Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Good The Bad The Weird and The Entertained

The Good The Bad The Weird

It was only when I got into my twenties that I really started to appreciate the western genre. When I was younger it seemed like westerns never had enough action. Fortunately, lack of action is not an issue in Kim Ji-woon’s The Good The Bad The Weird.

Set in 1930’s Manchuria, the films plot loosely centres around a map that a thief, Yoon Tae-goo (Song Kang-ho), unexpectedly finds in his possession. Thought to be directions to a hidden treasure, the map is coveted by everyone from the government to local bandits. One person who desires the map is the eccentric, but deadly, bandit known as Park Chang-yi (Lee Byung-hun). In addition, Park Chang-yi has a personal score to settle with Yoon Tae-goo. Yet Park Chang-yi has problems of his own with the emergence of Park Do-won (Jung Woo-sung), a bounty hunter who is commissioned by the army to bring back both the map and Park Chang-yi.

Inspired by many classic westerns, including The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Kim Ji-Woon’s film is a fun action adventure that does not take itself too seriously. The Good The Bad The Weird really thrives off of the fast paced action sequences. Everything in this film is done on a grand scale. Instead of simple shootouts in the town streets, Kim Ji-woon has his character swing from rooftop to rooftop like a swashbuckling pirate. The action sequences are so well done that you can forgive a few silly moments, like when large numbers of bullets fly and yet no one seems to get hit.

If there is one knock against The Good The Bad The Weird it is the plot that tends to be all over the place. The film has a couple of subplots, most notably one involving the identity the killer known as The Finger Chopper, that simply do not pan out. It also becomes difficult to keep track of all the different groups that are fighting for the map in the second half of the film. Kim Ji-woon smartly masks these short comings by infusing the film with a good dose of humour. Song Kang-ho deserves extra credit for his wonderful comedic work in the film. Kang-ho’s timing is flawless in the film and really helps to enhance the performances of Lee Byung-hun and Jung Woo-sung.

Although I enjoyed Kim Ji-woon’s latest film, I Saw the Devil, more than this film, The Good The Bad The Weird is still a film that I would recommend if you are looking for a entertaining action film to watch on a Saturday night.


  1. Great review, I agree on all points...
    This really was an entertaining film yet it did get a bit messy at times.

  2. @Jack – Besides the lack of plot the only thing I would change about the film is the length of the epic chase scene at the end. It ran a tad too long, otherwise a solid flick.


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