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Movie: The Good, the Bad, and the Weird


I haven’t seen too much in the way of Korean cinema, at least not much that left an impression. Writer / Director Ji-woo Kim’s film, THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE WEIRD has managed to do that… but it cheated! I mean, who doesn’t love a Western!

Quite openly, Kim’s movie has been influenced by Segio Leone’s spaghetti-western “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” (1966), and even bills itself as a “Noodle-western”, but this isn’t a remake. It is it’s own thing, and it’s good fun!

Set in Manchuria during the 1940’s, the movie introduces three primary characters, each one assuming responsibility for a third of the movie’s title. Yoon Tae-goo (Kang-ho Song) is ‘The Weird’ part of the equation. He appears to be the kind of mindless criminal who has trouble keeping out of his own way and who survives mostly by the graces of dumb luck.

During the course of a bumbled train robbery, Tae-goo gets his hands on a map, which could quite possibly lead him to a massive fortune. But it seems that his luck — dumb or otherwise — may have run out this time, as the merciless assassin, Park Chang-yi (Byung-hun Lee) has been sent on a double-cross mission to retrieve that very map.

Chang-yi is quite obviously ‘The Bad’. He’ll shoot one of his own men, just to take his horse. He’ll happily double double-cross his employer. But the most obvious sign that Chang-yi is ‘The Bad’ is that Lee’s performance includes the head-hung, fringe-in-eyes, slack-jawed indifference, that I detest so much in asian films. I’m sure it’s a cultural thing that doesn’t quite translate, or perhaps it’s an Asian take on wanting ‘respek’ but not even bothering to pronounce the word correctly. Either way I find it infuriating. Fortunately it is not the entirety of Lee’s character. Chang-yi is unlikeable for a whole host of reasons. Which probably explains why bounty hunter Park Do-won (Woo-sung Jung) has him in his sights.

For those playing along at home. Do-won is ‘The Good’. We don’t learn a whole lot about Do-won during the film, but he is the most likeable character of the bunch, and easily the guy you end up rooting for. When he see’s Tae-goo escaping from the train robbery, with just about every criminally minded party in Manchuria after him (including Chang-yi), Do-won takes it upon himself to intercept Tae-goo, believing that he will ultimately lead him to Chang-yi… or Chang-yi to him, as the case may be!

There’s no point in trying to compare this film to The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly (GBU). They are completely different films. Though, there are plenty of nods and winks to GBU during the course of The Good, The Bad, and the Weird. This film’s plot is rubbish, there are twists and red herrings that don’t really need to be there, action scenes are too long and over the top, the comedy can be a little hit and miss, and the ending is ambiguous. But none of those things matter, because this is a really fun, beautifully shot, entertaining, action-western with some unique elements. [source]

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