Plot: Set in the 1930s where guns and knives were rampant on a train, a miniature version of the kaleidoscopic and lawless Manchurian desert with various different ethnic groups entangled, three Korean men struggling through the turbulent times encounter each other by fate.
Do-won (JUNG Woo-sung) is a hunter who hunts anything for money including criminals with rewards on their heads. Chang-yi (LEE Byung-hun) is the leader of a group of bandits. He cannot stand to be second best. Tae-goo (SONG Kang-ho) is a self-commando train robber with nine lives.
The three strangers start off on a chase across the continent to take possession of the strange map Tae-goo discovers while robbing the train.
With different speculations on a mysterious map, the Japanese army and bandits also end up joining in the chase. In the midst of a great, unpredictable, mixed-up battle, who will stand in the end as the winner?
The Good, the Bad, the Weird is the biggest-budget Korean film ever made and its opening box office was ranked third all time, behind D-Wars and The Host.
It took more than two years to produce with a reported budget of $17 million.
Location shooting is done in the Gobi Desert (China).
Premiere took place on Cannes Film Festival in Out of Competition Programm (May, 2008).
«Chemistry among three of South Korea's most expensive thesps is just fine. Song, evoking Eli Wallach's wily Tuco but with a peasant bluster, motors the movie; Lee, mirroring Lee Van Cleef's icy Angel Eyes but with a Korean psycho-gangster mentality, is also commanding. Least developed of the three, but with a graceful athleticism, is Jeong, with the pure bounty-hunter code of Clint Eastwood's Blondie. Impressively, all three handle the vast majority of their own stunts.»
«Through it all, there are great performances (especially by Song, who delivers a masterfully layered comic turn) and great ideas and greater thrills. Kim, bursting with appreciation for the movies that influenced him, bolstered by a talent to make movies that are all his own, makes his mark as one of the must-watch filmmakers of this generation.»
«All the stock scenes of the oater are here: wide-open plains, train robberies, gun battles, knife fights, opium dens, horse chases and tense Mexican stand-offs - but Jee-woon, a past master at manipulating mood, once again delivers a film of constant tonal surprise, with the moments of extreme sadistic violence offset by ramshackle comedy, and grand action set-pieces sitting alongside calmer character drama.»
«"The Good, The Bad, The Weird" fondly revisits a popular Korean subgenre in the '60s known as "Manchurian Western". ... The meticulous recreation of this period backdrop is one of the film's most fascinating elements. It gives a cultural-historical dimension to the archetypical Western plot of a treasure hunt, tracing the bounty hunters' mercenary behavior to the psychological scars of lost nationhood.»
«“The Good, The Bad, The Weird” offers fun & excitement on a level not found in many recent Korean films. Action fans will simply love the film, while most others will find there own different reasons to love the movie.»
«This Kimchi Spaghetti Western doesn’t taste as good as it looks. It had it’s comedic and stylish moments and the three stars still shine with their magnetic onscreen charisma (in their own respective ways) but it was just too choppy and bumpy ride.»
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