Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Good The Bad And The Weird

It takes a lot of balls to name yourself after The Good The Bad And The Ugly. After all we’re talking about naming yourself after one of the most entertaining films of all time. This can be proved with science. Leone’s operatic masterpiece, isn’t just one of the most entertaining of all time but one of the most influential, to the point where I think the effect it had on movies is literally incalculable. So like I said, it takes some balls. Short of naming your film, Abbot and Costello Raid The Lost Road Warrior With The Dark Knight and Meet Citizen Kane Versus Spiderman, its tough to think of something you could call your movie that would draw a bigger target on your forehead. There are demons that are less dangerous to invoke.

The fact that The Good The Bad And The Weird doesn’t live up to comparison is inevitable, that it survives none the less is admirable. The Good The Bad And The Weird is simply a kickass adventure flick with style to burn, that for all its flamboyance is almost touchingly old fashioned.

The genius move that The Good The Bad And The Weird makes is managing to find a play just as chaotic as the US Mexico border during The Civil War. Set during the Japanese occupation of Korea, as it began its expansion into China in the thirties, the film follows The Good, a bounty hunter, The Bad a hitman, as they battle over a treasure map, that everyone wants, drawing in rival bandit gangs, various factions of the Chinese, Japanese and Korean armies, and most dangerous of all, eachother. What they find waiting for them at the end of the map is too good to spoil.

The performers, particularly Lee Byung-hun as the dandyish Bad all give game performances. But the star of the picture is Kim Ji-woon, who creates a movie that is equally impressive in scale as it is mad in style.

Kim Ji-woon is behind the demented operatic Park, my favorite of The Korean directors. His previous movies include the seriously creepy A Tale Of Two Sisters and The Seriously Badass A Bittersweet Life. Hang on for a second, let me break down A Bittersweet Life for you. Imagine a hardcore gangster movie directed by Kubrick, Staring Lee Marvin. That’s kind of what it’s like. A Bittersweet Life is the kind of movie where a character is buried alive. Digs himself out. Finds his enemies waiting for him. Is buried alive again. And. Crawls. Right. The. Fuck. Back. Out. That’s how Kim Ji-woon rolls. He’s knows how to tell a story, how to build a sequence to it’s maximum potential, and how to soak it all in a dread inducing style.

The Good The Bad And The Weird is the most out right fun he’s ever had at the movies. It has a playful sense that, I’ve never seen Ji-Woon utilize before at least not in any of his films (There was humor in Bittersweet but its exceedingly dark). The movie is down right fun.

If you've never seen a film from The Korean New Wave This is an ideal entry point.

Post Script:

Some great posters for this thing, thought I'd share them.


Unknown said...

i saw it about half a year ago, and had quite the same feeling about it. it belongs to the kind of films you go to see, you enjoy intensely, and leave the cinema as light as you went in. entertaining at its best, with some neat trick and craftmaship moments here and there.

Matt-suzaka said...

Great film...I bought the Korean release at a convention a year ago and loved it. I read recently that it is FINALLY getting a U.S. release, but man has it taken a real long time. I also second your love for A Bittersweet Life - a movie I watched for the first time last year and since, have seen it three more times. Fantastic.

Bryce Wilson said...

@ Ciprian: Couldn't have said it better myself.

@ Matt: Glad to see another Bittersweet fan. That film remains way underrated and under seen IMO.