The Man from Nowhere, also known as Ajeossi, is a South Korean action film that opened in August 4, 2010. 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 Korean Mafia 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:
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.
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.
So-Mi's nail paintings allow the audience to identify a harvested body as one of the children who was just "sent home", showing how evil the villains are.
The knife Tae-Sik grabs from the mook accompanying Bear lets him cut through the mesh net and chase Mr. Oh.
The cell-phone Man-Seok gives Tae-Sik leads him right into a mob nightclub.
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.
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 sometimes steals to get money.
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.
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 Bad Ass.
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.
Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted. The first shot of Tae-Sik focuses on his hand with scarred / thickened knuckles (it is later noticed by So-Mi), and in all the fights 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.
Heroic BSOD: Tae-Sik, when he receives what appears to be So-Mi's harvested eyes.
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.
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 Chinese mafia.
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.
The Reveal: Tae-Sik is a former operative Army Intelligence Command.
Robbing The Mob Bank: So-Mi's mother stole the heroin sample from the mob boss, which kickstarts the whole story.
Worthy Opponent: Ramrowan sees Tae-Sik as this; During the final fight as he watches Tae-Sik butcher all of the other mooks and refuses to shoot him out of respect, instead challenging him to a one on one fight.