Sunday, October 10, 2010

Kim Ji-woon's The Good, the Bad, the Weird

Kim Ji-woon's The Good, the Bad, the Weird / 좋은 놈, 나쁜 놈, 이상한 놈 / Joheun-nom, Nabbeun-nom, Isanghan-nom (2008-2010) is great fun! Literally, "the good fellow and the bad fellow, the fellow who is strange," this action flick pays homage to a range of Sergio Leone films while maintaining its own (Korean) spirit.

The inspired setting: lawless and violently contested Manchuria during the late 1930s -- a place even crazier than the American Wild West or Mexico during the Revolution. Exotic touches include the Tri-Nation gang, the Ghost Market and an apparent opium den at a border crossing. One massive chase section has five different elements: Manchurians; Japanese horse cavalry, trucks and artillery; the Bad and his mounted gang; the Good on horseback; and, being pursued by all because of a map in his possession, the Weird. There is a lot of violence and wreckage, but it's stylized and reminds me, in addition to Sergio Leone, of Clint Eastwood, James Bond, Mad Max and Conan the Barbarian all blended together.

The Good is more like Mr. Self-interest with a sure shot; the Bad is sensitive to insult and quick to kill; the Weird (Song Kang-ho) seems the most human and has attributes of Sergio Leone's Clint Eastwood character(s), as well as a touch of Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez (Eli Wallach).

Finally, one picks up a little of the historical backdrop involving Korea, China, Japan and Russia.  The film was shot on location in the Gobi Desert.

Today's Rune: Movement.


Charles Gramlich said...

oh man that looks very cool. I want to see this one a lot.

Johnny Yen said...

That does look cool.

Manchuria was one of the flashpoints of WWII. The Japanese and Soviets fought an undeclared war over it; Alvin Coox' book about it is awaiting my finishing nursing school. When the Soviets cleaned the clocks of the Japanese, they looked Eastward toward the US for conquest.