Manchurian Cowboys 

The Good, the Bad, the Weird: The Best South Korean Spaghetti Western You'll See This Year!

THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD Pictured above: the bad one. Who could also be referred to as "The Badass."

THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD Pictured above: the bad one. Who could also be referred to as "The Badass."

ENTHUSIASM COUNTS. A lot. The South Korean spaghetti western The Good, the Bad, the Weird is 30 minutes too long, and I'm pretty sure it's packed with allegories to South Korean history/and or politics that'll go right over most Americans' heads. (At least, I certainly felt like a good chunk of subtext was drifting overhead.) But still: For anybody who likes westerns and action flicks, it's a must-see.

Set in 1930s Manchuria, The Good, the Bad, the Weird's setup is comfortably familiar: There's a treasure map. Three dudes want it. There's the weird one (Song Kang-ho), the good one (Jung Woo-sung), and the bad one (Lee Byung-hun). As these three eastern cowboys clash on Manchuria's arid plains, things result: gunfights, horse chases, motorcycle-with-sidecar chases, explosions, and enough verve and spectacle to keep things cool even as the pacing ebbs and flows.

The three leads are likeable and the cinematography's vibrant, but the reason to see the film are its epic, ludicrously brilliant action sequences: Director Kim Ji-Woon clearly has so much goddamn fun staging them that one can't help but be consumed by their exuberant exhilarating chaos.

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The Good, the Bad, the Weird
Rated R · 120 min. · 2010
Official Site:
Director: Ji-woon Kim
Writer: Ji-woon Kim and Min-suk Kim
Producer: Jae-Won Choi
Cast: Woo-sung Jung, Byung-hun Lee, Kang-ho Song, Ji-won Uhm, Kyeong-hun Jo, Kwang-il Kim, Cheong-a Lee, Dong-seok Ma, Dal-su Oh and Seo-won Oh


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