The Good The Bad The Weird

Derek Elley | Variety

East meets West meets East again, with palate-tingling results, in “The Good the Bad the Weird,” a kimchi Western that draws shamelessly on its spaghetti forebears but remains utterly, bracingly Korean. More than two years in production, and at a reported $17 million the most expensive South Korean movie to date, fifth feature by genre-bending helmer Kim Jee-woon (“The Quiet Family,” “A Bittersweet Life”), centered on a trio of treasure-seekers in 1930s Japanese-occupied Manchuria, looks headed for through-the-roof local biz, hunky returns throughout Asia and piquant specialized B.O. in the West, in the right hands.

[...]

Though the movie raises the bar yet again for South Korean tech expertise and ambition, as well as launching the K-oater subgenre, it’s not the first “oriental Western” (as it bills itself on closing credits). Last year, Takashi Miike’s “Sukiyaki Western Django” pioneered a fusion-style J-Western, and Chinese fifth-generation director He Ping already had two cracks at a C-Western with “Swordsman in Double-Flag Town” (1991) and “Sun Valley” (1996). And the original spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s were partly inspired by Japanese samurai movies, anyway.

In the first of many references to Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” central trio is introduced one at a time, though without onscreen captions to ID them. First up is “the Bad,” black-suited, spiky-haired bandit leader Chang-yi (Lee Byeong-heon, “A Bittersweet Life”), who’s hired by a pro-Japanese Korean businessman (Song Yeong-chang) to retrieve a valuable treasure map from a train. (Read More)

April 25, 2010 | Posted in: film reviews | Comments Closed

Comments are closed.