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The Good, The Bad, The Weird

The Good, The Bad, The Weird

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 out of 5

KIM Jee-Woon’s affectionate homage to the Spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone is a fast, furious and totally insane Oriental western that delights from start to finish.

Unfolding in Japanese-occupied Manchuria in the 1930s, The Good, The Bad, The Weird focuses on a mysterious treasure map that everyone wants, including ruthless bandit leader and killer, Chang-Yi (Lee Byhung Hun); ice cool bounty-hunter Do-Weon (Jung Woo-sung), and accident-prone train robber Tae-Gu (Song Kang-ho).

All three are deadly in their own way and as their paths continue to cross, it’s only a matter of time before they must face each other for one winner-takes-all showdown.

Jee-Woon’s film may wear its influences pretty blatantly on its sleeve (and includes nods to the films of Tarantino, Blade Runner and Mad Max: Road Warrior), but it never feels like a rip-off, so much as gloriously re-imagined tributes.

The action is fast, brutal and utterly breathtaking and barely lets up for the duration of its running time.

Yet the director never loses sight of his characters and allows some of Korea’s top male stars plenty of room to ensure that every single character is memorable in some way.

The film was a massive audience hit in its homeland and deserves to become an international break-out sensation too.

It really does offer some of the most fun you’re likely to have in the cinema this year… and shouldn’t be missed. In short, it’s a blast that’s guranteed to leave fans of Leone and modern contemporaries such as Tarantino and John Woo purring for more.

In Korean, with subtitles

Certificate: 15
Running time: 2hrs 10mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: June 15, 2009