Published Aug 05, 2010There is little purpose in expanding on the titular genre play, denoting the "weird" of The Good, The Bad, The Weird as the anomaly, implying a purposeful irreverence in this hybrid of the Spaghetti Western and '60s Manchurian films. It aims to mock their significance and cultural context or alternatively, render them a modern moot point.
Thankfully, what plays out as an ostensibly defeatist, apathetic and overly protracted race towards the finish is also a highly stylized, unrelentingly fun ride, waging war between three Korean bandits seeking a valuable map in the 1930s Japanese occupied Manchurian Desert. The good (Do-won), the bad (Chang-yi) and the weird (Tae-goo) collide on a train where Tae-goo obtains said map, racing through the desert with the others hot on his heels.
And for two hours, this is all that transpires: shootouts lead to explosions, which lead to battles on horseback, which lead to standoffs and so on. Nary a reference is made to purpose or motivation beyond the obvious fiscal gain, eschewing high-minded morality for perfunctory fatalism, as the three men merely perform their archetypes, making mention only fleetingly of the inanity of the fight.
Discernibly, this implies angst for the memories, calling attention to the seeming death of genres that are more accurately just less idealistic, making the excuse that preoccupation with the bizarre and cartoonish is all that is needed to sustain a narrative. Undoubtedly, the resulting chaos and extensive action provide visceral pleasure, but very little of this comes from implicit tension or connectivity.
It's nearly impossible to give a shit about the fates of men deliberately veiled in indifference, leaving the thrills to come only from the impressive editing and fantastically choreographed action. If the intentions weren't so redundant, these technical skills could have blossomed into something more. But as it stands, this is merely a passing diversion existing only to be cool. (eOne)