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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? Written by
The Manchurian desert in the 1930's has become the Asian cinematic version of the American West. A number of action films have been set here but this is the first to make an outright reference to a classic western that I've seen. While taking off from Leone's "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" this film goes in it's own direction although the mix of horses, trains, motorcycles, Chinese and Western costumes and some very odd characters makes this film resemble the Mad Max films more than anything else. An extended chase scene towards the end really seems influenced by the George Miller films.
Influences aside, the ingenuity in crafting the action scenes in this film makes it a joy to watch. Photography is great. The lead actors are good and the story while a little daft is easy to follow for the most part.The music is good but nowhere near the Leone films. The violence is typical for Korean action and might be a little hard to watch at times. Long but pure fun for the most part.
This is probably the best action film I've seen in a while.
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