Unilaterally Sarcastic, Dangerously Cheesy

Spring Break Boredom Buster Challenge : Day Four – “The Good, the Bad, The Weird”

As previously stated, I’m not going anywhere for Spring Break. That being the case, I figured I would catch up on some movies that have been piling up on Netflix. I thought it’d be fun to go through and once a day watch a film that popped up as a “suggestion” from Netflix and review the experience here on the blog to provide the illusion of regular content.

So here’s day four…

The Flick : The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008)
The Director: Jae-woon Kim (I Saw The Devil)
The Players: Kang-ho Song (The Host), Byung-hun Lee (G.I. Joe – The Rise of Cobra), Woo-sung Jung (The Warrior)

Synopsis (via IMDb): A guksu western. Three Korean gunslingers are in Manchuria circa World War II: Do-wan, an upright bounty hunter, Chang-yi, a thin-skinned and 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, Tae-goo, and reward money. Occupying Japanese forces and their Manchurian collaborators also want the map, as does the Ghost Market Gang who hangs out at a thieves’ bazaar. These enemies cross paths frequently and dead bodies pile up. Will anyone find the map’s destination and survive to tell the tale?

Review: Director Jae-woon Kim describes this film as a “kimchee western” alluding to the spicy dish saying that the film is equally spicy and vibrant. He’s certainly right. The film is an entertaining bit of cinema and has the distinction of being the first film I’ve seen in a long time that was uniformly engaging. The pacing of the film is damned near perfect and the action is very well staged.  The story beats hit at just the right moments and the fight choreography is phenomenal, especially the shootouts in the Ghost Market and in the beginning during the train robbery. The finale is equally engaging, with an almost Monty Python-esque level of absurdity.

The Good, The Bad, The Weird was the most expensive movie in South Korean cinema at the time of it’s release, a figure which I’m not sure still stands and I haven’t been able to find figures either way. It definitely shows. There’s a lot of set piece extravagance going on and it all makes for some wonderful eye candy. Do yourself a favor and give the film a look sometime soon.

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