Okay, so the headline speaks for itself. The Man From Nowhere is basically a Korean version of Taken, in which an ex-special forces agent goes on an unstoppable rampage to rescue the kidnapped (and unspeakably cute) daughter of his troubled neighbour. And it has a kick-ass knife fight at the end. Is that enough to recommend the film?
The Man From Nowhere is, in my opinion, slightly better than Taken. Star Bin Won is just as awesome in the role as Liam Neeson, but The Man From Nowhere executes its brutal actions scenes with far more confidence, less shaky-cam, and more authentic stunts and hand-to-hand combat. Just check out this stunt:
And to its great credit, the film has a formidable antagonist in Thanayong Wongtrakul, every bit our hero’s equal until their final encounter. Taken has no such opposing force to stretch the hero to his limit, and is weaker because of it.
But I know you came here for the knife fight, so here it is:
To answer my opening question, yes, that final knife fight in the bath house is enough to make The Man From Nowhere worth your time. But there’s plenty to enjoy in the lead up to that scene: our hero’s development from near-silent recluse to an unleashed beast; some excellent supporting parts, including a couple of loathsome Chinese gangsters; a child actor who doesn’t suck; and one guy who looks freakishly like a Korean version of James Spader.
The Man From Nowhere is currently on Netflix in the US (I’m not sure about other regions). If you can access it, check it out. Sure, the action is only about 70% as mindblowing as The Raid, but then it does have actual characters and story to fit in.