Monday, April 19, 2010
THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD opens: Spaghetti Western with a twist
ing treats, and we hear the dulcet call, "Candy! Rice cakes! Independence for Korea!"
Yup: We're long past Kansas, and so much farther west of California that we're east.
THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD (yes, it is definitely meant to remind you of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) has already begun with a scene in which a sleek, handsome but slightly scary young Asian man has been given an assignment from an older, powerful and probably lethal fellow that involves the delivery of a valuable map. Then we see a scene of hawks and vultures stealing carnage and suddenly all hell breaks loose, as bandits and bad guys of every sort seem intent on steal-
ing that map -- which you immediately suspect to be a McGuffin. You'll be right.
Eastwood-Van Cleef-Wallach team from that earlier film: Jung Woo-sung (from The Warrior, as the Good, shown two photos above), Lee Byung-hun (from Joint Security Area and 3 Extremes, as the Bad, shown on poster at top) and Song Kang-ho (from Memories of Murder and The Host, as the Weird, shown above).
Kim Jee-Woon's movie is a one of those art-house/film buff crowd-pleasers that nearly everyone can enjoy. Mr. Kim (shown at left), who has ear-
lier given us the much-praised Tale of Two Sisters and A Bittersweet Life, is clearly intent on trying out all sorts of genres, and doing each to a fare-thee-well. As much as I love Korean films, I have noticed that they do tend to go on (and on). Koreans, I guess, expect their money's worth, and this movie, at a two-hour-and-ten-minute length, certainly gives it.
IFC Center and is also available On-Demand. If you're not in NYC, click here to determine how to get it -- though in truth, the big screen is the way to watch this one.