The Good the Bad the Weird (2008) Poster

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barely deeper than a footprint, but so much fun you'll forget you care
gstoo51312 September 2009
This movie is fantastic, exhilarating and fun. High dramatic art it is not.

It's a movie about a chase for treasure, and it holds onto that and never forgets. In the pursuit of creating a chase, everything is crafted carefully. The cinematography is breathtaking, with huge elaborate sets that are used to their fullest. Most of the stunts and effects are real, CGI being kept to a minimum. It is an action movie with actual action instead of pixels, a rarity in movies from the past 10 years. Stunning candy for all the senses, it gets your adrenaline pumping! As far as acting goes, it is excellent. Korean comic actor Song Kang-Ho fills the "Weird" role of Tae-Goo, pulling off a combination of humanity and quirkiness. Lee Byung-Hun is the 'bad' character, brutal and insane as gangster Chang-Yi. Filling out the main three is Jung Woo-Son as the cool, collected and more than a little arrogant bounty hunter Do-Won. While Jung is eclipsed by the other two, his character ultimately became my favorite during the climax. The supporting cast is none-too-shabby either, playing everything from military dropouts to ninjas, all well. Particularly entertaining are the leaders of a group of Manchurian gangsters, who watch insanity take place and calmly discuss it from horseback.

Now, while the acting is good...there is not a lot of it. I don't think anyone is going to try to pretend this is a character-driven piece. It could have been, maybe, but it wasn't try to be. It was trying to be fun. There is enough character development so that when the climax rolls around after two madcap hours of amazing action, you care that the characters lives are being threatened. That's...all.

But the action is extremely well done, with a heart-pounding score that makes it all the well fun. For entertainment, you aren't going to get much more well-done for this. Supremely fun, with scenes shot with people, horses, cars and real pyrotechnics in the middle of the Gobi desert (too much CGI and spectacle just becomes yawn-worthy, I often fun). So get the DVD, get some popcorn, turn the sound WAY up and prepare for a beautifully-crafted action movie. Not for a complex character-driven masterpiece.
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Good Lord, this is fun.
ChungMo21 December 2008
The Manchurian desert in the 1930's has become the Asian cinematic version of the American West. A number of action films have been set here but this is the first to make an outright reference to a classic western that I've seen. While taking off from Leone's "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" this film goes in it's own direction although the mix of horses, trains, motorcycles, Chinese and Western costumes and some very odd characters makes this film resemble the Mad Max films more than anything else. An extended chase scene towards the end really seems influenced by the George Miller films.

Influences aside, the ingenuity in crafting the action scenes in this film makes it a joy to watch. Photography is great. The lead actors are good and the story while a little daft is easy to follow for the most part.The music is good but nowhere near the Leone films. The violence is typical for Korean action and might be a little hard to watch at times. Long but pure fun for the most part.

This is probably the best action film I've seen in a while.
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I spent half the time with my mouth agape and rest with a broad smile
christopher-underwood30 October 2008
This is a real blast. A London Film Festival viewing this afternoon and my jaw dropped during the opening. This may have the most stunning opening of any film, I certainly can't think of any other contenders at present, with crazy music, a landscape out of a dream, soaring birds of prey and a great big steam train. The camera and hence the audience are everywhere, this side, that side above, below and even in the smoke from the engine. Previously there has been some set up to accompany the credits and then we are away. This film does not let up so if it is not non-stop action you are after you had best avoid. For all sensible folk this is a mind blowing exercise in action cinema. Loud, violent and stunningly shot this is awe inspiring stuff and with a comic edge too. I spent half the time with my mouth agape and rest with a broad smile. I have heard some criticise this for lack of storyline and certainly there is minimal narrative flow here as we are sped on by sheer excitement and amusement. Fantastic entertainment on a massive scale. Large screen viewing recommended.
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Korean Mad house
valleyjohn8 February 2011
Of the few Korean films i have seen , the best word to describe them all is eccentric and The Good The Bad & The Weird certainly lives up to that. This movie looks fantastic , almost epic like and you can see a lot of money was spent on the set . It really does have the feel of a western and the three main characters are all very interesting in their own right. The story is a simple one , three men ( and their cronies) are after a treasure map and they will do anything to get hold of it. The minus points of this film are that its half an hour too long and that at times it's to frenetic. Because of the constant action you get a little bombarded with it after a while. On the whole i enjoyed this film but im not too sure i would ever watch it again.
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Hilarious eastern western
Tweekums11 November 2009
As a fan of "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" I was intrigued when I saw a film entitled "The Good, The Bad, The Weird", when I saw it was a Korean western set in the deserts of Japanese occupied Manchuria I just had to see it even though I was sure it wouldn't be as good as it sounded... thankfully I was wrong, the plot may have been slight but the action was relentless and frequently very funny.

While it was obviously inspired by "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" it was not a remake, the main similarities where the three main characters; Once again The Good was a bounty hunter, The Bad was a sadistic killer and The Weird replaced The Ugly as the comic relief. The plot involves The Weird robbing a train, amongst the items he steals is a map... a map The Bad was planning to steal as well although he is interrupted when The Good arrives with the intent of collecting the bounty on him. In the confusion The Weird escapes and the rest of the film follows the attempts of The Bad, a group of bandits and the Imperial Japanese Army trying to get their hands on the map.

The action is spectacular and well done with numerous gunfights, knife fights and chases on foot, horseback, motorbike and car. While there is a focus on action the characters are fun too, especially The Weird who stole the show. While it is a comedy it does feature a few violent scenes which some viewers expecting only laughs might not like, I know I winced when one character tried to cut off another's finger with a knife.

I'd definitely recommend this to fans of westerns who are looking for something different as well as to fans of Asian cinema.
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There's Good, little bad and plenty of weird...
stefankorea18 August 2008
I was lucky enough to see this film in a big cinema complex in the centre of Seoul, South Korea, yesterday. It is surprisingly difficult to find big Korean releases with English subtitles, so seeing Jin-Woon Kim's new film, which i have been looking forward to for well over a year, was a pleasant experience. Unfortunately everyone in the west will have to wait a little longer...

As with all of Jin-Woon Kim's films i have very little criticism to give this film, from its fantastic and totally relentless action opening to the suspenseful ending, i was completely entertained.

The cast, as expected from three of South Korea's most most talented actors were superb with in my opinion exceptionally notable roles from Lee Byun Hun and Song Kang-Ho. Lee Byung Hyun pulls off a villain superbly and fills this role with style and terror without fault. Song Kang-Ho in my opinion is the main force of the film, pulling it along with humour and perhaps the most interesting story as the film progresses. Woo-Sung Jung plays his 'good' role well but feels like the character with least depth. The film contains fantastic make-up and costume design, notably in my eyes, Lee Byung Hun's character, who looked fantastic and the on screen presence of this smart darkly dressed character set against the sandy desert was stunning.

The cinematography in this film was superb with plenty of great flying panoramic desert shots, high octane action camera maneuvers, fast cuts and perfect editing as expected from the director of such fantastic action/thriller films.

The soundtrack is fun and reminiscent of old western films with a new, modern twist to keep things up to pace. Although the story has been noted as being weak, the film really does not offer itself as an in depth period drama in the first place. The film is exactly what it calls for... Fun, fast and funny entertainment and what you can expect from some of the finest noted stars and workforce in South Korean cinema.
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"The Good, the Bad, the Weird"
colinrgeorge20 April 2010
Off-kilter Korean neo-western "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," is a frenetic genre mash-up packed with visceral, loopy violence. That isn't a complement so much as it is a description.

Suffice it to say, if you're into a modernist, freewheeling foreign take on Leone's "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," with cartoony characters and outrageous action, you're going to have a blast; if you're looking for a substantive or meditative reflection on the period or the original film, you're in the wrong line.

Personally, I'm caught between the two perspectives. I appreciate the pure Peckinpah punch of the gunplay, but was in equal parts bored and bewildered by the overall film. Perhaps the principal flaw in writer/director Ji-woon Kim's script is that he indulges in too much of a good thing. His action sequences are a lot of fun, and the über-stylized retro/modern aesthetic delivers bizarre and inventive visuals like a gunslinger in a deep-sea diving helmet.

But the deafening sound effects and quick cutting style wear thin if not appropriately paced, and "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," is almost relentless in its drag race to the final showdown. I'm loathe to draw a comparison to "Transformers" here, but Kim proves that even good action has a threshold, and there are times in his film where it's easy to let your eyes glaze over.

In its more quiet moments, the story, a very loose retelling of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" follows a band of misfit thieves who come into possession of a treasure map sought by both Chinese thugs and the Japanese military. What's maybe most interesting about the film is seeing the conventions, chronology, and geography of the western customized to fit eastern ideology, and China's Taklimakan desert stands in for Manchuria circa 1940.

The tone is played as loose as the history, however, and Kim is never bogged down by self- seriousness or the oft-stringent requirements of a period piece. "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" is closer to a gleeful "Kill Bill" in tone than South Korea's own operatic, ultraviolent "Oldboy," and benefits from it. Kim easily leapfrogs from hard-hitting shoot-outs to charming comedy, a phenomenon that has everything to do with his incredible cast. Each of the title characters, Park Do-won (Good), Park Chang-yi (Bad), and Yoon Tae-goo (Weird), brings with him a distinct tonal octave that lends the film some much-needed variety. My lone gripe in this department is that it would have been nice to get to know them a little bit better. As it stands, their rifles seem to have far more to say.

And for many, that won't be an issue. I've no question that there exists a very appreciative audience for this film—I'm just not it. Nevertheless, I'm only too happy to report that everything basically works. The cinematography is frequently gorgeous, the performances are stellar, and the action is kinetic—There's just too much of it. By the end of the two-hour engagement, what should be a satisfying, visceral finale comes off as extravagant hoopla.

As viewers we shouldn't be conditioned to expect non-stop action, because once you pass the threshold, there's a diminishing return on adrenaline, impressive as any sequence that follows may be. "The Good, The Bad, The Weird" gets all its forward momentum right, but could benefit from applying the brakes more frequently.

Then again, maybe that reckless pace is what made it such a fast, fun ride to begin with.
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Too much action and not enough plot in a get the treasure map race across Asia
dbborroughs22 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Korean western set in 1930's Manchuria. The plot basically goes like this a Japanese official sends a treasure map off to one of his agents in China. He also sends a hired killer (the Bad) after the agent to steal the map so that he can get paid and keep the map. Unfortunately the map is stolen when a bandit (the weird) robs the train. Meanwhile a bounty hunter (the good) gets caught up in the mix.(I'd try to explain more but it would reveal too much and take up too much time.) Nominal homage to the Clint Eastwood/Sergio Leone films, this is a huge epic film that never stops moving. Its one long chase as the three leads dance around each other as well have to contend with Chinese and Russian Bandits, the Japanese, and other interested parties. The film just goes and goes and goes as the revelations come fast a furious. And its all done to a catchy flamenco score.

The problem for me is that the plot, for as convoluted as it gets, is much too threadbare to sustain so much motion. The plot is basically get the map while we learn a bit about the characters, but not so much that the never ending chase and blood bath is really allowed to pause. It has enough motion for easily fifteen other films. In all honesty I looked at the clock at one point and was shocked that the film wasn't even half over. I was exhausted. To put it another way the problem is that the film pretty much is form over content and had the film not spun out so many bits that go really nowhere I wouldn't have minded the frenetic pace, but as it stands now the film seems to be promising more of a pay off then it gives us. I was going "is that it?" at the end. (I do understand the map is purely an excuse for the action, the MacGuffin of this film, but at the same time the film shades in details that are never finished) This isn't to say that film isn't spectacular. The set pieces are great and the action is amazing, the opening train sequence is one of the best train sequences on film. The film was filmed to beautifully use the wide screen so the idea that this is going to be seen on a small TV is frightening (and don't even mention pan and scan). You really need to see this as big as possible to really enjoy it.

I like the film, I don't love it. I can recommend the film, but at the same time I wish it was better. If you can get past the plot problems and just concentrate on the action you're going to have a great time.

Between 6 and 7 out of 10
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Movies with lots of gun fights are....
sitenoise7 May 2009
My expectations for this film were through the roof. It's basically a Korean all-star game: directed by Ji-woon Kim, he of A Bittersweet Life and A Tale of Two Sisters fame (not to mention The Quiet Family), and starring three of Korea's finest (or at least most popular) actors, Woo-sung Jung, Byung-hun Lee, and (one of my favorite actors, Korean or otherwise) Kang-ho Song.

The production values are top notch, the direction creative and self-assured, the special effects worth the time and money spent on them. I love the kill scenes as directed by Kim, especially one of the first ones where a guy is running from train car to train car, bursting through doors like they don't exist and then BAM! He's five feet behind where he was. You have to see it to appreciate it, I guess. The timing and the focus on the result instead of the impact makes the impact seem more impactful. Whoever edited this film did a great job.

Woo-sung Jung plays the Good, and he's a cute guy who oozes goodness, so that's good. His character is perhaps a bit under-played/under-developed but that's the nature of Good, isn't it? Byung-hun Lee as the Bad has a little bit too much contemporary in his swagger and look. He's more arrogant than Bad, but we're supposed to dislike him so that's good too. Not surprisingly, it's Kang-ho Song, as the Weird, who steals the show. He runs through this movie like a chicken or a turkey with its head cut off but never misses a beat. He's having a good time and makes sure that we do too. He's able to do things that many other actors are incapable of like delivering predictable lines with equal parts sincerity and irony so that we won't even think of groaning out loud. He's so adorably slightly plump and likable that even when ... well, I don't want to give it away ... we like him. We really do.

Caught up in all the fun and excitement I almost forgot that, with very few exceptions, movies with lots of gun fights are stupid.
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Some good, some bad, some weird - kind of like PotC with no plot
paper-revolution28 July 2008
Okay, I've just seen the movie yesterday and I think I've had a fair amount of time to digest it. As of now in Korea, opinions about this movie are almost completely divided. Half of the people love this film, despite its errors; others are rather disappointed by its lack of plot. Me? I'm dwelling somewhere in the middle.

There are some good parts of the movie ...

  • The desert scenery. Magnificent. Whoever was in charge of the cinematography did a really good job.

  • Sets & props (particularly costumes). Also with the cinematography, I think the people who built the set and came up with costume ideas deserve some serious credit. The sets and props really added to the movie's visual appeal.

  • The actors, particularly Lee Byung-Hun. All three actors were pretty good in their roles, and Jung Woo-Sung looked ridiculously good looking, but Lee really shined in his new "change of role". There was a strength in his eyes that almost literally jumped off the screen, and his character was chillingly convincing.

  • Did I mention Jung Woo-Sung was hot? I'm a heterosexual guy in his 20's, but even I couldn't deny how ridiculously good looking he was. Despite all of his character's insane, ridiculous stunts (which I, for those of you who understand Korean, would like the refer to as "gae-pom"), I eventually ended up with the same conclusion: "Man, that guy look COOL!"

  • The action scenes were pretty decent as well. Had to put that in.

Then there's the bad ...

  • It's complete lack of plot. I mean it, not much plot.

  • I'm kind of tired of seeing Song Gang-Ho in the same role AGAIN! I mean, I know the guy's a decent actor, and he really did a good job in his role, but didn't we see this guy in the "The Host"?!

  • Violence does not equal comedy!! Not saying that the movie is really violent, but ... Ugh, you'll get what I mean after watching the movie.

Which leads me to my weird overall impression of the movie:

I'm quite PERPLEXED. I was pleased while watching the movie, and the film is rather enjoyable to watch, but leaving the theater, I was sort of like "Um... okay..." An odd, WEIRD feeling of satisfaction mixed with a sense of being robbed.

To give you a sense of what it was like, it's kind of like a Western Korean version of "Pirates of the Caribbean". There's a lot of action, nice characters, cool setting, rather enjoyable, but you leave the theater a bit perplexed. And while PotC leaves you perplexed and confused because of its abundance of plot, "The Good, the Bad, and The Weird" leaves you perplexed and confused because of its lack there of.

To sum it up, I think it's a decent, fun-to-watch movie (Nice effort, to say the least!). Good to kill time or just watch on a Friday night. But if you want something more serious or concrete, I'd recommend something else.
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One damned thing after another.
allenrogerj30 October 2008
An avowed homage to Sergio Leone (with references to quite a few other westerns, martial arts films and other films thrown in), with Morricone-imitating music, the film goes on for much too long, despite some beautiful shots and well-directed action scenes- which go on for too long as well. The central characters just aren't interesting, original or convincing enough to carry the plot- such as it is- and the final revelation about one evokes neither astonishment nor comprehension. All the same, if you just sit back and let it wash over you without thinking except to count the thefts, references and clichés you'll have an enjoyable couple of hours.
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Because Hollywood doesn't have the monopoly in mindless action blockbusters...
chaos-rampant27 December 2008
Oh, the sweet irony. What would this world be without the acerbic, poignant, scathing realization irony offers? A less interesting place for sure. Take Ji-woon Kim's new (insert traditional Korean food) western action movie for example. The ill-advised title immediately reveals everything that is wrong with it.

Whereas Sergio Leone's THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY is a similar sprawling western adventure from which Ji-woon Kim freely borrows, it still has a masterful story behind its quirks and eccentricities that holds it together. Kim's GBW lifts the plot from Leone's movie wholesale yet forgets to mould it into a story worth the celluloid it's printed on. When the loud explosions, quick cutting and dangerous acrobatics stop for a moment, the silence becomes deafening. And while GBU will remain a staggering classic, GBW will be sooner tossed away for the next collage of things blowing up and stuntmen jumping from high places that Hollywood will serve us.

The titular three (broadly sketched as the strong silent type, the coldhearted bastard and the bumbling fool respectively) are all after a map that reveals the location of hidden treasure somewhere in Manchuria. Set in early 20th century east Asia, GBW cross-references the genre world of the American western with then contemporary historical setting, something that in theory should resemble the spaghetti western but instead comes off as a tad on the Hollywood side of things.

GBW hovers in the middle, a thinly plotted pastiche that goes on for too long, a step upward from your run-of-the-mill action blockbuster on the strength of exotic locale alone. Mildly interesting at first until you realize it's a one-trick pony. The opening and pre-climax large action scenes are quite good but the middle sags and drags painfully. Easily the most impressive action scene takes place in the desert and involves the Japanese Imperial army, bandits and some more bandits all chasing after a motorbike. The astonishing panoramas of the army bombing the desert that recall Sergei Bondarchuk's epic WATERLOO are a pleasure to be hold.

I see a lot of people praising this film, not for what it is, but for what it's not (a Hollywood blockbuster); however if we're quick to scoff at the sight of another mindless, airheaded superhero blockbuster, if we refuse to be dazzled by dramatically vapid spectacles that make up for their wafer-thin story and absent characterization by staging bigger, louder, and more CGI-laden scenes of things blowing up and buff guys posing for the camera, I don't see any reason why we should take them from South Koreans in the name of 'foreign cinema' - even when they're presented in the form of homage, or perhaps more so in those cases (as Kim shows no understanding of Leone's cinema). I'm sorry to say I ended up disliking this movie as much as I was looking forward to it.

And finally why didn't anybody tell Kim that GBU spoof titles stopped being cool 20 years ago?
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The Entertaining, The Admirable and The Down Right Frustrating
benjamin_lappin26 July 2009
With a film title such as this, it is unavoidable that Ji-Woon Kim's latest foray will be compared to Sergio Leone's epic masterpiece that is "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly", and while the comparison is not entirely necessary to write a critique without bringing it up is ignoring the obvious. In 2005, Ji-Woon Kim released the highly lauded and severely engaging film "A Bittersweet Life", in which he took the reformed gangster plot device and twisted it wonderfully to create an intelligent action-thriller. It is evident that in the aftermath of his unprecedented international success, Ji-Woon Kim was given free reign to create any film of his choosing, spawning the genesis to his latest endeavour "The Good, The Bad and The Weird".

We all have films that we classify as being in our "top ten" or even "top five", films that speak to us on a level that we are so incredibly immersed within the story being told that we connect on a subconscious level to create unbound admiration. Ji-Woon Kim has a passion for the spaghetti western, and climax to the "Man With No Name" trilogy, "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly" and with his free license has not intended to copy, parody or pastiche Leone's creation but to attempt to create an Easternised Western using the fore-mentioned film as a template. Inevitably, the director has had to update the story and transplant the time line for a completely new audience and to maintain historical plausibility which is admirable but his nature as an action film director proves to be the films Achilles heel.

To say there is little plot in this film is to say there is too much, for after the films introductory, and satisfactory, skirmish the story descends into the chase of a map which is about as flimsy as the glue that, allegedly, holds the plot together. The story hops gleefully, and unashamedly, from one action scene to the next, and while the criticisms that the sequences are fifteen minutes in excess of what they should be are accurate, it is the overwhelming lack of perspective or objective that infuriates the viewer. It is all well and good having a twenty minute battle royale in the middle of a desert, incorporating all the warring factions within the story but to have nothing more than a simply cut and one of the protagonists to be miles away in complete isolation without one of the hundreds chasing him in sight is nonsensical and irritating. Perhaps though, the most frustrating is the lack of development in the three most important pieces of this puzzle. For example Woo-sung Jung, who plays "The Good", has studied the Clint Eastwood films thoroughly mimicking his stance, tone and style in his attempt to recreate the feel of his character, yet lacks the aura and gravitas of Eastwood to pull off the anti-hero role sufficiently. Not simply this, but at this stage in Leone's trilogy the "Man With No Name" while still fixated with obtaining his fortune had softened as an individual making it easier for the audience to connect with him come the final confrontation. With Ji-woo Kim's version it is unintentionally the case that the character traits of all three interchange at varying junctures making it nigh on impossible to sympathise enough with one individual character to make us care about the film in anything more than two hours of mind numbing action.

As not to completely eviscerate the film there are notable plus points which must be mentioned as the score overlaying the film is perfect for a film of this sort carrying along the action elements with a slight undertone of Morriconne's iconic creation. Ji-woon Kim shows he is still a director worth worrying over as there are some luscious landscapes in his rich and vivid cinematography, showing he knows how to capture a film while Kang-ho Song shows his versatility as he adds zany charm to a list of roles which include his undoubtedly iconic revenge driven "Park Dong-jin" in Chan-wook Park's "Sympathy For Mr Vengeance". These noted exemptions aside, one cannot help but feel that "The Good, The Bad and The Weird" is an ultimately hollow experience, a concept which had all the tools to be a success yet escapes into the comfort of an action genre all too frequently. It leaves me personally wishing Ji-woon Kim would have shown the characteristics of his earlier work "A Bittersweet Life" and taken the arguably more pretentious but the more rewarding route of jettisoning some action and slowing the pace of the story down so as to allow the characters the time to develop and flourish and not be the mere cutout clichés that they occasionally turn out to be. What sums this film up perfectly is its ending sequence which utilises the same dramatic tension that Leone so wonderfully created, before shattering that illusion and choosing the most clichéd, ridiculous and unfortunately laughable of all the available alternate endings. "The Good, The Bad And The Weird" goes down in history, as of 2009, as being the most expensive South Korean film made, yet if Hollywood has taught us anything it is that bigger and more expensive does not always mean better. While "The Good, The Bad And The Weird" is unintelligibly watchable you do wonder if this, or another of South Korea's plethora of talented directors could have created a grander cinematic experience for a few dollars less.
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Movie of the year 2008, best movie seen in a long long time
gav_814 November 2008
Saw this movie yesterday(13/11/2008) and after an initial realisation of what was going on at the beginning, I really got into this movie. This movie manages to encompass I think many genres of film. It is an action film, it is a comedy and without spoiling the plot(I hate people who do that) it is a thriller.

Many action films nowadays seem to have some sort of maiden, or romance in the movie, this, has managed to pull off action but without what I can say the cliché of romance.

Your mouth will be opened in awe many a time while watching this movie, and I think that if fans will get their parents and friends to watch it it can be a leader in getting people into foreign films. As was the case with one of my mates.

The Cinematography is mind blowing and brings you up close to the action, at times blood hits the screen, the camera almost crashes as a guy falls off a horse, and the angles and movement is so amazing like I mentioned from up close to up and above.

The movie has managed to infuse comedic and action sequences in at the same time, you'll be watching it, high octane action but(I know I promised) you'll laugh as the character Yoon Tae Goo(Weird) is being shot in the head while wearing an old divers helmet. The fight sequences are the same great but also funny.

What is great that a lot of Hollywood does do is that the movie doesn't hold back. The Hit-man(The Bad) is portrayed superbly realistic(as is all the characters) acting without mercy or regard a very brutal character, the thing is you see all the grotesqueness of him and the movie, people being stabbed, blood splattering, gunshots a realistic movie.

What really got me was the soundtrack, this has to be the first movie that I've ever watched which made me get blown away by the soundtrack, the music which greatly varies from modern hip hop like sounds to old sounding music, is expertly placed into the right places and aids in the enjoyment and WOW factor of the movie.

I've read in shock that people have put that the movie lacks a plot or that it is very small. This is not true, its not a intensely complex, but it is by no means simple. I won't go into it because I would only ruin it for you but what I can say is that the progression of the story is fantastic, there is never a part that lasts too long or is a "filler" and isn't needed it progresses amazingly and the story is good. You will definitely enjoy the ending I can guarantee that.

Overall, I have to say you have to see this movie; and get everyone you know to see this movie. The excuse, "but I would rather watch a movie than read subtitles" is NOT an excuse for this movie, you can watch and read at the same time, if not watch the movie, Visually stunning anyway. This film will definitely get people who don't watch foreign movies to not be so closed off and should get more people watching more foreign films if not, Korean.

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A Nutshell Review: The Good The Bad The Weird
DICK STEEL14 November 2008
It's not difficult to see why The Good, The Bad, The Weird is number 1 at the Korean box office this year, given that the titular roles are handed over to some of the heartthrobs such as Lee Byung-hun and Jung Woo-sung. But the real scene stealer here is Song Kang-ho as The Weird Yoon Tae-goo, with some of the best lines and given the moral ambiguity of his character, rather than being the Good Park Do-won (Jung) and the Bad Park Chang-i (Lee) which is cast in stone, simply endears himself to the audience, and not to mention the extended screen time devoted to him too.

But those aside, this film trounces plenty, and I mean plenty of bland, generic action adventure types cooked up by Hollywood in recent times, and having a Korean flavour in what would essentially be a Western, it adds plenty of spice to a genre that most wouldn't want to touch with a ten foot pole. The storyline's pretty straightforward, with everyone (the titular characters, the Japanese army, the Korean freedom fighters, and plenty of rival Manchurian gangsters) after a treasure map that points to some age old Chinese dynasty goodies buried deep within some desert land in Manchuria, and having the map stolen and in the possession of The Weird, this makes it one hell of a chase movie from start to finish, offering plenty of set action sequences from massive chases, to awe-inspiring gun play.

The references and inspiration from Sergio Leone's classic spaghetti western The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is undeniable, but this is its own movie. Making its debut at the Cannes Film Festival, director Kim Ji-woon crafts a tale that is full of rip-roaring fun, finding some good balance between comedy and stylized action. It tries though to plant many elements and characters into the story, but these are rather forgettable as the spotlight falls firmly upon our titular three. Positive elements of the movie include the excellent cinematography and camera work, which packages the action scenes like a video game, offering the audience a close up third person perspective following through the characters in their execution of maneuvers and moves, while the eclectic soundtrack is just plain music to the ears.

Jung Woo-sung perhaps got the shortest straw of the trio, with his limited screen time devoted to looking good and cool with his double barelled shotgun. As The Good bounty hunter, he's requested by the group of Korean freedom fighters to assist them in the retrieval of the map, which also gives him an opportunity to apprehend The Bad. His character doesn't say much or do much other than to dispatch the bad guys, and frankly speaking, he falls squarely into the strong and silent mold for the movie.

Lee Byung-hun on the other hand, in reuniting with the director since their A Bittersweet Life days, brings forth quite convincingly his role as the chief baddie. Ruthless and highly skilled, he doesn't flinch an eyelid when dishing out punishment, and has through this role, told the world that he can be equally adept at being the bad guy. Kudos go to the makeup artist in trying to make him look really nasty, with plenty of facial scars that try to disguise his naturally good looks. Female fans in the audience looking for eye candy would be gleefully happy to note that he was sans shirt in one scene, and I thought it'd put to shame plenty of guys out there when they see Lee's rock-hard six-pack (time to hit the gym, guys!)

But in all honesty, this film firmly belongs to pudgy looking Song Kang-ho for his charismatic role as The Weird. The first Korean film that I ever watched in the cinemas was Shiri, and Song had a memorable supporting role to play there. From then on I've become a fan of his, and followed Song through his roles in Park Chan-wook's Joint Security Area, Bong Joon-ho's Memories of Murder and The Host, and Lee Chang-dong's Secret Sunshine. Having seen him backstage last year when he won Best Actor for his role in The Host at the inaugural Asian Film Awards in Hong Kong, was nothing but a thrill. Here, he single-handedly stole the show from the other two pretty boys with his sheer presence, and I felt that he'd probably had a field day with this free spirited role.

With well designed action designed to exhilarate, and being cheeky without qualms, The Good The Bad The Weird deserves to be highly recommended with its fusion of gun play, knife play and comedy in large doses, despite some forgivable inconsistencies. The last act did seem quite indulgent in trying to achieve spectacle that it might have become a little repetitive, but the finale face off more than makes up for this minor disturbance to a very enjoyable movie.
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Not a good movie
xnrat6 August 2010
I have honestly no idea why Korean movies are so popular and get such high ratings. This is no exception. Don't get me wrong, it isn't really a bad movie. But it is also not a good movie. I was pondering a while between giving it a 5 or a 6 and then decided on a 5.

This movie didn't make me laugh, it didn't have me on the edge of my seat and there really is nothing to think about. Overall it is a very bland experience.

The acting is meh. The Bad made me cringe because Asians in general have a problem to be bad and cool at the same time. Instead of just being bad he reminded me of Goofy's evil twin, if Goofy would've been in a boy band. The story is laughable, no time went into writing the script. And the action scenes are so-so.

I can't recommend this movie.
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THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE WEIRD is more the latter than the former
YohjiArmstrong13 March 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Plot: A bounty hunter, an assassin and a bandit in 1930s Manchuria chase a treasure map, also pursued by nomads and the Japanese army.

This is essentially a Western set in 1930s China, clearly derivative of the spaghetti Westerns, yet leavened with Asian oddness (a standout scene features a gunfight involving the giant bronze helmet from an antiquated diving suit). It's visually interesting, with the gunfights demonstrating a (clownish) humour and complexity rarely matched in the West. Unfortunately it falls down on the characters who are little more than archetypes - which would be fine if the movie didn't go on too long (the secret to exploitation cinema being not to over stay your welcome or else the cracks will show). There is also a problem of pacing - this being a nearly non stop chase movie - because of the lack of highs and lows in many scenes. Too many of them are just one action moment after another (notably the final chase in which all the warring factions come together) which only serves to exhaust the viewer. A lack of emotional connection with the protagonists and a too-long running time undermine what is otherwise a rather fun and wacky adventure with an unusual setting.

Worth one viewing.
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Outstanding Western and action movie
abisio11 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Considering that the best Western's movies came from Italy; it should not be a surprise to find an excellent one coming from Orient. Remaking "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly " was a risky task; the beloved classic, packed three extremely efficient and loved actors (Eastwood, Wallach and Lee Van Cleef), Ennio Morricone's music and a legendary director Sergio de Leone; however the Korean director, Ji-woon Kim took the risk and accomplished it gracefully; sometimes even better than the master itself. The story is different than the original (there is some homage to "A Fistful of Dynamite "also ). Instead of focusing on the Good, this time is the Weird who gets protagonism (though Eli Wallach carried most of the original movie too). There is a map (really a MacGuffin ) after which the three main characters plus other thieves, opium dealers and Japanese army are after; thus becoming an spectacular and very violent chase over Manchuria. There is some political innuendo about Korean freedom but never flights too high. Aside from the non-spot action with bullets, knives, hammers and a little of martial arts the cinematography is outstanding. There are takes requiring craftsmanship and preparation that recent USA movies only do through computer generated imagery but almost never with cameras. This quality makes the action far more believable and involving. The acting is very good. Most of the movie is carried by Kang-ho Song (The Host) as The Weird but Byung-hun Lee as The Bad creates a very interesting psycho; Woo-sung Jung as The Good gets what he can with an underwritten character and the rest of the cast if above average; far from the overacting in typical Oriental movies. In brief, pure entertainment; and if you have problem with subtitles; do not worry because dialogs are of little importance here.
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not weird, but a lot of fun and some epic sequences
Quinoa198426 January 2010
The Good, the Bad, the Weird is a film that by its own title says 'there's something extra here', that there might be another twist on what Leone's masterpiece brought to us in film. From Ji-Woon Kim (director of the acclaimed Tale of Two Sisters) one would also think his first foray into an action spectacle would be bug-f*** insane. But as it turns out, this is really just another action movie, nothing too 'weird' enough about it (the 'Weird' character isn't even that weird, more just scum along the lines of his inspiration of Tuco in GB&U). Is this a bad thing? Not at all. It's a respectable, sometimes even really thrilling and alive, action western that could be described as a "noodle-western" with its setting in Manchuria and featuring Korean, Chinese and Japanese players in a setting with basically the same general plot of Leone's film, except this time featuring a treasure map with an undetermined amount of fortune, and set in the 1930's.

While it did shoot short of being really great and original - it's setting and variation on the characters is really the only change that Kim's homage to spaghetti westerns goes- it's a lot of fun seeing how the characters get where they go, and how the set-pieces do function as best they can. The opening train sequence has a lot of verve and some humor (more people in the screening were laughing out loud than I was, but it was always amusing), and there's one particular chase sequence out in the desert when 'Weird' (a very good Kang-ho Song) is driving in his cart from an entire army and tons of bandits, all firing guns (some machine variety) and put to the 'Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood' cover that was featured in Kill Bill Vol. 1. This is, at the least, a real breathtaker, where Kim just says 'f*** it' and goes all out with propelling the action forward, with anybody getting in the way trampled underfoot.

The film also boasts a few other goodies. One of these is the performance of 'The Bad', Park Chang-yi, who has a very crazed look in his eyes every other moment and is purported to be a notorious finger-chopper with his victims. His work makes it constantly watchable whenever he's on screen. And, as mentioned the actor Kang-ho Song (who we previously saw as the Priest in Park's 'Thirst') is tough as nails and goofy as hell in his part of the Weird. The other main player, Woo-sung Jung as 'The Good' is more the straight man, less a bad-ass than Clint Eastwood but more subtle and with a more obscure and interesting back-story that is only revealed in snippets. While Kim definitely verges from the usual Mexican stand-off just a bit in the climax, there's at least a sense of real love for his source material of The Good the Bad and the Ugly, and action westerns in general.

If only it could be a little more, well, weird. It's certainly no Sukyiaki Western Django, but if you're hankering for some bloody western fun and shameless action and characterizations (and a little jazz to boot), it gets good marks on all counts.
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Massively Overrated
Jake_Flagrant15 February 2015
I normally wouldn't feel the need to leave negative comments on a film, but the fact that this is so highly lauded makes me feel the need to ask....what the hell are people smoking?? I watched this film several years ago at a Korean film festival, on the big screen, and I remember how furious I was that I wasted my time with this piece of crap over something far more worthwhile.

First of all, the plot is basically non-nonsensical. Looking back, I can remember something about a train, a guy on a motorcycle, a cowboy...and that's about it. Now, I'm totally fine with a film that highlights character, atmosphere, style, action - whatever - over plot. But this only works if the aforementioned things are actually engaging. But alas...all we are left with is simply a mess.

Which brings me to the action. This movie is very much in the anti-physics style of Michael Bay wherein we have no idea where or how things are happening. They. Just. Do. The average shot length seems to be about half a second. I found it all incredibly lame and dull. There's simply no continuity of action. It's like taking random words from a novel and mixing them up. It doesn't make a story.

As for the acting, the soundtrack, etc., I honestly can't remember a single detail.

Don't make the mistake I did. There are so many great films in the world to watch instead of this pile of crap. 1/10
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lack of koreanish...
fluffset8 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Wah... i'm so tired of this kind of nonstop action movie. I think it's exactly look like Bay's Transformers, full of action but no heart. I'm so disappointed because my expectation is too high, I thought this is some of Jae Woon's best stuff but wrong.

My first Jae Woon's work I watched is A Bittersweet Life, an action movie before he make this. After that I watched I Saw The Devil, then I considered this is the best director from Korea so I want to see all his works. But, I think this is the worst job of him. Lack of plot and story, too focus on gunfight and stylish character. If you want some nonstop- action stuff, this is it. If you want a ''good'' movie, go watch 'The Good,The Bad and The Ugly''.

First time in my life I gave 5 for korean movie...
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One of the funniest movies of all time!
Angelus226 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The Japanese Army possess a map that pin-points were hidden treasure is buried, but before they can go to their destination the train is robbed by a clueless bandit named Yoon Tae-Goo, also known as 'Weird', who doesn't know what to make of the map. Park Chang-Yi, the 'Bad Guy' has been sent by his boss to retrieve the map from the Japanese, on his tail is a bounty hunter named Park Do-Won, the 'Good'; throw in a bunch of Chinese bandits and it's complete mayhem as the race to the treasure results in shoot-outs and brilliant chases with hilarious consequences.

I previously mentioned to mates that Korean Cinema would rival Hong Kong and Japan, but after watching 'Old Boy', 'Bittersweet Life' and 'The Good, The Bad, The Weird', I feel that Korean Cinema has surpassed 'Hollywood, HK, and Japan'.

I personally hate comedies, films don't make me laugh. But I was practically in tears watching Kang-Ho Song go about his business in a ridiculous manner, Kang-Ho Song is simply spell binding as the crazy bandit who is in over his head and does not have a clue on what to do next. The action scenes are real action scenes...Not weak computer generated pieces of dribble that pass for 'Greatest Action Scene of All Time'...It's wonderful seeing Woo Sung-Jung glide across the shanty town shooting down the bad guys, while Byung-Hun Lee plays the role of the bad guy perfectly, he's still Mister Cool (Bittersweet Life) but there is something quite eerie about him.

To wrap it up, I will say that this is a film not to be missed, it transcends Kung-Fu Hustle by a million miles. Watch it!
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Even if a man has no country, he's still got to have money.
lastliberal19 August 2010
If you are looking for a good time, check this out. Kang-ho Song The Weird) and Woo-sung Jung (The Good) stand out for their performances in a film written and directed by Ji-woon Kim (writer of The Uninvited, and directed A Tale of Two Sisters).

The music, the cinematography, the constant action, all remind you of that other movie with a similar name. Ji-Woon Kim has given us a spaghetti western set in Korea with Japanese invaders. It is a cool ride from beginning to end - and it it extremely funny, too.

Of course, there are those who may think it sacrilegious to remake Sergio Leone's movie, but remember he made that movie from the Japanese film Yojimbo.
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An Eastern Western
JoeytheBrit14 August 2010
There are few things more enjoyable than watching a film made by a filmmaker who clearly has a passion for his subject - especially when he seems to determined to pass that enthusiasm on to his audience as Ji-woon Kim does with The Good, The Bad, The Weird, a kind of cockeyed homage to Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

Ji-woon goes for all out action, forsaking any romantic involvement or depth of plot that might slow the full-on action that begins with a chaotic shootout on a steam train and culminates with a madcap, full-on chase through the desert involving the good guys, the bad guys and a few hundred red army soldiers in jeeps, motorbikes and on horseback. Ironically, because of this the film's main weakness is that we seem to be moving from one shootout to another with a few minutes of padding in between to allow the audience to catch it's breath. And while the action set-pieces really are breathtaking, it does feel as though something is missing at times.

Nevertheless, the exuberance of Ji-woon's direction will sweep you up and keep you watching (and enjoying), and given that the final Mexican stand-off drags in comparison to the original on which it is based - and which lasts two or three times longer than Ji-woon's version - it's perhaps for the best that he didn't try to emulate Leone's genius for creating tension out of seemingly endless set pieces. Either way, this is a film you're not likely to forget in a hurry.
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One of the best 'Westerns' I've seen in a long time!
ajs-1014 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I can't say I'm the greatest fan of the Western, maybe I watched too many in my youth, they were the only films on TV in those days. I do, however like a good Spaghetti Western. So, to come across a South Korean Spaghetti-style Western, I was more than intrigued. Here's a very short summary and then my thoughts.

It's all about a treasure map, Park Chang-yi (the Bad) is sent to steal it, but is beaten to the punch by Yoon Tae-goo (the Weird). At the same time, bounty hunter Park Do-won (the Good) is out to get both of them. Throw into the mix a gang of bandits and the Japanese army all against the backdrop of the 1940's war in Manchuria and you've got a pretty good powder keg ready to go off. I won't go too much into the plot, it's pretty long and involved, but needless to say there's plenty of excitement along the way to the place marked 'X' on the treasure map.

This is a very well made film with really excellent fight scenes, shoot-outs and chases all expertly done. I also liked the soundtrack; the music fitted the pictures perfectly in most instances. Great performances from all three of the major cast; Kang-ho Song as Yoon Tae-goo / The Weird, Byung-hun Lee as Park Chang-yi / The Bad and Woo-sung Jung as Park Do-won / The Good.

The plot was quite involved and a bit dialogue heavy, I felt, which for a foreign language film isn't exactly an advantage. But if you can stick with the subtitles you are rewarded with a pretty good story. There are several plot holes in it, so it's not perfect by any means, but it is still very entertaining with a few comic moments thrown in for fun. Over all, it's certainly a different take on the Spaghetti Western, it has the look and the feel, but with a bit of South Korean spice. Recommended.

My score: 7.1/10
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