I watched this movie with my Korean class and was totally floored~
“An ex-special agent Cha Tae-Shik’s (Won Bin) only connection to the world is a little girl, So-Mi (Kim Sae-Ron), who lives next door. Her mother, Hyo-jeong, smuggles drugs from a drug trafficking organization and entrusts Tae-shik with the product, without letting him know. The traffickers eventually find out about her smuggling and kidnap both Hyo-jeong and So-mi. Tae-shik is now drawn back into the world in a frantic search for So-Mi’s whereabouts. In order to save So-mi, he makes an arrangement with the crime mob. While So-mi is still nowhere to be found, the police begin to chase after Tae-shik. With the police and the underground mob on his trail, Tae-shik continues his frantic search for So-mi while his hidden past becomes revealed…”
That’s direct from the back of the DVD box, and it does a pretty good job of explaining the plot. The story is about him searching for the little girl. There is a plot bit they should have included: the girl’s mom turns up pretty quickly- dead in the back of a car the drug guys made Tae-shik drive. She had her organs and eyes cut out, all while she was alive (sedated). So he’s trying to get to So-mi before she’s harvested by the mafia as well. Another way to describe the plot of this movie is “Taken” (the Liam Neeson movie) except the girl isn’t his kid, is only like 12, and it’s drug rings, not sex slavery. Since it’s the same plot, more or less, I took off a point. Overall it has a different feel, you don’t sit there going “Oh god, I”m watching “Taken” by a different name” (not that “Taken” is a bad movie!).
The little girl is an INCREDIBLE actress! She really does a brilliant job. And Won Bin (the lead actor)… Well… The eye candy is enough of a reason to watch this! I think he’s the hottest actor Korea has to offer! Both he and the little girl do amazing jobs, and really everyone involved delivers a high quality performance.
This is an action movie, but the director seemed to stress a lot of the story scenes. The action shots are very high quality, but the story is extremely well developed. These days when you hear a movie title you remember the action shots, but with this one you get a balance between action and story. I really like this style! The director doesn’t go for a flashy shooting format. He seems to be of the “Invisible Directing” mentality, which in action movies isn’t easy to pull off. There are a few nifty tricks, but for the most part he lets the actors tell the story, not a lot of metaphorical shots.
I really appreciate that there is minimal handcam BS. During the action scenes and some chases it comes out, but never for very long.
Don’t worry about being able to find this movie in the States. I just came across it today in a movie store. In the US it is under the name “The Man From Nowhere”. I found it in the “Action” section, but it could fit into an “International” movie section too. It is very new, just released in 2010 and in the States I think the release was earlier this year. It has english subtitles, or you can watch it dubbed.
Won Bin in sexy. In case I haven’t said that enough.
The movie is a bit on the violent side, a lot of cutting and shooting, but nothing too graphic I’d say. There are a few scenes that are a bit hard to watch (the mom being tortured with a hair dryer), but… I think it’s not too bad. I can’t watch “Saw” (any of the “Saw” movies really) and “Pan’s Labyrinth” makes me squirm, but this movie was OK to see. I’d say 14 or 15+ should be alright, even though the official US rating is “R”. Oh, and there is a bit of nudity with the mom’s corpse, if I remember correctly, a chest shot. No other naked bodies, and no sex scenes though, so you just have to worry about language and violence.
I just watched this movie again with my mom, and she said: Won Bin is indeed sexy, and she cried at the end.