The Good, the Bad, the Weird [좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 놈]
Song Kang-ho (송강호), Lee Byeong-Heon (이병헌), Jeong Woo-seong (정우성), Yoon Je-moon (윤제문), Ryoo Seung-soo (류승수)
Kim Ji-woon (김지운)
Kim Ji-woon (김지운), Kim Min-suk (김민석)
Action, Adventure, Western
DVD, VHS, VCD
With the Korean Peninsula under Japanese rule in 1930s, many Koreans
flock to Manchuria for refuge. Some become bandits, some train robbers
and yet others bounty hunters. While the Weird, a notorious train
robber, is stealing from a Japanese train crossing the Manchurian
plains, he discovers a treasure map. But the map is also sought after
by the Bad, a merciless gang leader. Coincidentally, the Good, a bounty
hunter, is on the train, and he is after the Bad. The three engage in a
spectacular chase with the Japanese Army, the Korean independence
fighters, and the Chinese bandits all looking to get their hands on the
“Entertaining…a BLAST to watch.”
This movie was a LOT of fun to watch. It was engaging, interesting, and entertaining. Nevermind that the three main roles (played by Kang Sang-ho, Lee Byeung-heun, Jung Woo-sung) are some of the top and most popular male actors in Korea, they created distinct and enjoyable characters. The movie itself is one in a very scarce line up of “Kimchi Westerns” or simply Korean Westerns that take place in Asia and directed superbly by Kim Jee-woon (‘A Bittersweet Life’, ‘A Tale of Two Sisters’, ‘The Foul King’). While a bit bloody and graphic for younger audiences, it is easy to see why this is one of Korea’s best movies of 2008.
The plot is rather simple, a secret treasure map is sought by several factions each wanting to use it for their own ends – but ultimately is stolen by one person (Kang Sang-ho) creating a story of adrenaline chasing scenes and shoot outs, with the remainding parties trying to steal back the map and take out their oppositions. The movie tends to give us only bits and pieces of the characters past, it instead draws us in using a combination of comedy, action, and just plain good ole’ acting. Kang Sang-ho (one of my personal favorites along with Choi Min-Sik), plays the part of a slapstick but unrelenting character with ease, while Lee Byung-heun shows us a dark side of a ruthless killer we haven’t seen before, and Jung Woo-sung a cool and handsome bounty hunter.
Of course the visuals help, and with vibrant colors, great audio work (you can really feel the impact of the bullets as they hit things), quick and dramatic cinematography along with some great locations and sets give this movie a very high production value. Fans of Korean cinema will be hard pressed to decide this year’s best film between this and “The Chaser” but for me the wide appeal and entertainment value get’s “The Good, the Bad, the Weird” my vote.