“Zig-zag around and make them confused”: The Good, The Bad, The Weird

Oriental western.  Oxymoronic, perhaps, but it’s also the genre of this film.  Who knew, right?

So for this one I went a little outside of my comfort level.  No one at work has asked me about this specific movie, but I’ve been looking at it for a month and a half now, and the trailer is on our promo reel we play on Fridays and Saturdays.  It had been growing on me, and I finally decided it was time for me to take the plunge and grab this action-packed Asian I-don’t-know-what and see just what it was all about.  Action and shoot-em-ups are not exactly my cup of tea–this is rated R “for non-stop violence”–but this one looked like it could be good.

Since the title is is English and there were no “Subtitled” stickers on it, I was somewhat surprised to find out that this movie is in Korean.  I don’t mind reading the subtitles, but more customers than not put a movie back when we inform them it’s not in English.  There wasn’t a whole lot of speaking in the movie, so it didn’t matter much, anyway.

Before I get started reviewing the film, I’m going to give you a key of the three main characters.  Let’s be honest, Korean names mean nothing to me, and therefore are impossible to remember.  While watching it, I just called them by their title generalizations.

The Good:  he is a bounty hunter chasing after the other two characters.  He is styled after the John Wayne/Clint Eastwood ideal, and it is a good look for him.  He’s dreamy.  He rides a horse.

The Bad:  he is a hired killer and general bad guy.  This is obvious from his androgynous look,  asymmetrical pointy bangs which cover his right eye at all times, and black eyeliner.  He’s hot.  What can I say?  I love my BAMFs in a three-piece pinstriped suit.

The Weird:  he is a thief who provides comic relief, which is obvious by his Sherpa hat and the fact that he rides in a sidecar.  He’s not that attractive.

The Good, The Bad, The Weird is–and I swear this is the best way to describe it–an oriental western.  It is set in 1940s Manchuria (according to IMDb; I’m not going to lie, I had no idea where it was set, and as for the year, I thought it was modern day, but it doesn’t make much of a difference either way).  The film starts off with a man making a trade:  he gives up his supposed treasure map for money.  He then immediately hires The Bad to steal the map back.  The Bad heists the train where the map is, but The Weird got there first.  Both The Bad and The Weird are shocked to find they aren’t the only ones after the map.  Having followed them, The Good is also on the train.  He really cares less about the map and more about getting a bounty from catching either one of them.   When word gets out that the map exists, the Japanese government and Ghost Market thieves (read:  the Black Market thieves) are also after it, and therefore, after him.

This movie is definitely full of action and, full disclosure here, I fell asleep for about 10 minutes in the middle of it.  (In my defense, I was very tired, and I already told you action is not my thing.)   In fact, I awoke to The Bad waking up from his sleep because he could hear a centipede crawling on his wall.  He jumped from bed, threw a dagger at it to pin it to the wall, and then shot–with bullets–the end of the dagger to drive it deeper into the wall.  What did I tell you?  He’s a BAMF.

In the epically awesome fight scene in the middle of the market, The Weird (brilliantly) wears an antique SCUBA helmet to protect himself during a shoot out, The Bad rides by on a horse, in the rain, while wearing a cape, and The Good just smokes his cigarette, because he’s calm, cool, and collected like that.

All in all, I highly recommend this movie to anyone who likes action movies.  This is definitely one of the best I’ve seen.  Even if–like me–you don’t like actions, this is still a pretty good movie.  Did I mention two of the three main characters are hot?  That helps, too.

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