The Korean import “The Good, the Bad, the Weird” may sound like a long-lost spaghetti western, but it’s actually a melange of movie tributes.
Blink and you’ll miss a Quentin Tarantino shout out, a “Raiders of the Lost Ark” reference, a blast of a Sergio Leone-style sound nugget.
But the film doesn’t give you the chance to blink – even at its two-plus hour running time.
It’s fast, furious and infuriatingly complex at times, but movie fans willing to shuffle through their own movie memories will be dizzy with delight.
“Weird” begins with what should be a simple train heist. But the train in question, carrying a precious treasure map pointing to untold riches, is the target of several thieves.
The weird part of the film title – Yoon Tae-goo (Song Kang-ho) – gets there first.
Bounty hunter Do-won (Jung Woo-sung) arrives too late to beat Yoon Tae-goo to the prize.
And then there’s the oh, so bad Park Chang-yi (Lee Byung-hun), a poseur of the first order who can back up his taunts with deadly gunplay.
It’s a vigorously fun trio to watch, especially when Do-won and Yoon Tae-goo team up mid film.
But those aren’t the only forces trying to wrest the map from the Yoon Tae-goo’s hands. The Japanese army is also in play, which brings in some basic political elements that threaten to overwhelm an already top-heavy storyline.
The film’s high point comes when Do-won swings through air blasting the bad guys while Yoon Tae-goo scampers to safety while wearing an old school diver’s helmet. It’s a stupefying sequence, and all the proof you need “Weird” director Kim Ji-woon an American franchise – stat.
He’s clearly a visionary, a man whose wild set pieces are perfectly in sync with stateside tastes. And unlike director Michael Bay you can actually follow his pastiche of imagery from A to B to C.
You won’t find a cooler pair of characters than Park Chang-yi and Do-won, two sides of a starkly different coin. Do-won is so laid back he makes Clint Eastwood’s Man with No Name look like a teenager buying liquor with a fake ID.
“The Good, the Bad and the Weird” mashes genres, story lines and even characters until the blissfully simple finale. By then, you’ll either be too exhausted to care or curious how such a wild and woolly tale will finally come to an end.
(Photo: Park Chang-yi (Lee Byung-hun) squeezes off a round in the kinetic action film “The Good, the Bad, the Weird.”/IFC Films)
No related posts.