The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008)

Totally not a familiar sight from a Sergio Leone film.

The destinies of The Good (Jung Woo-Sung), The Bad (Lee Byung-Hun), and The Weird (Song Kang-ho) converge during a train raid in 1930s Manchuria. The Weird stumbles upon a map that is rumored to lead to a massive treasure buried by the Qing Dynasty. Soon, he finds himself in a chase involving gangsters and the Imperial Japanese Army, among others, while he pursues the treasure.

The Good, The Bad, The Weird (좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 놈, Joheun nom nabbeun nom isanghan nom) is a South Korean western directed by Kim Ji-woon. As if the title didn’t already give it away, this movie very much intended to be a parody of Sergio Leone’s The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966).

And parody it did. The Good, The Bad, The Weird is filled with references to Leone’s Dollars Trilogy (see For A Few Dollars More) from the scene where Monco shot Douglas Mortimer’s hat in For A Few Dollars More to the famous standoff at the end of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good, The Bad, The Weird had a production philosophy that obviously favored style over substance. It was a very funny movie, and the action scenes were easily some of the most stylish ones I have seen in a modern action movie. My favorite scene, by and far, was the climactic chase that featured every one of the major characters of the movie, plus the Japanese Army.

That said, the writing in the movie was nothing particularly memorable. There barely was any plot in The Good, The Bad, The Weird, with the only major twist happening within the last 5 minutes of the movie. Nonetheless, I thought the best acting came from Sang Kang-ho. Though to be fair, he had the most substantial amount of screentime out of everyone in the main cast.

I would say The Good, The Bad, The Weird is good lighthearted fun, and is an especially good watch when you’re with friends and you have some alcohol to go around. Other than that, don’t expect to have your mind blown away with rich character studies or anything of the sort.

Score: 3/4

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