By: Oberst von Berauscht (Two Beers) –
Finally, a mainstream action movie made by South-Koreans, filmed in the deserts of China and paying tribute to a Western made in the deserts of Spain by an Italian film studio and starring Americans.
And with that, you have The Good, the Bad, the Weird, an unlikely film from an unlikely source, but don’t think for a moment that this is pure novelty.Filmmaker Kim Ji-Woon set out to make a Western and that he accomplishes very well.
In the midst of a train robbery during the 1930s, Yoon Tae-goo (actor Song Kang-Ho) stumbles on a map that promises a fantastic treasure.Unfortunately, the map is also wanted by killer Park Chang-yi (Lee Byung-hun), countless other bandits, and even the Japanese Army.In pursuit also is Park Du-Won (Jung Woo-Sung), a relentless bounty hunter.These characters shoot, stab, and hammer their way through the wastelands of occupied Manchuria towards their ultimate goal.
What makes this film work is the filmmaker’s choice of cast, whose chemistry with each other gels very well.This creates an even blend of action, drama, and comedy.The special effects stay away from CGI for the most part, making creative use of practical explosions, clever production design, and well-placed camera angles to make the film feel bigger and more expensive than it actually was to make.
The film’s biggest action set piece is a high-stakes chase through the desert, where horses, trucks, and motorcycles weave through the surroundings, all while steel rain from nearby artillery kicks up dust all around.CGI has its place in film; it is used quite well to accomplish things that are impossible with practical effects, but it should not be used as a crutch.
The story is well written, with plot twists and turns that you’d never expect, which works to set this film apart from its namesake just enough to make it its own.The mood is set by music that effectively captures the East meets West nature of the proceedings.
Setting the film back from being a single beer is the sometimes confusing camera angles.During the more spectacular action sequences it can be difficult to tell what is happening.This is probably because, unlike a high budget Hollywood action film, they couldn’t afford to film shots from multiple angles to see what worked best.Ultimately this feels almost like a nitpick, as the confusing moments are brief; however, these scenes stand out so much from the otherwise impeccable cinematography, and therefore merit another beer.
Very good, not that weird, and not at all bad.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time there is an explosion (during the climactic desert chase sequence, just take a guess and adjust beer intake accordingly).
Take a Drink: whenever the Map is mentioned
Take a Drink: for every badass kill
Take a Drink: every time “The Weird” makes a goofy face
Do a Shot: for anus related violence. Wait… make it a double.