In 1930’s Manchuria, three Korean gunslingers cross paths in a bloody vendetta over a treasure map containing the location of a lost fortune.
This film is fun in every sense of the word. The beginning sequence on the train is perhaps one of the most exciting, enthralling openings to any film I’ve ever seen. I was instantly hooked. It also introduces each of our three protagonists in a brilliant, exhilarating fashion. The plot isn’t anything unique or groundbreaking, but Kim Jee-woon handles it masterfully and manages to create something truly special.
The characters are truly what make The Good, The Bad, The Weird entertaining. Yoon Tae-goo (Song Kang-ho) with his quirky antics and amazing outfit. Park Chang-yi (Lee Byung-hun) with his psychopathic tendencies and hair that any member of a K-pop band would be jealous of. Park Do-won (Jung Woo-sung) with his gun skills and matter-of-fact demeanor. The incredible thing is that even the minor characters, such as Bear (Ma Dong-seok) are unique and memorable.
This is one of the few films that I can make more than a passing reference to how good the soundtrack is. I loved all of it. It fits the theme and tone of the film so perfectly. The opening train sequence that I mentioned before is, in part, so good because of the music. Absolutely phenomenal.
Kim Jee-woon manages to make The Good, The Bad, The Weird dramatic, exciting, hilarious, and intense throughout. Very rarely does humor in films really strike a chord with me, but almost every attempt here had me laughing out loud. One of my favorite scenes is the one where Yoon Tae-goo wears a deep-sea diving helmet in the middle of a gunfight.
The cinematography here is on point, again fitting the tone of the film so perfectly. Borrowing some style from old-school American Western films and blending it with the over-the-top nature of Korean film, The Good, The Bad, The Weird is sleek and stylish.
After the hectic, action-packed pace of the first half of the film, the latter can feel somewhat slow. The drug house portion feels slightly out of place, and it is also the only time that the humor fell flat for me.
The Good, The Bad, The Weird is a unique take on the Western genre that utilizes intense action, effective humor, memorable characters, and a fantastic soundtrack to create an unparalleled cinematic experience.