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Category:    Home > Reviews > Western > Spaghetti Western > Korea > The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008/IFC/MPI Blu-ray)

The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008/IFC/MPI Blu-ray)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Film: C+



Trying to imitate the Spaghetti Western is usually a bad idea and doing so visually is a recent phenomenon after its original era ended in the early 1980s.  Following Robert Rodriguez and Sam Raimi, this new cycle has been only good visually if that and has really done nothing new in the Western genre, no matter what new ideas or items outside of that cycle have been added.  Kim Ji-woo is known for his Horror genre films A Tale Of Two Sisters and The Uninvited, so what would he do with the genre in The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008)?


Well, he has certainly made an ambitious project, an expensive one and the idea of Korean robbers being chased by Chinese robbers and the Japanese Army in 1930s Manchuria (making that Army the Imperialist pre-WWII kind) has its potential, but the screenplay (co-written by the director) becomes more about is visual style than about actually telling a story.  The actors are good in their roles and the money is on the screen, but it is everything we have seen before and if anything, it is the opposite of the best Spaghetti Westerns in that the costumes are too well-made and set-ups too clean.


This is the 130 minutes-long version and not the reportedly 139 minutes long Korean version, but that cannot save what is wrong with this now and it simply cannot compete with the original Django (1966, reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) let alone the Leone classic its title references.  Diehard fans may like it, but even Takashi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django (2007, also reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) looked dirtier and though I was not fan of that film either, it was closer to the original sources of inspiration.  Now you can see for yourself.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image is shot in digital High Definition video and to the credit of all, the color is better and richer than most such shoots to date, but too often, you can see a lack of detail or noise from the HD shoot that would not be there if this were shot on film.  Lee Mo-gae (who lensed A Tale Of Two Sisters) and Oh Seung-Chul handled the cinematography.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 Korean mix is the only option, with surprisingly no lossless mix, but I liked the sound design and wonder if a lossless 5.1 mix would have worked better.


Extras include two Making Of pieces, Theatrical Trailer, Behind The Scenes piece, Cannes Highlight Reel and interviews with the Director and three leads.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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