I don’t know if you’ve seen the excellent 2010 Korean action movie The Man from Nowhere (아저씨; RR: Ajeossi) starring Won Bin and written and directed by Lee Jeong-beom. For one thing, go check it out because its really fantastic. The plot line is this guy is a clerk at a convenience store on the ground floor of a low-rent apartment building who makes friends with a kid who lives upstairs. But whoops, her Mom has been trying to make ends meet and makes the mistake of getting involved with some drug dealers. When the bad guys cross the line with the kid, they learn the hard way that her friend the convenience clerk used to be a government assassin.
The whole movie is a class act. Well directed, acted, performed, and photographed. The Korean film industry has been turning out world class films for like 20 years now. It was great to see that acknowledged when Parasite won best picture last year.
The final fight is an off-the-hook knife fight between the hero and like 20 bad guys and it is pretty good depiction of quality knife work. Of course, training with a knife and thinking about using it in a fight is grim business (and who knows if you could really pull a lot of it off) but the principles are on display in this scene. I’ve trained a decent amount in Escrima/Kali and my take is much like my take with empty hand fighting. It’s all about the mental game. Can really keep it together while doing some pretty harsh things to other people? For me, much depends on the ethical justification. I think I could do it to protect my family. But I believe you’ll never know until the rubber meets the road, really. Hopefully, that will never happen (knock on wood).
The fight gets a good breakdown from the the guys at Scenic Fights: