Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Move Musings: The Good, The Bad, The Weird

As you can see this movie is an homage to the Sergio Leone movie "The Good The Bad and The Ugly." This movie is a kick in the pants. Jee-Woon Kim is one of South Korea's best directors with an impressive list of films under his belt including "A Tale of Two Sisters," one of the best horror movies to come out in any language in recent years, and "A Bittersweet Life," a beautiful insanely violent gangster revenge movie.

Let's talk about the actors first. Song Kang-Ho plays The Weird (the guy on the right) and is my favorite actor on the planet. There are no American, British or any other actors I like better than him. Other actors have better range and many others, including the two men in the poster above, are better looking but this guy really floats my boat. Fortunately, he's in a lot of Korean films and plays a huge variety of characters. Although he's standing on the right in this poster he gets the most screen time and carries the film. Why is he The Weird? Probably because he's funny.

Lee Byung-Hun is The Bad (standing in the center) and playing the role of a sociopath for the first time. He does a great job with the glazed insane eyes look and creating a feeling of "Oh my God he's here. Something bad is going to happen." Even though he looks a lot like Prince with his emo haircut, eyeliner, and earrings, our brilliant director takes advantage of the fact that Byung-Hun is not only unbelievably good-looking but also has a cat-like elegance about him, a trait both the director and actor used to full advantage in "A Bittersweet Life." Byung-Hun's elegance is highlighted with perfect white shirts, black leather gloves, and magnificent tailoring.

Jung Woo-Sung is The Good (on the left). Though he gets the least screen time he gets to play the deadly accurate hero by swinging above a western town on a rope while shooting bad guys with his shotgun and brazenly riding his horse through the Japanese army while firing away. His "Good" guy is a bounty hunter in it for the money. He looks fantastic in his long coat and laced up boots. He does a great job and I'm finding myself becoming more enamored with each viewing of this movie.

What, you want to know about the story? Uh, there's this map that's found in several languages by The Weird guy and a mad chase ensues because everyone wants it. Trust me when I say the story isn't that important here. What is important is there are fantastic action sequences including an extended Mad Max style chase involving horses, jeeps, canons, and motorcycles with sidecars through the desert. People are shooting each other, canons are firing, there's a lot of dust, and horses are running for their lives. On top of that it looks like Byung-Hun and Woo-Sung are really riding their horses like crazy with one hand and firing their weapons with the other at the same time. It's badASS!

The movie was never released here and isn't available on DVD in this region so if you manage to get a copy play it on your computer.

While it's true that this movie isn't Jee-Woon Kim's best film story-wise it's a good time anyway so what are you complaining about?

Just so it's clear what this post is really about I'm closing out by posting a picture of the three heartthrobs, er actors. From left to right: Jung Woo-Sung, Lee Byung-Hun, and Song Kang-Ho (my FAVORITE). And to think that before I started watching South Korean films I wasn't attracted to Asian guys. Well, that's all changed now.

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