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

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood March 23, 2010 at 11:40AM

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.
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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.

This article is related to: Genres, Independents, Video, Reviews, Period, Action, IFC, Trailers


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.