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|Index||75 reviews in total|
This is a real blast. A London Film Festival viewing this afternoon and my jaw dropped during the opening. This may have the most stunning opening of any film, I certainly can't think of any other contenders at present, with crazy music, a landscape out of a dream, soaring birds of prey and a great big steam train. The camera and hence the audience are everywhere, this side, that side above, below and even in the smoke from the engine. Previously there has been some set up to accompany the credits and then we are away. This film does not let up so if it is not non-stop action you are after you had best avoid. For all sensible folk this is a mind blowing exercise in action cinema. Loud, violent and stunningly shot this is awe inspiring stuff and with a comic edge too. I spent half the time with my mouth agape and rest with a broad smile. I have heard some criticise this for lack of storyline and certainly there is minimal narrative flow here as we are sped on by sheer excitement and amusement. Fantastic entertainment on a massive scale. Large screen viewing recommended.
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.
I was lucky enough to see this film in a big cinema complex in the
centre of Seoul, South Korea, yesterday. It is surprisingly difficult
to find big Korean releases with English subtitles, so seeing Jin-Woon
Kim's new film, which i have been looking forward to for well over a
year, was a pleasant experience. Unfortunately everyone in the west
will have to wait a little longer...
As with all of Jin-Woon Kim's films i have very little criticism to give this film, from its fantastic and totally relentless action opening to the suspenseful ending, i was completely entertained.
The cast, as expected from three of South Korea's most most talented actors were superb with in my opinion exceptionally notable roles from Lee Byun Hun and Song Kang-Ho. Lee Byung Hyun pulls off a villain superbly and fills this role with style and terror without fault. Song Kang-Ho in my opinion is the main force of the film, pulling it along with humour and perhaps the most interesting story as the film progresses. Woo-Sung Jung plays his 'good' role well but feels like the character with least depth. The film contains fantastic make-up and costume design, notably in my eyes, Lee Byung Hun's character, who looked fantastic and the on screen presence of this smart darkly dressed character set against the sandy desert was stunning.
The cinematography in this film was superb with plenty of great flying panoramic desert shots, high octane action camera maneuvers, fast cuts and perfect editing as expected from the director of such fantastic action/thriller films.
The soundtrack is fun and reminiscent of old western films with a new, modern twist to keep things up to pace. Although the story has been noted as being weak, the film really does not offer itself as an in depth period drama in the first place. The film is exactly what it calls for... Fun, fast and funny entertainment and what you can expect from some of the finest noted stars and workforce in South Korean cinema.
This movie is fantastic, exhilarating and fun. High dramatic art it is
It's a movie about a chase for treasure, and it holds onto that and never forgets. In the pursuit of creating a chase, everything is crafted carefully. The cinematography is breathtaking, with huge elaborate sets that are used to their fullest. Most of the stunts and effects are real, CGI being kept to a minimum. It is an action movie with actual action instead of pixels, a rarity in movies from the past 10 years. Stunning candy for all the senses, it gets your adrenaline pumping! As far as acting goes, it is excellent. Korean comic actor Song Kang-Ho fills the "Weird" role of Tae-Goo, pulling off a combination of humanity and quirkiness. Lee Byung-Hun is the 'bad' character, brutal and insane as gangster Chang-Yi. Filling out the main three is Jung Woo-Son as the cool, collected and more than a little arrogant bounty hunter Do-Won. While Jung is eclipsed by the other two, his character ultimately became my favorite during the climax. The supporting cast is none-too-shabby either, playing everything from military dropouts to ninjas, all well. Particularly entertaining are the leaders of a group of Manchurian gangsters, who watch insanity take place and calmly discuss it from horseback.
Now, while the acting is good...there is not a lot of it. I don't think anyone is going to try to pretend this is a character-driven piece. It could have been, maybe, but it wasn't try to be. It was trying to be fun. There is enough character development so that when the climax rolls around after two madcap hours of amazing action, you care that the characters lives are being threatened. That's...all.
But the action is extremely well done, with a heart-pounding score that makes it all the well fun. For entertainment, you aren't going to get much more well-done for this. Supremely fun, with scenes shot with people, horses, cars and real pyrotechnics in the middle of the Gobi desert (too much CGI and spectacle just becomes yawn-worthy, I often fun). So get the DVD, get some popcorn, turn the sound WAY up and prepare for a beautifully-crafted action movie. Not for a complex character-driven masterpiece.
Westerns aren't what they used to be. Just about any fan of the genre
will agree with that statement, but they do still get it right every
once in awhile. What are some of the better westerns since the early
'90s? Tombstone and Unforgiven are probably on that list somewhere.
It's more than likely that the 3:10 to Yuma remake from 2007 and
Appaloosa from 2008 are two of the better westerns from recent years.
It's safe to say that The Good, The Bad, The Weird is the best Korean
western to date, but it's not like it has much competition. The only
other film that comes close is Sukiyaki Western Django by Japanese
director Takashi Miike. The film has Miike's fingerprints all over it,
but the fact that it was shot in English hurt it more than anything
else. The Good, The Bad, The Weird may not have much competition, but
that doesn't take away from the fact that it's a great film. It just
makes it that much easier to have the film be in a class all on its
The highlight of the film is every shootout the characters find themselves in. The choreography is done so well that you almost feel like you're a part of the action taking shelter behind a wall to reload or taking that last deep breath before making a run for it. The film is also an incredible mix of action and comedy. Some of the comedy included in Korean films, or any foreign film for that matter, either goes over people's heads when it's shown in other countries or just isn't funny at all. That's not the case here. The comedy was definitely at least chuckle-worthy all the way through the film. Nearly everything Yoon Tae-goo does is hilarious in some form or another. Most westerns seem to have the legitimate bad ass featured either as the main character or a strong supporting character. To name a few examples, 3:10 to Yuma (2007) had Charlie Prince (Ben Foster) and The Dollars Trilogy had the man with no name. The Good, The Bad, The Weird has three. Do-won, Chang-yi, and Tae-goo are all intriguing in their own right. Do-won is an amazing shot, rarely misses, and just wants to do what's right (for the right price, of course), Chang-yi can't stand being second best to anyone, and then there's Tae-goo. Sure, he may be a simple train thief with a bounty on his head that's equivalent to a used piano, but there's more to his character than the goofy dimwit he portrays himself as.
While the film is incredible, some will find that the storyline is practically wafer thin. The storyline is basically, "somebody else has a map we want, so let's take it," in a nutshell. It wasn't really an issue for me and I'm usually one of the first people to point out that a film has a weak story. It gets the job done here or everything else is done so well that it doesn't matter that the story may or may not be weak in the end. The wondering of what the map is and why everyone in Manchuria wants it was very reminiscent of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction, which is meant purely as a compliment.
The Good, The Bad, The Weird is a fantastic blend of absorbing action sequences, beautiful cinematography, strong performances, and a dash of lighthearted comedy. It's safe to say that I'm not the biggest western genre fan around, but it's films like this that make me want to dive head first into the genre and not look back.
Of the few Korean films i have seen , the best word to describe them all is eccentric and The Good The Bad & The Weird certainly lives up to that. This movie looks fantastic , almost epic like and you can see a lot of money was spent on the set . It really does have the feel of a western and the three main characters are all very interesting in their own right. The story is a simple one , three men ( and their cronies) are after a treasure map and they will do anything to get hold of it. The minus points of this film are that its half an hour too long and that at times it's to frenetic. Because of the constant action you get a little bombarded with it after a while. On the whole i enjoyed this film but im not too sure i would ever watch it again.
As a fan of "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" I was intrigued when I saw
a film entitled "The Good, The Bad, The Weird", when I saw it was a
Korean western set in the deserts of Japanese occupied Manchuria I just
had to see it even though I was sure it wouldn't be as good as it
sounded... thankfully I was wrong, the plot may have been slight but
the action was relentless and frequently very funny.
While it was obviously inspired by "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" it was not a remake, the main similarities where the three main characters; Once again The Good was a bounty hunter, The Bad was a sadistic killer and The Weird replaced The Ugly as the comic relief. The plot involves The Weird robbing a train, amongst the items he steals is a map... a map The Bad was planning to steal as well although he is interrupted when The Good arrives with the intent of collecting the bounty on him. In the confusion The Weird escapes and the rest of the film follows the attempts of The Bad, a group of bandits and the Imperial Japanese Army trying to get their hands on the map.
The action is spectacular and well done with numerous gunfights, knife fights and chases on foot, horseback, motorbike and car. While there is a focus on action the characters are fun too, especially The Weird who stole the show. While it is a comedy it does feature a few violent scenes which some viewers expecting only laughs might not like, I know I winced when one character tried to cut off another's finger with a knife.
I'd definitely recommend this to fans of westerns who are looking for something different as well as to fans of Asian cinema.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Korean western set in 1930's Manchuria. The plot basically goes like
this a Japanese official sends a treasure map off to one of his agents
in China. He also sends a hired killer (the Bad) after the agent to
steal the map so that he can get paid and keep the map. Unfortunately
the map is stolen when a bandit (the weird) robs the train. Meanwhile a
bounty hunter (the good) gets caught up in the mix.(I'd try to explain
more but it would reveal too much and take up too much time.) Nominal
homage to the Clint Eastwood/Sergio Leone films, this is a huge epic
film that never stops moving. Its one long chase as the three leads
dance around each other as well have to contend with Chinese and
Russian Bandits, the Japanese, and other interested parties. The film
just goes and goes and goes as the revelations come fast a furious. And
its all done to a catchy flamenco score.
The problem for me is that the plot, for as convoluted as it gets, is much too threadbare to sustain so much motion. The plot is basically get the map while we learn a bit about the characters, but not so much that the never ending chase and blood bath is really allowed to pause. It has enough motion for easily fifteen other films. In all honesty I looked at the clock at one point and was shocked that the film wasn't even half over. I was exhausted. To put it another way the problem is that the film pretty much is form over content and had the film not spun out so many bits that go really nowhere I wouldn't have minded the frenetic pace, but as it stands now the film seems to be promising more of a pay off then it gives us. I was going "is that it?" at the end. (I do understand the map is purely an excuse for the action, the MacGuffin of this film, but at the same time the film shades in details that are never finished) This isn't to say that film isn't spectacular. The set pieces are great and the action is amazing, the opening train sequence is one of the best train sequences on film. The film was filmed to beautifully use the wide screen so the idea that this is going to be seen on a small TV is frightening (and don't even mention pan and scan). You really need to see this as big as possible to really enjoy it.
I like the film, I don't love it. I can recommend the film, but at the same time I wish it was better. If you can get past the plot problems and just concentrate on the action you're going to have a great time.
Between 6 and 7 out of 10
My expectations for this film were through the roof. It's basically a
Korean all-star game: directed by Ji-woon Kim, he of A Bittersweet Life
and A Tale of Two Sisters fame (not to mention The Quiet Family), and
starring three of Korea's finest (or at least most popular) actors,
Woo-sung Jung, Byung-hun Lee, and (one of my favorite actors, Korean or
otherwise) Kang-ho Song.
The production values are top notch, the direction creative and self-assured, the special effects worth the time and money spent on them. I love the kill scenes as directed by Kim, especially one of the first ones where a guy is running from train car to train car, bursting through doors like they don't exist and then BAM! He's five feet behind where he was. You have to see it to appreciate it, I guess. The timing and the focus on the result instead of the impact makes the impact seem more impactful. Whoever edited this film did a great job.
Woo-sung Jung plays the Good, and he's a cute guy who oozes goodness, so that's good. His character is perhaps a bit under-played/under-developed but that's the nature of Good, isn't it? Byung-hun Lee as the Bad has a little bit too much contemporary in his swagger and look. He's more arrogant than Bad, but we're supposed to dislike him so that's good too. Not surprisingly, it's Kang-ho Song, as the Weird, who steals the show. He runs through this movie like a chicken or a turkey with its head cut off but never misses a beat. He's having a good time and makes sure that we do too. He's able to do things that many other actors are incapable of like delivering predictable lines with equal parts sincerity and irony so that we won't even think of groaning out loud. He's so adorably slightly plump and likable that even when ... well, I don't want to give it away ... we like him. We really do.
Caught up in all the fun and excitement I almost forgot that, with very few exceptions, movies with lots of gun fights are stupid.
Off-kilter Korean neo-western "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," is a
frenetic genre mash-up packed with visceral, loopy violence. That isn't
a complement so much as it is a description.
Suffice it to say, if you're into a modernist, freewheeling foreign take on Leone's "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," with cartoony characters and outrageous action, you're going to have a blast; if you're looking for a substantive or meditative reflection on the period or the original film, you're in the wrong line.
Personally, I'm caught between the two perspectives. I appreciate the pure Peckinpah punch of the gunplay, but was in equal parts bored and bewildered by the overall film. Perhaps the principal flaw in writer/director Ji-woon Kim's script is that he indulges in too much of a good thing. His action sequences are a lot of fun, and the über-stylized retro/modern aesthetic delivers bizarre and inventive visuals like a gunslinger in a deep-sea diving helmet.
But the deafening sound effects and quick cutting style wear thin if not appropriately paced, and "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," is almost relentless in its drag race to the final showdown. I'm loathe to draw a comparison to "Transformers" here, but Kim proves that even good action has a threshold, and there are times in his film where it's easy to let your eyes glaze over.
In its more quiet moments, the story, a very loose retelling of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" follows a band of misfit thieves who come into possession of a treasure map sought by both Chinese thugs and the Japanese military. What's maybe most interesting about the film is seeing the conventions, chronology, and geography of the western customized to fit eastern ideology, and China's Taklimakan desert stands in for Manchuria circa 1940.
The tone is played as loose as the history, however, and Kim is never bogged down by self- seriousness or the oft-stringent requirements of a period piece. "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" is closer to a gleeful "Kill Bill" in tone than South Korea's own operatic, ultraviolent "Oldboy," and benefits from it. Kim easily leapfrogs from hard-hitting shoot-outs to charming comedy, a phenomenon that has everything to do with his incredible cast. Each of the title characters, Park Do-won (Good), Park Chang-yi (Bad), and Yoon Tae-goo (Weird), brings with him a distinct tonal octave that lends the film some much-needed variety. My lone gripe in this department is that it would have been nice to get to know them a little bit better. As it stands, their rifles seem to have far more to say.
And for many, that won't be an issue. I've no question that there exists a very appreciative audience for this filmI'm just not it. Nevertheless, I'm only too happy to report that everything basically works. The cinematography is frequently gorgeous, the performances are stellar, and the action is kineticThere's just too much of it. By the end of the two-hour engagement, what should be a satisfying, visceral finale comes off as extravagant hoopla.
As viewers we shouldn't be conditioned to expect non-stop action, because once you pass the threshold, there's a diminishing return on adrenaline, impressive as any sequence that follows may be. "The Good, The Bad, The Weird" gets all its forward momentum right, but could benefit from applying the brakes more frequently.
Then again, maybe that reckless pace is what made it such a fast, fun ride to begin with.
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