Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Good, the Bad, the Weird

Korea is known for a lot of things. It's a country literally divided between it's self, with North and South being so different. Korea is also known as a rapid adaptor of new technology. They are known for being rabid fans of Starcraft, which is a national sport. Korea, however, is not known for Westerns. Until now!

This movie takes you on a wild and crazy ride. Set in Manchuria during the 1930s, there is a treasure map that everyone is seeking out. Korean revolutionaries, the Japanese Army, and any number of gangs of thieves and killers all want this map. The main protagonists of the film are the main focus. Park Chang-yi (the Bad) is hired to steal the map from dignitaries on a train. At the same time Yoon Tae-goo (the Weird) robs the same train, unexpectedly obtaining the map. Park Do-won (the Good) is a bounty hunter after Chang-yi and ends up caught in the chase for the map and the life of his bounty.

The whole movie is a wild set piece worthy of any American Western, with locations like a Ghost Market (where thieves sell and trade) allowing for some spectacular shoot outs. This might not be the American Wild West, but the desert quality and feeling to the entire area is very evocative of the Western-Genre sensibilities. The action, I might also add, looks like it's primarily physical and grounded. There might be a whole lot of dramatic dead-on gun shots, but there's no fantastical action or CGI effects. These are physical stunts and explosive effects - and it looks truly beautiful looking.

The movie ends with a fantastic race to the finish line, to find the fabled buried treasure. Seeing the insane amount of horses and jeeps all racing towards and single goal (while trying to blow each other away) was a fantastic climax to the action in the movie thus far.

The end of the line for the three main characters concludes with a three-way duel. Supposedly different endings, of who survived, where distributed to different markets.

This is simply a fantastic movie - and I urge anyone to rent or buy it. Warning, though - it's only in subtitles. Though it's an easy pace to read, get all the information you need, and still enjoy the action.

Here is the trailer for the film

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