THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE WEIRD Entertaining Korean movie

4The Good is Do-Won (Bounty Hunter, a Korean Dirty Harry), The Bad is Chang-yi (Head Honcho, raving psycho) and The Weird is Tae-Goo (petty thief, murders only if necessary). These three Korean exiles duke it out in a Chinese desert and, if this all sounds a little bizarre, it’s because it is. But as the crazy  roller coasts gets more and more out of control, curiosity overwhelms, and it’s impossible not to  sit out the ride.

A map is unearthed that shows the exact spot where a cask of treasure is buried. The myth surrounding it is so fabled, the treasure is coveted by the highest (the Japanese army) to the lowest (the Asian desert bandits), with our three heroes sandwiched somewhere in between. Rumors of the treasure spread like Chinese whispers and, as dreams of opulence grow, a frantic blood lust fills the air. The journey to seek out the prize stretches across the vast desert until, finally, the dust settles over our three heroes and they find themselves face to face, with the treasure lying beneath their very feet.

The director/writer states that this is a story about three men who engage in a chase across Manchuria and, basically, that’s what it is, but unfortunately the story is filled with so many other warring factions that at times it becomes confusing and, if you don’t know who’s axing who to pieces, who are you supposed to cheer for? With so much  going on, we hardly get to know Do-Won and learn little more about Chang-yi, who, psychotic tendencies aside, could be a fun guy to hang out with. He has hair like Prince, always wears a smart three-piece pin-stripe and turns down the offer of a free ride because, “Bandits don’t use tickets to get on trains, they stop them“. How cool is that? The only person we get to know is Tae-Goo, which makes it appear that it’s his story, but this is not the writer’s intent.

The final battle scenes are beautifully depicted and, although there is great momentum, all the extras present a problem of their own and when they disappear in seconds so that our three heroes can be alone. The silence becomes deafening. The filmmakers make a feeble attempt to justify their sudden absence, which doesn’t work and, as the payoff has a couple of great twists, there is an even bigger question why a more succinct story was not told.  But there are plenty of funny moments, as long as you can take your humor wrapped in blood and gore, and it’s really worth taking a trip with Harry, Psycho Chang and  the guy they call That Weirdo.


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