Wonderfully Good, Sure As Hell Not Bad, Definitely Weird

by Nicholas Robinson

Three Korean gunslingers are in Manchuria circa World War II: Do-wan (Woo-sung Jung), an upright bounty hunter (The Good), Chang-yi (Byung-hun Lee), a thin-skinned and ruthless killer (The Bad), and Tae-goo (Kang-ho Song), a train robber with nine lives (The Weird). Tae-goo finds a map he’s convinced leads to buried treasure; Chang-yi wants it as well for less clear reasons. Do-wan tracks the map knowing it will bring him to Chang-yi, Tae-goo, and reward money. Occupying Japanese forces and their Manchurian collaborators also want the map, as does the Ghost Market Gang who hangs out at a thieves’ bazaar. These enemies cross paths frequently and dead bodies pile up. Will anyone find the map’s destination and survive to tell the tale? – IMDB.com

Here is another satisfying continuation of my 2010-a-thon.  Now all of you nay-sayers will be shouting “NAY! This movie came out in 2008!”.  Well I say “Wrong.  This movie has a US release date of April 23, 2010 (Limited) so it counts.”  Ever since I saw the trailer a few years ago, I have been wanting to watch this movie with a hunger.  However as time went by and movies such as The Dark Knight, Watchmen, Kick-Ass and Inception (to name a few) were being advertised and this wasn’t, it fell off my radar until a few days ago when Neil Miller (@rejects on twitter) from Film School Rejects put it on his Top Ten for 2010 and I was once again excited.  So as usual I made my way down to the rental store, picked this up, popped it in and was blown away.  The story, action, acting, comedy and music were all amazing.

The constantly interweaving stories of all of the characters is wonderfully done as each get’s his own story while still contributing to another’s.  I saw the twist coming from a mile away but maybe that’s because I watch too many movies.  It was a great ending to a wonderful story.  However, if you look at the movie as one plot instead of many connected plots, it is pretty simple as it really is a pretty regular western story, but hey, I like looking at details, so it’s wonderful to me!

The action was really good.  I mean it wasn’t as ridiculous as a John Woo or Michael Bay film but  it was pretty ridiculous and amazing.  When a man shoot a pulley’s attachment and grabs onto it therefore swing around a fixed point with a large radius and killing a bunch of guys with skilled shots from a 1940’s rifle, that is some good action.  Also, ending the movie with a wonderful Mexican Standoff was a great scene.  It finsihed the plot while being a great action sequence.  That’s the mark of a good action movie.

Although I said the acting was amazing in that there 1st paragraph, now that I think about it, only some of the acting was amazing, the rest was just good.  Byung-hun Lee and Kang-ho Sung were amazing as the Bad and the Weird respectively.  Byung-hun Lee showed how a bad guy can also be good at the same time, while Kang-ho Sung did a wonderful performance as the reformed guy ttrying to put his past behind him.  Although Woo-song Jung was good as The Good, I still didn’t like him as much as I liked the other two.

The comedic relief in this action movie (provided mostly by Kang-ho Sung) was hilarious.  I was laughing and enjoying myself very much during this movie.  Also, the music (score I should really say) fit the movie perfectly.  The western-themed whistling and guitar were wonderful in scoring this movie.  I tip my hat to Dalparan and Yeong-gyu Jang for this wonderful score.

Overall, this movie is a wonderful action-comedy that once you don’t mind reading subtitles or listening to dubbed tracks you should definitely watch.

IMDB says 7.4/10

RT says 83%

I say 9/10


~ by sputnikreviews on December 29, 2010.

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