The Man from Nowhere is on Fire
June 17, 2012 4:47 PM   Subscribe

You have seen and loved The Man From Nowhere and/or Man on Fire and can recommend similar movies, especially foreign movies or those old enough to have been forgotten by most people.

I just finished The Man From Nowhere and loved it. It reminded me of Man on Fire and of Taken. I've seen this thread from four years ago, and this has a lot of what I'm looking for. But I was hoping to find not all "You fucked with the wrong guy" films, but films in the mold of: hero dusts off his past as master criminal/trained killer/spy/etc. to relentlessly track down the people who have kidnapped his relative/friend/next door neighbor/etc. Transporter movies sort of fit this bill.

This slightly differentiates these films from "ordinary guy goes above and beyond" like that forgettable Johnny Depp film Nick of Time. or that horrid Russell Crowe movie where he busts his wife out of jail. And these films are also different from "right guy in the wrong place" movies like Die Hard, Under Siege, and Passenger 57. And they're not out and out revenge films like Edge of Darkness (blech), Leon, or Kill Bill.

All suggestions, however, are welcome.
posted by MoonOrb to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I'm sure you've seen it, but Commando fits the bill.
posted by muta at 5:02 PM on June 17, 2012

You want The Limey and A History of Violence.
posted by gauche at 5:32 PM on June 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

Ronin sort-of fits the bill, with the 'crew' being made of of down-on-their-luck agents after the cold war.

The original Man on Fire works.

Harry Brown or Gran Torino also somewhat fit.

A History of Violence

of course,there's a TVTropes page for it.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:43 PM on June 17, 2012

Target starring Gene Hackman. He's good in anything.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:55 PM on June 17, 2012

Blind Fury.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 8:17 PM on June 17, 2012

Red is quite fun. Apart from anything else, there's a running joke in which Helen Mirren gets a bigger gun in each fight, finding its natural conclusion with one of these.
posted by permafrost at 3:46 AM on June 18, 2012

Yeah, touching on the TVTropes link above, to me it feels like the Retired Badass/Reluctant Warrior characters show up pretty often in Chinese action flicks, especially martial arts (aka Kung Fu) movies. For example, the Once Upon A Time In China series starring Jet Li, where his character is more interested in being a healer and teacher, but he keeps getting pulled into situations where he's gotta fight. A non-martial arts suggestion would be "The Killer", directed by John Woo & starring Chow Yun-Fat (no link because No Spoilers).

It's generally felt that the films coming out of Hong Kong in the 80's & 90's constituted a Golden Age of Chinese action films. Look for directors/producers John Woo, Tsui Hark, Yuen Woo Ping, actors Jet Li, Chow Yun-Fat, maybe even Jackie Chan.

Of course, often the Retired Badass is a mentor rather than the actual hero, and how much the badass-reluctantly-coming-out-of-retirement is a serious plot point versus the quickest way for the filmmakers to get to the point of unleashing the mayhem can vary greatly from film to film. So, y'know, YMMV as you go poking through HK action flicks.
posted by soundguy99 at 6:29 AM on June 18, 2012

I also recommend the original version of Get Carter and the John Boorman's Point Blank. The leads in both films (Michael Caine and Lee Marvin, respectively) are both seasoned criminals who track down the people who wronged them, but Get Carter might fit it the best, because it focuses on Michael Caine as a London gangster going back to the provinces to get the bottom of how his brother died. Caine's icewater-in-the-veins performance is amazing.
posted by jonp72 at 7:21 AM on June 18, 2012

Another great Korean revenge movie: I Saw the Devil, about a secret agent who tracks down the serial killer who killed his fiancee - then lets him go, so he can catch him again, and again...
posted by Gortuk at 9:03 AM on June 19, 2012

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