In the DMZ separating North and South Korea, two North Korean soldiers have been killed, supposedly by one South Korean soldier. But the 11 bullets found in the bodies, together with the 5 ... See full summary »
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
In studying the map, he says that the Russian words mean it could be the "Maritime Province". In North America "Maritime Province" means the eastern seaboard of Canada. To a Korean it means the Primorsky Krai, the coastal region of Siberia that abuts northern Korea. See more »
The railway sleepers are made of concrete. At the time sleepers was made of wood. See more »
[Tae-goo pulls the tight diving helmet off his head]
This is awesome, but why is it so heavy?
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Be sure to watch the credits, as they show great movie stills as well as behind the scenes movie stills. See more »
The UK theatrical release had compulsory cuts made. 5 seconds of cuts were required to remove sight of real animal cruelty, in this instance three cruel horse falls, in line with the requirements of the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937. See more »
It's not difficult to see why The Good, The Bad, The Weird is number 1 at the Korean box office this year, given that the titular roles are handed over to some of the heartthrobs such as Lee Byung-hun and Jung Woo-sung. But the real scene stealer here is Song Kang-ho as The Weird Yoon Tae-goo, with some of the best lines and given the moral ambiguity of his character, rather than being the Good Park Do-won (Jung) and the Bad Park Chang-i (Lee) which is cast in stone, simply endears himself to the audience, and not to mention the extended screen time devoted to him too.
But those aside, this film trounces plenty, and I mean plenty of bland, generic action adventure types cooked up by Hollywood in recent times, and having a Korean flavour in what would essentially be a Western, it adds plenty of spice to a genre that most wouldn't want to touch with a ten foot pole. The storyline's pretty straightforward, with everyone (the titular characters, the Japanese army, the Korean freedom fighters, and plenty of rival Manchurian gangsters) after a treasure map that points to some age old Chinese dynasty goodies buried deep within some desert land in Manchuria, and having the map stolen and in the possession of The Weird, this makes it one hell of a chase movie from start to finish, offering plenty of set action sequences from massive chases, to awe-inspiring gun play.
The references and inspiration from Sergio Leone's classic spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is undeniable, but this is its own movie. Making its debut at the Cannes Film Festival, director Kim Ji-woon crafts a tale that is full of rip-roaring fun, finding some good balance between comedy and stylized action. It tries though to plant many elements and characters into the story, but these are rather forgettable as the spotlight falls firmly upon our titular three. Positive elements of the movie include the excellent cinematography and camera work, which packages the action scenes like a video game, offering the audience a close up third person perspective following through the characters in their execution of maneuvers and moves, while the eclectic soundtrack is just plain music to the ears.
Jung Woo-sung perhaps got the shortest straw of the trio, with his limited screen time devoted to looking good and cool with his double barelled shotgun. As The Good bounty hunter, he's requested by the group of Korean freedom fighters to assist them in the retrieval of the map, which also gives him an opportunity to apprehend The Bad. His character doesn't say much or do much other than to dispatch the bad guys, and frankly speaking, he falls squarely into the strong and silent mold for the movie.
Lee Byung-hun on the other hand, in reuniting with the director since their A Bittersweet Life days, brings forth quite convincingly his role as the chief baddie. Ruthless and highly skilled, he doesn't flinch an eyelid when dishing out punishment, and has through this role, told the world that he can be equally adept at being the bad guy. Kudos go to the makeup artist in trying to make him look really nasty, with plenty of facial scars that try to disguise his naturally good looks. Female fans in the audience looking for eye candy would be gleefully happy to note that he was sans shirt in one scene, and I thought it'd put to shame plenty of guys out there when they see Lee's rock-hard six-pack (time to hit the gym, guys!)
But in all honesty, this film firmly belongs to pudgy looking Song Kang-ho for his charismatic role as The Weird. The first Korean film that I ever watched in the cinemas was Shiri, and Song had a memorable supporting role to play there. From then on I've become a fan of his, and followed Song through his roles in Park Chan-wook's Joint Security Area, Bong Joon-ho's Memories of Murder and The Host, and Lee Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine. Having seen him backstage last year when he won Best Actor for his role in The Host at the inaugural Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong, was nothing but a thrill. Here, he single-handedly stole the show from the other two pretty boys with his sheer presence, and I felt that he'd probably had a field day with this free spirited role.
With well designed action designed to exhilarate, and being cheeky without qualms, The Good The Bad The Weird deserves to be highly recommended with its fusion of gun play, knife play and comedy in large doses, despite some forgivable inconsistencies. The last act did seem quite indulgent in trying to achieve spectacle that it might have become a little repetitive, but the finale face off more than makes up for this minor disturbance to a very enjoyable movie.
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