[THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD screens Friday March 28th at 9:30 pm and Saturday March 29th at 7:00 pm at the Cleveland Cinematheque as part of Cleveland Cult Film Festival 5.]
Review by Bob Ignizio
may be inspired by the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone, but it's not
just another retro pastiche. There are definite nods to Leone films,
but as anyone who has seen A TALE OF TWO SISTERS
can attest, Director Ji-woon Kim has more than enough style of his own.
And regardless of its influences, this Korean “Oriental Western” tells a
distinctly Asian story in a decidedly modern style.
movie begins with a masterfully executed train robbery scene that
results in Yoon Tae-Goo (Kang-ho Song) getting his hands on a treasure
map that everyone seems to want. Chief among Tae-Goo's pursuers are
hired killer Park Chang-yi (Byung-hun Lee) and bounty hunter Park Do-won
(Woo-sung Jung). Beyond that set up, the rest of the plot is best
summed up by Park Do-won when he says, “Life is about chasing and being
chased. There is no escape.”
Song's Tae-goo is easily the most memorable of the three main
characters, although Byung-hun Lee makes for a more than adequate
villain. It's Woo-sung-jung's bounty hunter who really lets the film
down. I'm not sure if he gets that much less screen time than the other
two characters, or if it just feels that way because most of what he
does is so forgettable. Still, for the most part this is an enjoyable
film. There's not much to it, but it is a visually stunning,
action-packed bit of fluff.
There's very little in the way CGI or special effects in general to be found in THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD.
It's a reminder of just how exciting an action film can be when we're
aware that we're watching real people doing dangerous things rather than
computerized doppelgangers. Not so thrilling is the fact that some of
the film's equine performers were subjected to the kind of inhumane
treatment (primarily tripping) that hasn't been allowed in American films
online news sources report that these scenes were cut for western
distribution, but they sure looked like they were present to my eyes. Either way, it doesn't change the fact
that the cruelty took place. Whether that's reason enough to skip the
film entirely I leave for you to decide. Personally I try to balance my
distaste with the fact that this is a film made in another country with
a different cultural viewpoint, but it can't help but take some of the
fun out of the experience. 3 out of 4 stars.