|April 23, 2010|
|Action, Adventure, Comedy, Western
Rated R for nonstop violence and some drug use
|The Good, The Bad, The Weird
Rarely do I agree with the monikers placed on the posters or cover art of films. Phrases like “Best of the decade”, “Must watch this film several times in a row”, or “Pulp Fiction meets Hitch”. The cover art for The Good, The Bad, The Weird quoted a writer as saying the film was “the best foreign film of the year”. For once, I wholeheartedly agree. The Good, The Bad, The Weird IS the best foreign film of the year (thus far). With superb quality, divine action sequences, and a master crafted cast, the film translates to a perfect cinematic masterpiece, the likes of something Clint Eastwood had probably never imagined.
Before any explanations can be given for my admiration for the film, I must first mention the train sequence at the start of the film. The quality of the film is foreshadowed in one of the first scenes of the film, as a train barrels down the tracks, with “The Bad” standing in the way. Aboard is “The Weird” setting to rob the men at the front of the train. The cinematographer and effects artist make the approaching of the train something of an art form, with billowing smoke, the camera panning and tracking along the train and revealing the fearless villain of the film. The battle that ensues is not only a perfect introductions to the characters at play, but a perfect moment in the history of cinema.
Based in South Korea, this oriental Western demolishes any preconceptions regarding foreign films. Though clocking in a little over two hours, the weary should be informed that there are few subtitles in the film, as most of the scenes are filmed with action and little time for talk. The action sequences are superior to many action flicks being released these days from Hollywood and even around the world. The quality and brightness of the film make falling in love with it extremely easy.
Borrowing most the plot from The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly, the three main characters, “The Good”, “The Bad”, and “The Weird” play cat & mouse tracking down a map that leads to a treasure. The treasure, though the driving force of the film, is just an excuse for the three most dangerous men in Korea to fight. Not only does action take huge precedence in the film, humor is woven in very subtly and well crafted, with “The Weird” providing most of the laughs. Even the end proves laugh-worthy, as the final showdown proves more exciting than the treasure that comes “shooting” out of the ground.
All three men not only represent their handles significantly, but three very different forms of acting. Byung-hun Lee (“The Bad”) plays one of the best villains witnessed in cinema in a long time. His look and attitude match well and grounds the film as more than just a parody of the original Western. Woo-sung Jung (“The Good”) delivers a valiant effort in depicting the lone gunslingers from the Tom Ford era of Westerns, but (and no racism meant) it is hard to picture a Korean Clint Eastwood. And the star of the show, Kang-ho Song (“The Weird”) resembles a Korean Jack Black, bumbling and whittling his way to victory, proving there is more to him then there appears.
The Good, The Bad, The Weird is the definition of epic. If pumped out by Hollywood (though obviously changing its connotations) the film would have been in the realm of epic films like Robin Hood or Transformers and big Westerns like The Searchers, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and yes, even The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly.