Blu-Ray Review: Stylish, Fascinating ‘The Good, The Bad, The Weird’

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CHICAGO – Our film critic Matt Fagerholm may have felt that “The Good, The Bad, The Weird” valued style over substance to a fault (read his review) but this critic still holds it as one of the best films of the year; a joyful cavalcade of modern action and spaghetti western archetypes that’s unlike anything else released in 2010. Don’t miss this excellent movie now that it’s on Blu-ray.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

South Korea is one of the most vibrant centers of filmmaking in the world right now with Bong Joon-ho (“Mother,” “The Host”), Park Chan-wook (“Thirst,” “Oldboy”) and Kim Ji-Woon (“A Tale of Two Sisters”) leading the way. Kim’s newest film, “The Good, The Bad, The Weird” is a thrill ride that obviously uses Sergio Leone’s “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” as a starting point but jumps from there to some very not-so-obvious places. It’s a post-modern foreign take on a typically American genre filtered through what was already a foreign take on an American genre in the spaghetti western. But you don’t need to have ever seen a minute of the films starring “The Man With No Name” to enjoy Kim’s incredibly accomplished action/adventure, one of the best films of the year to date.

The Good, The Bad, The Weird will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 17th, 2010
The Good, The Bad, The Weird will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 17th, 2010
Photo credit: MPI

The three title characters are introduced with an amazing train robbery sequence that would stand as the climax of most major films but is merely the opening act of this action extravaganza. The final car of the crowded train holds a document that is not just your typical treasure map but something desired by criminals and governments around the world.

The Good, The Bad, The Weird will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 17th, 2010
The Good, The Bad, The Weird will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on August 17th, 2010
Photo credit: MPI

The first man to the map is arguably the lead of the film — “The Weird,” a rotund bandit named Tae-goo (the great Song Kang-ho, last seen in “Thirst”). He’s quickly followed by the super-cool, dressed-in-black “The Bad,” a notorious killer named Chang-yi (Lee Byung-hun) and “The Good,” a noble bounty hunter named Do-won (Jung Woo-sung).

From the very beginning, Kim is playing with classic western imagery, dressing Chang-yi in black and Do-won in a classic brown duster with a matching hat. The rest of the film is basically an extended chase sequence with the map changing hands until everyone ends up in a truly jaw-dropping desert chase sequence across the Japanese-occupied land between China and Korea circa 1930. The plot merely an excuse for Kim’s breathtaking ability with action choreography. Whether it’s Do-won swinging over a shanty town with one hand on a rope and the other on his shotgun or the aforementioned desert chase sequence involving horses, cars, motorcycles, cannons, and what looks like an entire army, “The Good, The Bad, The Weird” never ceases to entertain. Don’t miss it.

The Blu-ray release of “The Good, The Bad, The Weird” features a few interesting special features but they’re all shockingly brief, most running under five minutes. As for the transfer, it’s good but not great. Hopefully, history will be as kind to this film as I expect it to be and we’ll get a special edition a few years down the dusty road.

Special Features:
o Theatrical Trailer
o Behind the Scenes
o Cannes Highlight Reel
o Making Of #1
o Making Of #2
o Interviews with: Actors Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, Jung Woo-sung, and Director Kim Jee-woon

“The Good, The Bad, The Weird” stars Song Kang-ho, Lee Byung-hun, and Jung Woo-sung. It was written by Kim Ji-woon & Kim Min-suk and directed by Kim Ji-woon. It is rated R and runs 139 minutes. It will be released on Blu-ray on August 17th, 2010.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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