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The Good, the Bad, and the Weird Reviews

Page 1 of 66

Super Reviewer

March 7, 2009
A petty thief stumbles upon a map whilst robbing a train and sets off to retrieve the treasure with a cold blooded assassin, a bounty hunter, a gang of outlaws and the Japanese army in pursuit. The Good The Bad The Weird despite its title has little in common with Leone's film. It's far more of an out and out action film, spending little time bothering to flesh out the back story of the characters and the plot is really just a long chase punctuated by over the top shoot outs. What it is, is a lot of fun; the charismatic leads are always engaging to watch and the lighthearted blend of comedy and action has far more in common with the likes of Indiana Jones than The Man With No Name. I personally would have liked to have seen more of "the good", the laconic bounty hunter was for me the most interesting character, but also the one we learn the least about. It has a couple of nice twists and the ending can be seen as a comment on how in the modern age, wealth has become an abstract that has been taken from the grasp of the individual. I'd recommend watching the alternate ending if its available, which contains a couple of extra scenes that made it a lot more satisfying (quite why they were removed in the first place, I have no idea) and seeing it pushed my score up half a star.
Al S

Super Reviewer

May 24, 2013
A dazzling two-hour smashup of pure non-stop enjoyment that you cannot get enough of. A ridiculously entertaining and wildly enjoyable movie. A pure and utterly fun action movie that's bold, very funny and inventive. A great tribute to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. A slam-bang classic that is just a wonderful blast to watch. Director, Kim Ji-woon crafts a stunning, visually impressive and stylish western. It's filled with gun-slinging action, sizzling suspense, wild antics, great locations and terrific characters. It's beautifully filmed and refreshingly entertaining. An absolutely brilliant and tremendously thrilling piece of action movie magic. It's always fresh, energetic and never boring. The cast is a real blast. They all look like they are having fun with their roles. Song Kang-ho is outrageous. Byung-hun Lee is excellent. Woo-sung Jung is terrific. I really loved this movie, it's not what you expect and dose not end the way you think it will but its exactly what you will want to see.
Albert K

Super Reviewer

March 18, 2012
A spaghetti western with Koreans?!?!? Hey, it works!

Frenetic action, marvelous set-pieces coupled with quirky humor, and some of the most creative camerawork to grace an action movie makes "The Good, the Bad, and the Weird" an absolute marvel to watch. When the action dies down, the movie continues to offer a surprisingly entertaining, albeit simplistic narrative that involves all its characters to be singularly focused on one goal: the map. It works but it simply isn't as memorable as it should be -- especially the last action set-piece; it was surprisingly boring with really sloppy action compared to the rest of the spectacular ensemble set-pieces.

When all's said and done, "The Good, the Bad, and the Weird" may have some stand-out camera-workings paired with some inventive and adrenaline-pumping in-your-face action, but it hardly manages to be a memorable movie.
paul o.
paul o.

Super Reviewer

February 29, 2012
Its very stylistic and lets the story be both funny and serious! Its a great achievement in Korean Cinema and proves that they can make a great western just like americans!
Jens S

Super Reviewer

February 11, 2009
Let's be honest: the idea of setting up a western scenario in the desert of Manchuria is pretty cool. The references to Eastwood's classic spaghetti western are obvious and plenty, but the film still manages to set up its own atmosphere with the typical Asian over the top acting, odd dialogues and colorful sets. The latter are the films biggest assets. It just feels real when people are thrown through walls, windows or roofs of real sets. The editing stays surprisingly reasonable, preferring long shots of actual stunts over hectic editing or CGI effects. That's refreshing and fun to watch, even if some of the action scenes do get repetitive rather quickly. The problem lies in the scenes between the action, which drag on quite a bit sometimes. The movie does feel too long all around and never manages to make you care for anything you witness. The result leaves you oddly unsatisfied in the end, even if the cinematography and action choreography remain memorable.

Super Reviewer

May 1, 2011
A Korean Spaghetti Western? You betch ya, and an excellent one at that. Its all about the map, what map you ask ? The one everyone is after. Many unforgettable Characters in this movie. Full of action and also great comedy. You will not turn away from this one. What dies the map lead to, ah an ending I will not give away. Even friends will enjoy this one and say where did you get that. 4 Stars.

Super Reviewer

August 27, 2009
Cast: Kang-ho Song, Byung-hun Lee, Woo-sung Jung, Ji-mun Hyun, Seong-su Ryu, Young-chang Song, Byung-ho Son, Dal-su Oh, Ji-won Uhm

Director: Ji-woon Kim

Summary: On a train crossing the Manchurian desert, an unlikely trio -- good bounty hunter Park Do-won (Woo-sung Jung), bad gangster Park Chang-yi (Byung-hun Lee) and weird train robber Yoon Tae-goo (Kang-ho Song) -- unite to find a treasure map's promised loot. Racing through the unforgiving landscape, they stay one step ahead of rivals and the Japanese army.

My Thoughts: "This film has a bit of everything in it from comedy, action, adventure, and just a bit of suspense. It's a fun western. I am not huge on western type films, but this one was worth the watch. It was funny, and had a lot of great shoot outs, and the character's were great. 'The Weird', was my favorite. The film is all about the chase, and has one of the longest chase scenes I think I've ever seen in a film. The action starts right in the beginning of the film and never lets up. The only downfall of the film really for me was some parts really dragged. Like the chase scene, it seemed like it would never end. The acting and story is solid. It was a good flick and worth the watch, especially if your a fan of action films."
Cynthia S

Super Reviewer

September 7, 2010
Great effects and lush production quality go a long way to give this film a boost to 'gotta see it'. You won't find another film like this one anywhere. But about 3/4 of the way through the film, the 'chase for the map' becomes tiring, and endless shootouts where only the bad guys get hit, make you realize the script is pretty limited and the plot has been stretched pretty thin. By the final shootout, you really don't care. Nevertheless, watch it for all the other good qualities of the film.
Aaron N

Super Reviewer

May 29, 2008
Man-gil: The bounty on your head is 300 won.
Yoon Tae-goo: What? I'm only worth a piano?
Man-gil: A used one at that.

A kick ass Korean Spaghetti Western. Regardless of what country this film originates from, it is easily one of the most enjoyable, mindless action films I have seen in years. I want other action films to do what the cameras do in this film. The action is so much fun and awesome to watch. The story is simple, taking cues from Sergio Leone and the Mad Max films, as we follow a few characters in pursuit of great reward. But really, this film boils down to going over-the-top with stylized action in a western-type setting.

Three Korean gunslingers are in Manchuria circa World War II: Do-wan, a bounty hunter, Chang-yi, ruthless killer, and Tae-goo, a train robber with nine lives. 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 and Tae-goo for reward money. Spanning the country with various gangs and army units after them, the trio all do what they can to reach the treasure, with plenty of shootouts and chases along the way.

I just can't emphasize enough how much fun this movie is. It doesn't take itself seriously, it just has a lot of fun with it's premise. It pays obvious tribute to the movies it has been influenced by, while creating a number of ingenious situations for our characters to get into. This falls into the realms of movies like Kung Fu Hustle in terms of sheer action comic joy for me.

The direction by Ji-woon Kim is solid. The cinematography and editing are fantastic. Observe some of the great long shots exhibited, and the ways the action remains incredibly dynamic throughout. I want him to make more action movies and I want other directors to take notes on this man's work. I understand that he has clearly been influenced by others himself, but this is still fine work to behold.

Staying true to the theme spaghetti westerns, this film has an incredibly simple story and easily defined characters, yet it goes on for a little over two hours. Despite having a solid pace to it, the film is certainly stretched out to re-create the old school feel, while bringing in several virtuoso action sequences.

I could really just keep praising this film for it's action. It's a lot of fun and a very easy way to spend a couple care free hours.

Park Do-won: Even if a man has no country, he's still got to have money.
Emily A

Super Reviewer

August 15, 2010
It's a little hard to discern the nature of this movie apart from the craziness. I have no idea when it's supposed to take place; the costumes are from all over the place. The only one who looks like he belongs in a Western is Do-Won (or "The Good"). Everyone else is riding horses (and trains and motorcycles and whatnot) wearing suits, aviator hats, Mongol horde getups or bright purple with fur(?). I wish I knew Asian history a little better, because Korean-Japanese-Chinese relations in Manchuria seem to be vital to understanding why that area is considered Asia's wild west. The treasure map plotline was an interesting twist, but I never had a really good grasp on who had it any given time. Characters were double-crossing each other left and right, but the story never let me catch my bearings long enough to work out everyone's motivations. It also took me a little while to sort through who was "Good" and who was "Bad", since both guys seemed like skilled and accomplished gunmen. Weird on the other hand was plenty obvious. The gunfights got a little bit tedious, and there was a reveal toward the end that completely came out of left field and once again confounded the roles of the title. I really liked Chang-Yi and Do-Won though, and was really happy to see thier final confrontation. And Lee Byung-Hun? Yummy.
Mario M.
Mario M.

Super Reviewer

July 14, 2010
Woody Allen made his best movies by showing the funny side of Ingmar Bergman's existential angst. Brian De Palma took Alfred Hitchcock's immaculate staging and hypnotic visuals, amped up the violence and fetishism and developed a style all his own. Quentin Tarantino mashed up Woo and Godard to make the definitive film of 1990's. And while Kim Ji-woon's The Good, The Bad, The Weird doesn't quite reach those heights, it is the best remix film since Inglorious Basterds.

Ji-woon takes some of the characters and the plot from Sergio Leone's masterpiece The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly but replaces that film's elegiac tone with one of relentless intensity and bawdy humor. Where Leone let his camera luxuriate on the beauty of Spain's plateaus, Ji-woon zips from one dazzling set piece to another only slowing down to deliver the bare minimum of exposition. Ji-woon pares down Leone's already minimalistic plotting and delivers a film of elegant simplicity. Put another way, Leone made a symphony, Ji-woon made a Hip Hop classic.

All this cinematic trivia, while fascinating, isn't necessary to enjoy The Weird. It's a brightly colored extravaganza. The film's opening scene, an insane train robbery that is the action scene to beat this year, is the antidote to every schizophrenically edited, CGI saturated Hollywood budget buster. The players and settings are clearly established and the action is easily followed. It's old school in the best possible sense. It's kinetic without being frenetic. And it never sacrificed visual clarity for the sake of empty stylistic flourishes.

This is not to say the film lacks panache. A fierce gunfight takes place in an exquisitely recreated Ghost Market. An impeccably dressed killer finds out that his ornate knife has a dull blade at the most embarrassing possible moment. The Imperial Japanese Army battles hoards of desert bandits who dress like extras in a Prince video.The film exists in the same kind of garish reality that Blade Runner and Cowboy Bebop do. It takes a deft hand to balance such diverse iconography but Ji-woon pulls it off.

The only thing that keeps the film from true greatness is its reverence to its source material. Some of the film's wild-eyed excitement fades when it becomes clear how closely the film is going to flow The Ugly's ending. Since no one is ever going to beat Leone at a Mexican standoff, I would have liked Ji-woon to try something a little more adventurous. Also, the films soundtrack is effective but never great. Recruiting Ennio Morricone for a score would have been over the top but The RZA would have been perfect. But those are minor quibbles. The Good, The Bad, The Weird is excellent pop cinema and one of the most purely fun movies I've seen all year. And while it's a not a masterpiece of genre subversion that it could be, it is a thrilling combination of Eastern and Western styles.
Mark H

Super Reviewer

November 29, 2008
Shallow adventure about a thief, a hitman, and a bounty hunter all vying to find a treasure map. Starting with that title, this ho-hum Korean western is clearly upfront about being inspired by the Sergio Leone classic. The concept is unique, I mean a Spaghetti Western from South Korea, set in 1930s Manchuria, is pretty unconventional at least. Unfortunately the execution is mostly uninspired. Bright colorful cinematography highlights lots and lots of graphic shoot-outs and chases. At first it's kind of fun, but the strictly by the numbers story grows tiresome after 127 minutes. Fans of the genre may enjoy this Eastern take on a Western classic. All others should simply rent the superior original.
Saskia D

Super Reviewer

May 2, 2010
It's been two weeks since I've seen this one, and it didn't stick.
A two hour long chase, not really my cup of tea.

Super Reviewer

December 13, 2009
The Manchurian desert in the 1930's has become the Asian cinematic version of the American West. A number of action films have been set here but this is the first to make an outright reference to a classic western that I've seen. While taking off from Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, this film goes in it's own direction although the mix of horses, trains, motorcycles, Chinese and Western costumes and some very odd characters makes this film resemble the Mad Max films more than anything else. An extended chase scene towards the end really seems influenced by the George Miller films.
The cinematography in this film was superb with plenty of great flying panoramic desert shots, high octane action camera maneuvers, fast cuts and perfect editing as expected from the director of such fantastic action/thriller films. The lead actors are good and the story while a little daft is easy to follow for the most part. The violence is typical for Korean action and might be a little hard to watch at times. Long but pure fun for the most part.
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

November 25, 2009
This Sergio Leone-inspired Korean Western is thoroughly enjoyable, funny and very well directed, just like Tarantino's pastiches, but it is overlong and seems to not know how to end.

Super Reviewer

April 25, 2009
"People must know that they're going to die, and yet they live as though they never will. Hilarious."

The story of three Korean outlaws in 1940s Manchuria and their rivalry to possess a treasure map while being pursued by the Japanese army and Chinese bandits.

Huge, sprawling, eye-popping adventure that is a loving ode to the spirit of Sergio Leone's spaghetti westerns, and is definitely one of the best big-screen entertainments of the year. Combining massive sets, vast landscapes, and incredible action set-pieces, this is what cinema is all about. Set in 1930's Manchuria, the story revolves around three very different characters; Park Do-Won - The Good (Jung Woo-Sung), Park Chang-Yi - The Bad (Lee Byung-Hun), and Yoon Tae-Goo - The Weird (Song Kang-Ho), who are all after a legendary treasure map. Close on their trail is the Japanese army, who also want the map, as the possible spoils will help fund their war effort. Featuring several truly spectacular action set-pieces, which writer/director Kim Ji-Woon ('A Tale Of Two Sisters' / 'A Bittersweet Life') pulls off brilliantly, the movie is wonderfully held together by three first-rate performances. Kang-Ho is hilarious as the manic thief, Byung-Hun is strikingly convincing as the villainous Chang-Yi, and Woo-Sung is perfectly cast as the strong, Clint Eastwood-style Do-Won. Like Leone did with his films, Ji-Woon creates a framework for the characters which his talented cast then breath their own textured life into. It's more about character interplay, period flavour, and grandly memorable sequences than a strong, complex story. Ji-Woon may have approached this differently to his previous films, but that doesn't make 'The Good, The Bad, The Weird' any less meticulously crafted. I just wish all big budget blockbusters were as masterfully entertaining as this.

Super Reviewer

January 11, 2008
Sadly a wasted chance of doing a classic. Is not just that the script is non-existant, i can live with that in a good action flick, but the characters are pretty much one dimensional cartoons. This comes as a big shock after A Bittersweet Life, a film that above all had great characters. It's hardly the fault of the actors, the cast is great, but they have so little to work with. Song Kang Ho's comic charm gets over-used, and Lee Byung Hun is pretty much just doing cool pose after cool pose.

Is the movie a total waste? Not at all, there are some great shots here and there, some quite clever sequences and the soundtrack is a blast. If only Kim Ji Woon had spent more time with the script and a bit less with the action sequences this could be a lot better. Because it does seem that the movie never knows when to finish an action montage. We get to see a character shooting the hell out of a bunch of people in cool angles once, the fifth time we see the same character shooting a bunch of people without getting a scratch things start to get quite tedious and boring. Woon also seems to have problems with fight sequences shot in closed scenearios, again, a surprise considering how crisp and sharp all the action sequences in ABL are directed. It's as if he just got carried away and never knew when to stop for a breath, like a kid in a candy store, filling his mouth with everything in sight. Even too much of a good thing can eventually kill the product.

Super Reviewer

December 31, 2007
Leave it to Korea and director Ji-woon Kim to come up with a fun and entertaining Western film. Well, it isn't exactly a Western, but it is close enough.There isn't much to the story and this is a little bit of a letdown. Fortunately, this film still has a lot going for it. The title The Good, the Bad, the Weird corresponds to the 3 major characters, known as "The Good," "The Bad," and "The Weird." They actually have names in the film so they aren't called that, but you catch my drift. Naturally it seems as if "The Good" will take precedence over the other two, however the director sees things differently and places major emphasis on "The Weird." "The Good" is actually the least important of the 3.There is a lot of action throughout this picture and it is fantastic. The first hour has a handful of shootouts and the camerawork is nicely done. The film slows down just a bit in the second half, leaving a few parts feeling unnecessary. Nevertheless, it contributes to the 130 minute run time. Just before the final showdown at the end, there is a 15 minute chase in the desert complete with motorbikes, horses, jeeps, canons, pistols, machine guns, and shotguns. Excellent stuff. "The Good" puts the shotgun to good use in this film.The star of the show is Kang-ho Song, who plays "The Weird." 99% of the comedy stems from his character and as I mentioned earlier, his character has the most airtime. Woo-sung Jung as "The Good" and Byung-hun Lee as "The Bad" also put up good performances.The Good, the Bad, the Weird isn't a typical Western movie, especially with the mixture of Korean, Mandarin, and Japanese dialogues, but it is definitely something to not overlook.
Luke B

Super Reviewer

January 25, 2009
The Good The Bad The Weird does what so many Korean films have done before. It has taken a very simple generic idea and enthused it with an original and entertaining flavour. Here we have an Eastern Western with motorbikes and incredibly warming visuals. The comedy factor is reminiscent of The Host in that it is often laugh out loud funny, but doesn't detract from emotional scenes and fairly brutal violence. The music is a mix of classic western, modern rock and techno synthesizers. It's fun, fast and frantic but the editing is so wonderfully timed that we have an action film where we can see the action. The three leads are great, especially Kang-ho Song who breathes life into a living Road Runner type character. Fans of Leone should enjoy the homages and the chase scene involving motorbikes, shooting, hundreds of horses and canons is quite honestly one of the most exhilarating moments in film. Ji-woon Kim can now add action, comedy, western to his expanding and versatile resume.
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