This week has been surprise after surprise and today was no different. First, I get a classic war flick in “Zulu”, quickly followed up by “The Good, The Bad, The Weird”, a great action-comedy from Korea.
The best way to easily describe this movie would be a funny cross between “Wild Wild West” and “Kung Fu Hustle”. Although it is set in 1930’s/40’s Manchuria, the film benefits from modern technology. The gunfights are tense, the story is cool, and the characters are great. This on top of a good supporting cast and some neat effects make this a great thrill ride.
Anyway, moving right along…
It’s simple enough, everyone is after a map that supposedly leads to an ancient treasure. This includes the evil gangster Park Chang-yi (Byung-hun Lee), the noble bounty hunter Park Do-won (Woo-sung Jung), the amusingly odd thief Yoon Tae-goo (Kang-ho Song), along with the Japanese army, the Ghost Market gang, and some Manchurian outlaws. They continually clash to try and posses the map, each for their own reasons.
Each of the three principle actors uses his character well. Song is wonderful as the goofy thief, who is as skilled with a gun as he is his wit. Jung mostly just spends the whole movie walking around and being a badass as the bounty hunter. There are also a lot of great supporting roles and a very good ensemble cast.
Shot in a nice widescreen, the audience is treated both to great shots of the Manchurian desert, as well as taut action sequences. The camera moves quite a bit during some scenes, but it was never very jarring. The other part I enjoyed greatly was the grittiness of a lot of the violent bits, with mud and blood getting right in the audience’s face.
The sound was great, especially because of the variance in the report and loudness of the individual guns used. The video effects were great too. Lots of shooting and exploding, all very well timed. The editing went a long way towards helping in this area.
A very well put together film. It visits a decent amount of locales for fairly long time without ever feeling bogged down. The action scenes are long, but never feel drawn-out, and they always have a satisfactory end.
It’s available on Netflix, so definitely give it your time.