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Monday, October 11, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Weird Has Fantastic Action

The Good, The Bad, and The Weird = 4 out of 5 Stars
Man-gil: The bounty on your head is 300 won.
Yoon Tae-goo: What? I'm only worth a piano?
Man-gil: A used one at that.
A kick ass Korean Spaghetti Western. Regardless of what country this film originates from, it is easily one of the most enjoyable, mindless action films I have seen in years. I want other action films to do what the cameras do in this film. The action is so much fun and awesome to watch. The story is simple, taking cues from Sergio Leone and the Mad Max films, as we follow a few characters in pursuit of great reward. But really, this film boils down to going over-the-top with stylized action in a western-type setting.


Three Korean gunslingers are in Manchuria circa World War II: Do-wan, a bounty hunter, Chang-yi, ruthless killer, and Tae-goo, a train robber with nine lives. Tae-goo finds a map he's convinced leads to buried treasure; Chang-yi wants it as well for less clear reasons. Do-wan tracks the map knowing it will bring him to Chang-yi and Tae-goo for reward money. Spanning the country with various gangs and army units after them, the trio all do what they can to reach the treasure, with plenty of shootouts and chases along the way.

I just can't emphasize enough how much fun this movie is. It doesn't take itself seriously, it just has a lot of fun with it's premise. It pays obvious tribute to the movies it has been influenced by, while creating a number of ingenious situations for our characters to get into. This falls into the realms of movies like Kung Fu Hustle in terms of sheer action comic joy for me.

The direction by Ji-woon Kim is solid. The cinematography and editing are fantastic. Observe some of the great long shots exhibited, and the ways the action remains incredibly dynamic throughout. I want him to make more action movies and I want other directors to take notes on this man's work. I understand that he has clearly been influenced by others himself, but this is still fine work to behold.

Staying true to the theme spaghetti westerns, this film has an incredibly simple story and easily defined characters, yet it goes on for a little over two hours. Despite having a solid pace to it, the film is certainly stretched out to re-create the old school feel, while bringing in several virtuoso action sequences.

I could really just keep praising this film for it's action. It's a lot of fun and a very easy way to spend a couple care free hours.
Park Do-won: Even if a man has no country, he's still got to have money.

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