This review is completely free of spoilers. I went to see the Korean movie The Good The Bad The Weird last night, it was completely Feng Shui (ish). It’s a Korean cowboy movie set in 30s Manchuria, with big elements of Hard Boiled built in and no martial arts. This is refreshing – don’t get me wrong, I love a good martial arts movie, but a Korean cowboy movie is (to me at least) completely novel. And the Chinese desert is really really impressive. As, incidentally, is the star who played “the bad”, Lee Byung-Hun (pictured above).
The basic premise of this movie is that there is a map, and it points to some treasure (of course), and there are a couple of bandits and a bounty hunter after it, as well as a couple of bandit gangs and the Japanese army. There is a nationalist tone to the efforts of some of the bandits (what is it about Eastern bandits being nationalist?) and of course a tiny bit of hating on the Chinese and the Japanese (is this de rigeur for Koreans?) But it’s soooo much fun. A classic combination of slapstick, confusion, crazy shootin’, hyper-cool East Asian fashion, and train robbery. The map passes from hand to hand, secrets are revealed, many people die in very stupid ways, and the jokes fly thick and fast. In the end of course nothing turns out how you expect, and on at least 88 different occasions you get confused about who wants the map, what they are doing and why. But it’s a lot of fun! I strongly recommend it.
Also the soundtrack rocks.