Sunday, September 5, 2010

"The Good, The Bad, The Weird"

Director Ji-woon Kim would like us to refer to "The Good, The Bad, The Weird" as a "kimchee western." I'll make a deal - Mr. Kim, you keep pumping out awesome westerns and I'll call them whatever you want.

This film is probably one that most people won't see. It's a Korean film, set in 1930 Manchuria China, and deals quite a bit with then-current Asian politics. It's not heavy-handed, and it's easy to follow, but I think most Americans are not interested in seeing films with subtitles, even if it's a great film (we've reviewed several now for this site - "The Son," "Let the Right One In," "Delicatessen," to name a few). Anyway, it's too bad, because this is a great film for those who like westerns and light-hearted gun violence.

The plot is relatively simple, and is an homage to "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly." Someone sells a treasure map and two theives vye for map, in this case, "The Bad" and "The Weird." "The Good" is a bounty hunter after both men. And hilarity and violence ensue. It's not complicated, just good fun. It's set in typical American western genre (from the plot, costumes (with cowboy hats), horses, trains, motorcycles, etc.), but is supposed to be in Manchuria China. I don't know where, exactly, the filming occurred, but it certainly resembled some of the desolate desert scenes found in our hemisphere.

One of the many cool things about the film is that, as far as I can tell, the stars do their own stunts. On the bluray extras, there is a behind the scenes featurette that shows the filming of several of the actions scenes. Woo-sung jung ("The Good") rides a horse well enough to cock the 30-30 lever action rifle like a true western cowboy. And, apparently he broke his arm during the filming. Reckless abandon...?

Anyway, it a pretty good violent fun, and even funny in the translation.

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