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The Man From Nowhere aka Ajeossi [Blu-ray]
(Jeong-beom Lee, 2010)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Opus Pictures
Video:Well Go USA
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,709,168,234 bytes
Feature Size: 21,995,433,984 bytes
Video Bitrate: 18.44 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: March 8th, 2011
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2117 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2117 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Korean 1982 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1982 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio Korean 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / DN -4dB
•Teaser (1:06 in 480i)
• Full trailer (1:42 in 480i)
• Highlights (5:11 - 480i)
• Making of... (17:23 in 480i)
Description: Tae-shik (Won Bin) is an ex-special agent whose tragic past has made him distance himself from the world. He now lives in solitude and runs a small pawnshop. The only people he now sees are the few pawnshop customers and So-mi (Kim Sae-Ron), the young girl who lives next door. So-mi has also been neglected by the world and as she and Tae-shik begin to spend more time together, the two gradually open themselves to one another and become friends. Then one day, So-mi suddenly disappears. So-mi s mother becomes involved in a major crime causing both her and So-mi to get kidnapped. Tae-shik is drawn back out into the world in a frantic search for So-mi s whereabouts. In order to save So-mi, his one and only friend in this world, Tae-shik makes a certain 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 close on his tail, Tae-shik continues his frantic search for So-mi and his hidden past slowly becomes revealed...
With 2006 feature Cruel Winter Blues director Lee Jeong-Beom made
his pitch to be considered Korea's answer to Takeshi Kitano, blending
gangster tropes with a meditative arthouse style. With 2010 blockbuster
The Man From Nowhere Lee serves notice that he's got some John
Woo in him, too, and though only two films into his career Lee has
clearly established himself as one of the leaders of Korea's young
This slick South Korean underworld thriller is not a transcendent action film in any way, but in the realm of humorless South Korean action conventions it’s well constructed, suitably dark and dangerous and filled with well-honed, visceral scenes. And it didn’t hurt to see the film in a theater packed with a target audience you rarely share the experience with. I don’t mean American male action fans, but young South Korean women with an affection for its matinee idol start, Won Bin (most recently, he played the son in Bong Joon-ho’s Mother). The ooohs emanated from all parts of the theater (but especially the front rows) when Won makes his entrance, playing an emotionally distant pawn shop proprietor behind a lock of hair artfully falling over his right eye. Then again when we get the first flashback of Won, heretofore nameless, as the highly-trained government agent Cha Tae-chik, a super-spy with mad skills and a military haircut. And, of course, when we get our first shirtless scene of the dreamy, tortured hero, when he’s pulled back into the world he fled years before to save a little girl from the heartless criminals who add to the drug-dealing coffers with a sideline in black market organs and child slavery.Excerpt from Sean Axmaker at Parralax View located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The image on The Man From Nowhere seems very vibrant - approaching saturation - and although can look boosted I suspect the film looked this this in its festival roots. The Blu-ray is exporting the image qualities very well with a high level of detail and in the darker sequences the noise sure looks more like grain - despite only being single-layered. There is some depth but the flashy colors will be the most notable attribute of the new format's high resolution. Contrast is likewise strong with blacks appearing almost abnormally pitch - there isn't any moiring but the intensified black levels may identify if there were some manipulations. I suspect that most viewers will be attracted to the reasonably think image with exuberant hues. For the film's brisk pace and action genre this Blu-ray transfer seems very appropriate.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Both original Korean and an English DUB arrived in lossless audio transfers with DTS-HD Master 5.1 tracks at around 2000 kbps. The Korean track has some piercing separations that often feel a little forced but there is both range and depth to the track. I didn't check out the DUB and there are 2.0 channel Dolby stereo options for both languages also available. English subtitles - in a fairly large font - are available and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Nothing worthy on the extra front with some unpolished 'Highlights' and a so-called 'Making of...' with just some behind-the-scenes footage (English subs though). There is also a teaser and trailer - everything is in SD.
March 2nd, 2011
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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