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The Good, The Bad, the Weird: Must-See Oriental Western

by Anne Thompson
March 23, 2010 11:40 AM
  • |
Thompson on Hollywood

Director Kim Ji-Woon calls The Good, The Bad, the Weird, his stunning $10-million homage to Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone, an “Oriental Western.” His sixth film (which has continued his South Korean box-office winning streak) boasts masterful high-speed action like you’ve never seen before: think Stagecoach meets high-wire Jackie Chan meets The Road Warrior.

Tongue firmly in cheek, this comedy actioner is set on the Manchurian steppes in the 1930s as a bizarre trio of Korean exiles—The Good (Jung Woo-sung, a sharp-shooting bounty-hunter in a duster), The Bad (Lee Byung-hun, a wickedly handsome knife-throwing gang leader) and The Weird (Song Khang-Ho, a two-fisted gun-slinging thief) hotly pursue buried Qing dynasty treasure. Kim’s exhilarating, escalating mayhem pits our three anti-heroes against fast-moving trains, horses, trucks, motorcycles, jeeps, explosions, Japanese and Chinese soldiers and Russian bandits. And after all that, their final existential showdown does not disappoint.

I first saw the film in Cannes in 2008; it played Telluride, Toronto and London too. IFC opens the movie in theaters April 9. Don't miss it. Here's the Apple trailer; the YouTube version is below.


  • Jeff C | April 11, 2010 6:54 AMReply

    I have this on (legal) DVD and it's great. Can't wait to see it on the big screen. Kim Ji-Woon is a major talent. There's at least two and maybe three versions of the film (Korea has one ending, the rest of Asia another, and there might be an "international" cut as well). The film is far superior to Miike's "Sukiyaki Django Western," even when budgetary considerations are factored in (IMHO).

  • DavidC | April 10, 2010 5:49 AMReply

    IMDb still sez "USA 9 April 2010 (limited)."

  • Angel | April 10, 2010 5:33 AMReply

    Where is this movie??? Did IFC mean April 9, 2011? I can't find anything about theater listings on the internet? What is up?!!

  • Sasha | April 5, 2010 7:51 AMReply

    This is an extremely fun ride and the soundtrack is fantastic!
    Amazing how they pulled this off since the Korean film industry leaves a lot to be desired for those involved. Most stunts the main actors had to do and "The Good" even ended up with a broken wrist which they left without a cast in order to finish the shoot.

    As for the "bigger budget" yeah I imagine almost 60 years would drive up inflation for anything....? I think they did a great job with a relatively small budget these days and "The Weird" stole the film IMO.

  • Ray Sawhill | March 25, 2010 4:47 AMReply

    Another good entry in the "Oriental western" genre is/was Miike's "Sukiyaki Djano Western." Not one of his tip-top movies, IMHO, but still a lot of stylish and energetic fun.

  • Brian | March 24, 2010 5:46 AMReply

    Okay, I watched the trailer. It might work. It just seems much more reminiscent of Sammo Hung's classic Hong Kong action comedy, MILLIONAIRES' EXPRESS (1986, aka SHANGHAI EXPRESS), an all-star romp that's pretty hard to beat.

  • Brian | March 24, 2010 3:27 AMReply

    Wow, this film's budget is bigger than the combined budgets of all three films in the trilogy which was the filmmaker's ostensible inspiration, Sergio Leone's "Man with No Name" films.

    Does it have even a fraction of the entertainment (and artistic) value of Leone's films?

  • chance | January 18, 2012 11:27 AM

    OH it delivers, better than any modern American western to come out in the last ten years

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