Sunday, 20 March 2011

Movie Preview: The Man From Nowhere


“Truly impressive action. ‘Taken’ meets ‘Oldboy’.” – that’s Twitch’s verdict on the second feature from Jeong-beom Lee (Cruel Winter Blues), the writer-director hailed as Korea’s answer to Takeshi Kitano (Zatoichi; Sonatine; Boiling Point). The Man From Nowhere is a superlative, action-packed revenge thriller that owes as much to the influence of blockbusters “Taken”, “Man On Fire” and “Leon” as it does to the heroic bloodshed movies of John Woo (Hard Boiled; A Better Tomorrow). A brutal, breathtakingly paced movie that balances scenes of shocking violence with moments of emotional depth, the film boasts a number of stylish action set pieces, including what is “arguably the best knife fight ever put on screen” (New Korean Cinema).
A box office smash in Korea, where it became the highest grossing movie of 2010 and swept the board at the Korea Film Awards taking honours for Best Actor, Best New Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Music, Best Lighting, Best Visual Effects and Best Editing, The Man From Nowhere is, without doubt, the hottest Korean movie to come along in recent years and puts Korean cinema firmly back on the world cinema map.
Scarred by traumatic events resulting from his past, former special agent Tae-shik (Bin Won) lives in solitude running a pawnshop in a rundown neighbourhood. His only contact with the world is through his customers and his next-door neighbours, a young girl named So-mi (Sae-ron Kim) and her mother, an exotic club dancer and drug addict. Neglected by her mother and shunned by the kids at school, So-mi gradually forms a bond of friendship with the loner Tae-shik.
But one day, So-mi and her mother disappear. When it becomes apparent that mobsters connected to So-mi’s mother’s drug dealing have kidnapped them, Tae-shik is forced to leave his private sanctuary and to go out into the world in search of his one and only friend. In a bid to ensure So-mi’s safety, Tae-shik agrees to perform a one-off job for the gangsters holding the girl. The job turns out to be a set-up that makes him the target of both a rival gang and of an intense police manhunt. On the run from both sides of the law, and risking him life every step of the way, Tae-shik moves ever closer to discovering So-mi’s whereabouts, but in doing so, he also risks revealing the hidden secrets of his past…
Starring Korean heartthrob Bin Won (Brotherhood; Mother) and newcomer Sae-ron Kim (A Brand New Life), The Man From Nowhere is a “slick, stylish and gut wrenching” (Twitch) thriller that begins with a bang and hurtles to a killer climax that will leave action fans baying for more.
The Man From Nowhere (cert. 18) will be released on DVD (£12.99) by eOne on 11th April 2011.

Link to the trailer: the-man-from-nowhere

Thursday, 3 March 2011

"The Chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure"

No, please no. No more, I've had enough. No, not the words of a man just about to commit suicide (at least not just yet) but what I say to Hollywood, as the latest in a seemingly endless stream of internet bullshit issues out about future movie projects; Robocop and Blade Runner.
I realise that much has been reported about a Blade Runner and Robcop continuation or "reboot" in the past, but we seem to be ever closer to seeing an actual movie related to the news stories.
Most often than not, rumours start by what I call a "fanwank". It's something a bunch of fans want to see so they invent a rumour designed to capture interest and perhaps stir a studio into action. They rarely amount to anything. It's generally concerted campaigns that get something produced like the "Nuts" campaign to bring back the TV show "Jericho" and the Browncoat movement that led to a big screen incarnation of "Firefly" in the form of "Serenity"
Here we have two iconic movies where everything went right (mostly) and captured the imagination of at least one generation. I think it's safe to say that Blade Runner alone inspired many creative people into doing what they currently do for a living.
Let's concentrate on Blade Runner for a moment. The production team took a script based on a Phillip K Dick book and made something different but quite visually stunning. If Ridley Scott is to be believed, the depth and subtext of the movie was a accidental byproduct to a story he considered as more of a Western - a sheriff killing criminals in his town. What we do know is that much of the visual design and stylistic approach was based upon available budget. So, factors conspired to make a great movie, a unique film. To remake it would be a very bad idea. I have no trouble with filmmakers looking for a way to write a story in the Blade Runner world. Themes that arise in the novel and the movie are still very relevant today.

Robocop - a smart, witty script; good Visual effects, good acting, and a terrific score. All add up to another example of a movie that should be left alone. The concept has already suffered a toothless second sequel and TV series and an animated show. At least Robocop Prime Directives attempted to bring the story back to the original movie and make it darker and more adult. Again, continue the idea in a new story but do not remake it.