The Man from Nowhere (film)

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The Man from Nowhere
The Man from Nowhere poster.jpg
Original Korean poster
Revised Romanization Ajeossi
McCune–Reischauer Ajŏssi
Directed by Lee Jeong-beom
Produced by Lee Tae-heon
Written by Lee Jeong-beom
Starring Won Bin
Kim Sae-ron
Music by Shim Hyun-jeong
Cinematography Lee Tae-yoon
Edited by Kim Sang-beom
Distributed by CJ Entertainment
Release dates
  • August 4, 2010 (2010-08-04)
Running time 119 minutes
Country South Korea
Language Korean
Box office US$43,059,790[1]

The Man from Nowhere (Hangul: 아저씨; RR: Ajeossi) is a South Korean action-thriller film starring Won Bin and written and directed by Lee Jeong-beom. It was Korea's highest grossing film in 2010, with 6,228,300 admissions and a revenue of 47.10 billion won.[2] The film was released in the United States and Canada on October 1, 2010. The film follows the story of a vengeful man who embarks on a murderous rampage when the only person who seems to understand him is taken from him.


Operating a pawn shop in a small neighborhood, the non-sociable Cha Tae-sik (Won Bin) now leads a quiet life. His only connection to the rest of the world is a little girl, So-mi, who lives next door. So-mi’s mother, Hyo-jeong, is a heroin addict who steals drugs from a feared organized crime group. She pawns her camera bag to Tae-sik; he does not realize it has the stolen drugs inside. When a powerful crime lord, Oh Myung-gyu, finds out about the gang's stolen drugs, orders his subordinate Man-Seok to retrieve the drugs. Man-Seok's psychotic younger brother Jong-seok and the brother's Thai henchmen Ramrowan find out where the drugs are by torturing Hyo-jeong, and proceed to kidnap her and So-mi. Two gang members, Du-chi and "Bear" are sent to Tae-sik's pawn shop to retrieve the stolen drugs, but they are easily overpowered by Tae-sik. "Bear" gets knocked out off-screen and Du-chi is left powerless. However, upon learning that the gang now has in their possession both Hyo-jeong and So-mi, Tae-sik gives the gang members the camera bag and its contents. Ramrowan shoots "Bear" by Jong-seok's orders to use him as a fall guy, and flees afterwards.

Realizing that Tae-sik may serve better as a mule, the gang brothers that blackmailed Tae-sik Man-seok and Jong-seok – promise to release Hyo-jeong and So-mi under the condition that Tae-sik make a delivery for them. Tae-sik makes the decision to face the outside world in order to rescue So-mi. However, the delivery was part of a larger plot to eliminate the brothers former boss, Oh Myung-gyu. Police arrest Tae-sik and discover Hyo-jeong's body, with her organs harvested, in the back of the car he used to make the delivery, and Tae-sik realizes that So-mi is also in danger. Tae-sik escapes from the police station to search for So-mi. During his escape, the police are bewildered at Tae-sik's display of power, combat techniques, and agility. They further investigate his bio and find out that he was once a black operations agent for the Korean government with numerous commendations, but left the Service after his pregnant wife was murdered by an assassin. The assassin shot Tae-sik twice, but was killed by another agency's officers before he could kill Tae-sik.

Tae-sik investigates and lands at a nightclub in search for Du-chi, and finds him in the toilets. Tae-sik beats of two of Du-chi's guards and stabs him with his own knife, asking where the brothers are. Ramrowan walks in and shoots at Tae-sik, killing Du-chi in the crossfire. The two fight in the toilets, where the highly refined Thai henchmen show combat skills on par with that of Tae-sik's. Tae-sik suffers a gunfire wound, and chases after the three, but is too late as they have already fled the club. Undercover cops chase after Tae-sik, but he barely escapes.

Critically wounded after his encounter with Ramrowan, Tae-sik finds his former co-operative who takes out the bullet in Tae-sik's body and saves his life. Tae-sik then acquires a gun from him and continues on his journey.

Tae-sik finds and frees several child slaves in a drug manufacturing plant, in the process and killing off the younger of the brothers in charge of the gang, Jong-seok. He tracks down the elder brother, Man-seok, at the gang's condo, where a dozen gang members and Ramrowan are also waiting. Man-seok shows him a vessel containing what he says are So-mi's eyes, explaining that he has had her killed, and asks for his younger brother. In a rage, Tae-sik kills the gang members, including Ramrowan and Man-seok.

Tae-sik is preparing to commit suicide out of his grief when a scared and dirty So-mi emerges from the darkness. She had been saved by Ramrowan; he had taken pity on her because she had been kind to him. It is then revealed that the eyes in the container belonged to the gangster's harvesting surgeon, who had been killed off-camera by Ramrowan. A police escort takes Tae-sik and So-mi together in the back of the detective’s car, to take Tae-sik into custody. While she sleeps, Tae-sik asks if they can be dropped off at a small convenience store. Tae-sik buys a backpack along with other school supplies. He tells her that she's going to be on her own now, as the police have to take him away. Before he goes, he asks her for a hug, and breaks down in tears as they embrace.


  • Won Cha Tae-sik
  • Kim So-mi
  • Kim Man-seok
  • Kim Jong-seok
  • Kim Detective Kim Chi-gon
  • Thanayong Ramrowan
  • Kim Hyo-jeong, So-mi's mom
  • Lee Detective No
  • Song Oh Myung-gyu
  • Baek book store lady
  • Nam section chief
  • Park loan shark boss
  • Jo Moon Dal-seo
  • Jo Jang Doo-sik
  • Hong Yeon-soo
  • Hwang Nam Sung-Sik
  • Jung information bureau
  • Kwak Detective Kim
  • Ryoo delivery boy
  • Lee Du-chi

Box office[edit]

During its August 6–8 opening weekend, the film recorded 712,840 admissions, taking the number 1 spot on the box office charts for five weeks straight. It had sold a total of 6,228,300 tickets when it finished its theatrical run on November 17, 2010.[2] The film grossed a total of US$42,484,155 in South Korea.[3] On October 1, 2010 CJ Entertainment gave the film a limited theatrical release to North American theaters where it grossed US$35,751 in 1 theater its opening weekend. After widening the release up to 19 theaters, the film grossed US$528,175 in the U.S. and Canada.[1]


The Man from Nowhere has received positive reviews from English-language critics. As of August 2013, six of six critics gave 'Fresh' reviews, according to Rotten Tomatoes (RT).[4] One of those critics, Russell Edwards of Variety, wrote:[5]

"Brutal violence dominates the dynamic Korean thriller The Man From Nowhere. Local heartthrob Won Bin (Mother, Tae Guk Gui) transforms himself into an action hero in writer-helmer Lee Jeong-beom’s swift and blood-soaked yarn, about a mystery man who gets caught up in a gang war while trying to protect a child, recalling Luc Besson’s The Professional."


  • 2010: (19th) Buil Film Awards – October 8[6]
    • Best Music: Shim Hyun-jung
    • Special Award (Buil Independence Judge): The Man from Nowhere
  • 2010: (47th) Grand Bell Awards – October 29[7]
    • Best Actor: Won Bin
    • Popularity Award: Won Bin
    • Best Editing: Kim Sung-bum, Kim Jae-bum
    • Best Visual Effects: Jeong Do-an (for technical effects)
  • 2010: (8th) Korean Film Awards – November 18[8][9]
    • Best Actor: Won Bin
    • Best New Actress: Kim Sae-ron
    • Best Cinematography: Lee Tae-yoon
    • Best Lighting: Lee Chul-oh
    • Best Editing: Kim Sang-beom, Kim Jae-beom
    • Best Visual Effects: Park Jung-ryul (for action scenes)
    • Best Music: Shim Hyun-jung
  • 2010: (2nd) Korean Wave Industry Awards – December 4
    • Popular Culture Award (Film section): The Man from Nowhere
  • 2010: (6th) University Film Festival of Korea – December 13
    • Best Director: Lee Jeong-beom
    • Best Actor: Won Bin
    • Best Cinematography: Lee Tae-yoon
    • Best Music: Shim Hyun-jung
  • 2010: (13th) Director's Cut Awards – December 17
    • Best Production: Opus Pictures (Lee Tae-heon) The Man from Nowhere
  • 2010: (11th) National Assembly Society of Popular Culture & Media Awards (Korea) – December 20
    • Movie of the Year: The Man from Nowhere
  • 2011: (2nd) Film Journalists Association Annual Film Awards (Korea) – January 27
  • 2011: (3rd) Beaune International Thriller Film Festival – March 30 – April 3[11][12][13]
    • Grand Prize: The Man from Nowhere
  • 2011: (33rd) Golden Cinematography Awards – September 1
    • Gold Medal Cinematography: Lee Tae-yoon

Film festivals[edit]


The Man from Nowhere Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Mad Soul Child, Mystery
Released August 4, 2010 (2010-08-04)
Recorded 2010
Genre Soundtrack
Length 3:59
Mad Soul Child, Mystery chronology
LALALA (2009)

Soundtrack list:

  1. The Man From Nowhere
  2. In Tae - Sik s Memory
  3. Trash Can
  4. Mother In Danger
  5. Chasing Her
  6. Chain Of Mystery
  7. Fights In Golf Club
  8. Finding Clue
  9. Dark Knight
  10. Somi in Danger
  11. Surviving Today
  12. Agent. Tae - Sik
  13. Dirty Cash - Mystery
  14. His Path Of Life
  15. There's No One But You
  16. Shave Himself
  17. Delivering Drug
  18. Jump Off
  19. Spit - Mystery
  20. The Last Bullet
  21. Ajussi
  22. Dear - Mad Soul Child


In March 2012, Dimension Films acquired the rights to do an English-language remake of The Man From Nowhere; plans are to have Shawn Christensen, who wrote and directed the 2012 short film Curfew, write the adaptation.[14]

An Indian remake titled Rocky Handsome starring John Abraham is set to be released in February 2015.[15][16]


  1. ^ a b "The Man from Nowhere". Box Office Mojo. 
  2. ^ a b "The Best Selling Films of 2010". Korean Film Council via Retrieved 2012-09-01. 
  3. ^ "South Korea Box Office". Box Office Mojo. 
  4. ^ "The Man from Nowhere". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  5. ^ Edwards, Russell (October 26, 2010). "Brutal violence dominates the dynamic, glossy Korean thriller The Man from Nowhere". Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  6. ^ "19th Award Winning Film"., Oct 8, 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-02. 
  7. ^ "Won Bin won his first Daejong Best Actor Award". HanCinema, Oct 30, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  8. ^ "Won Bin won Best Actor Award in Korea Film Awards". HanCinema, Nov 18, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  9. ^ "The Man From Nowhere sweeps Korea Film Awards". 10Asia, Nov 19, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  10. ^ "2010 Blue Dragon Film Awards Winners". HanCinema, Nov 27, 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-30. 
  11. ^ "The Awards 2011". film festival official site, Apr 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-04. 
  12. ^ "Nowhere, Kingdom stir Beaune". Film Business Asia, Apr 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-04. 
  13. ^ "International Festival of Detective Films of Beaune 2011: the winners!". Moviemakers3, Apr 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-18. 
  14. ^ Brooks, Brian (8 March 2012). "Shawn Christensen To Write The Man From Nowhere Redo For Dimension Films". Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  15. ^ Bhattacharya, Roshmila (7 April 2014). "John Abraham plays a killing machine in 'Rocky Handsome'". Mumbai Mirror via The Times of India. Retrieved 2014-04-16. 
  16. ^ "John Abraham's Rocky Handsome to release in February 2015". The Indian Express. 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-16. 

External links[edit]