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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Man From Nowhere aka Ajeossi [Blu-ray]

 

(Jeong-beom Lee, 2010)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Opus Pictures

Video: Well Go USA

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:59:19.569 

Disc Size: 24,709,168,234 bytes

Feature Size: 21,995,433,984 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.44 Mbps

Chapters: 22

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 8th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

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

 

Subtitles:

English, none

 

Extras:

Teaser (1:06 in 480i)

• Full trailer (1:42 in 480i)

• Highlights (5:11 - 480i)

• Making of... (17:23 in 480i)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

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...

 

 

The Film:

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 generation.

Won Bin - you know him from Tae Guk Gi and Mother - stars as Cha Tae-Sik, a reclusive man with a dark past, a man who spends his days closeted away in a dingy apartment behind the pawn shop he runs, generally avoiding any contact with humanity. The one intrusion - one he welcomes, albeit gruffly - is the young girl who lives upstairs, the neglected daughter of a drug addict who clearly sees the taciturn pawn broker as a kindred spirit thanks to their shared outsider status.

Excerpt from Todd Brown at Twitchlocated HERE

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

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.

 

Extras :

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.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
This is kind of cheesy in the same way I find John Woo's films with blatant conflicts. It is fairly simple and obvious but has some great moments and the violence blends with the visual eye candy of the colors. It's a pretty good story if you let yourself fall into things - and aren't sensitive to some violence (much on the 'perceived' level.) Fans who might be keen - will probably get their money's worth from this - it is actually a good action genre flic. The Blu-ray offers a sexy image and abundantly strong track for a whirlwind presentation - if you are in the mood. 

Gary Tooze

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.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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