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The Good the Bad the Weird (2008)

Joheunnom nabbeunnom isanghannom (original title)
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The story of two outlaws and a bounty hunter in 1940s Manchuria and their rivalry to possess a treasure map while being pursued by the Japanese army and Chinese bandits.

Director:

Jee-woon Kim (as Kim Jee-woon)

Writers:

Jee-woon Kim (screenplay) (as Kim Jee-woon), Min-suk Kim (screenplay)
10 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kang-ho Song ... Yoon Tae-goo / The Weird
Byung-Hun Lee ... Park Chang-yi / The Bad
Woo-sung Jung ... Park Do-won / The Good
Je-mun Yun ... Byung-choon (as Jae-moon Yoon)
Seung-su Ryu Seung-su Ryu ... Man-gil (as Seung-soo Ryu)
Young-chang Song ... Kim Pan-joo
Byung-ho Son Byung-ho Son ... Seo Jae-sik
Dal-su Oh ... Messenger for Kim Pan-joo (as Dai-soo Oh)
Chung-Ah Lee ... Song-yi
Kwang-il Kim Kwang-il Kim ... Two Blades
Dong-seok Ma ... Bear (as Don Lee)
Kyeong-hun Jo Kyeong-hun Jo ... Doo-chao (as Kyung-hoon Cho)
Hang-soo Lee Hang-soo Lee ... Kanemaru
Hyun Joong Kang Hyun Joong Kang ... Ghost Market Gang Leader
Sung-min Lee ... Chef
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Storyline

A guksu western. Three Korean gunslingers are in Manchuria circa World War II: Do-wan, an upright bounty hunter, Chang-yi, a thin-skinned and ruthless killer, and Tae-goo, a train robber with nine lives. Tae-goo finds a map he's convinced leads to buried treasure; Chang-yi wants it as well for less clear reasons. Do-wan tracks the map knowing it will bring him to Chang-yi, Tae-goo, and reward money. Occupying Japanese forces and their Manchurian collaborators also want the map, as does the Ghost Market Gang who hangs out at a thieves' bazaar. These enemies cross paths frequently and dead bodies pile up. Will anyone find the map's destination and survive to tell the tale? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One map. Three villains. Winner takes all.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for nonstop violence and some drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

South Korea

Language:

English | Korean | Mandarin | Japanese

Release Date:

17 July 2008 (South Korea) See more »

Also Known As:

Dobar, loš, čudan See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$10,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,775, 25 April 2010

Gross USA:

$128,486

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$44,261,209
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | (extended)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital EX

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In studying the map, he says that the Russian words mean it could be the "Maritime Province". In North America "Maritime Province" means the eastern seaboard of Canada. To a Korean it means the Primorsky Krai, the coastal region of Siberia that abuts northern Korea. See more »

Goofs

One of Park Chang-yi's gang uses an incorrectly identified British Sten gun. It's actually a SIG Bergmann 1920 which was imported by the Japanese. See more »

Quotes

[Tae-goo pulls the tight diving helmet off his head]
Yoon Tae-goo: This is awesome, but why is it so heavy?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Be sure to watch the credits, as they show great movie stills as well as behind the scenes movie stills. See more »

Alternate Versions

After the release in Cannes the film got two final versions, a Korean and an international one. The international version is shorter and has better pacing and the music changes slightly in some scenes. The main difference in the Korean version is the ending, which adds a few more scenes after the Mexican standoff giving (some rather vague) explanation for the film's epilogue. See more »

Connections

Features It Happened One Night (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
Composed by Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell and Sol Marcus (uncredited)
Published by Warner/Chappell Music Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
"The Good, the Bad, the Weird"
20 April 2010 | by colinrgeorgeSee all my reviews

Off-kilter Korean neo-western "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," is a frenetic genre mash-up packed with visceral, loopy violence. That isn't a complement so much as it is a description.

Suffice it to say, if you're into a modernist, freewheeling foreign take on Leone's "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly," with cartoony characters and outrageous action, you're going to have a blast; if you're looking for a substantive or meditative reflection on the period or the original film, you're in the wrong line.

Personally, I'm caught between the two perspectives. I appreciate the pure Peckinpah punch of the gunplay, but was in equal parts bored and bewildered by the overall film. Perhaps the principal flaw in writer/director Ji-woon Kim's script is that he indulges in too much of a good thing. His action sequences are a lot of fun, and the über-stylized retro/modern aesthetic delivers bizarre and inventive visuals like a gunslinger in a deep-sea diving helmet.

But the deafening sound effects and quick cutting style wear thin if not appropriately paced, and "The Good, the Bad, the Weird," is almost relentless in its drag race to the final showdown. I'm loathe to draw a comparison to "Transformers" here, but Kim proves that even good action has a threshold, and there are times in his film where it's easy to let your eyes glaze over.

In its more quiet moments, the story, a very loose retelling of "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" follows a band of misfit thieves who come into possession of a treasure map sought by both Chinese thugs and the Japanese military. What's maybe most interesting about the film is seeing the conventions, chronology, and geography of the western customized to fit eastern ideology, and China's Taklimakan desert stands in for Manchuria circa 1940.

The tone is played as loose as the history, however, and Kim is never bogged down by self- seriousness or the oft-stringent requirements of a period piece. "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" is closer to a gleeful "Kill Bill" in tone than South Korea's own operatic, ultraviolent "Oldboy," and benefits from it. Kim easily leapfrogs from hard-hitting shoot-outs to charming comedy, a phenomenon that has everything to do with his incredible cast. Each of the title characters, Park Do-won (Good), Park Chang-yi (Bad), and Yoon Tae-goo (Weird), brings with him a distinct tonal octave that lends the film some much-needed variety. My lone gripe in this department is that it would have been nice to get to know them a little bit better. As it stands, their rifles seem to have far more to say.

And for many, that won't be an issue. I've no question that there exists a very appreciative audience for this film—I'm just not it. Nevertheless, I'm only too happy to report that everything basically works. The cinematography is frequently gorgeous, the performances are stellar, and the action is kinetic—There's just too much of it. By the end of the two-hour engagement, what should be a satisfying, visceral finale comes off as extravagant hoopla.

As viewers we shouldn't be conditioned to expect non-stop action, because once you pass the threshold, there's a diminishing return on adrenaline, impressive as any sequence that follows may be. "The Good, The Bad, The Weird" gets all its forward momentum right, but could benefit from applying the brakes more frequently.

Then again, maybe that reckless pace is what made it such a fast, fun ride to begin with.


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