately saves her from a grisly death.
  • Police Are Useless: The only useful thing they did was informing Tae-Sik the location of the ATM where So-Mi withdrawn a large amount of money, as she was being used to transfer money by the Triads.
  • Pre Asskicking Oneliner: From Tae-Sik no less.
    Tae-Sik: How many cavities do you have?
    Man-seok: What?
    Tae-Sik: I run a pawnshop. I take gold teeth. I'll keep the gold teeth. And I'll chew up everything else!
  • Psycho for Hire: Played around with by Ramrowan. He obviously enjoys his job, but he avoids harming innocent bystanders and children (see his reaction to accidentally killing the drugged girl at the nightclub) if he can help it. He's fine with letting the evil people go about their business, but when he's put in charge of ripping So-Mi's eyes out, he kills the surgeon instead.
  • Reality Ensues: Tae-Sik is arrested by the police for his actions at the end of the film.
  • The Reveal: Tae-Sik is a former black ops commando of the South Korean military's Army Intelligence Command.
  • Robbing the Mob Bank: So-Mi's mother stole the heroin sample from the mob boss, kickstarting the whole story.
  • Roaring Rampage of Rescue: After So-Mi gets kidnapped, Tae-Sik starts one.
  • Recycled In Space: The movie has elements of Taken, Man on Fire, Drive, The Transporter, and of course, The Professional. That doesn't diminish the merits of the film.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Man-Seok is average-looking or a little chubby, business-oriented and conservatively dressed. Jong-Seok is hedonistic, laid-back and wild, with a pretty face and lavish clothing.
  • Sissy Villain: Jong-Seok is quite... effeminate. That said, he is very clearly heterosexual.
  • Slasher Smile: Jong-Seok always has a sickening grin on his face when he's committing various atrocities.
  • The Starscream: Man-Seok and his brother betrayed their boss early in the film, later, Ramrowan killed "500".
  • Shirtless Scene: A memorable one featuring a very ripped Won Bin cutting his own hair.
  • Super Window Jump: Tae-Sik performs this in a Moment of Awesome. Watch it here.
  • Tranquil Fury: After his Heroic B.S.O.D. Tae-Sik becomes this trope taking out a room full of mooks in a matter of minutes, with no emoting but tears and concentration.
  • The Triads and the Tongs: The main villains are Chinese gangsters operating in South Korea.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The Seok Brothers constantly taunt and belittle Tae-Sik. You can guess how that turns out.
  • We Have to Get the Bullet Out: After Tae-Sik gets shot by Ramrowan, his old comrade does this.
  • Worthy Opponent: Ramrowan sees Tae-Sik as this. During the final fight, as Tae-Sik butchers the other mooks, he refuses to shoot him, instead challenging him to a one on one knife fight.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The bad guys, who use children to produce and smuggle drugs, and have them killed and their organs harvested.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Several of the villains in the film wind up dead at the hands of another villain.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/TheManFromNowhere