Madcap Asian action is rampant in this aptly titled film. From it’s eclectic style, utilizing Sergio Leone nods and weaving them into a much funnier anime that happens to be filmed live rather than animated to the relentless energy that keeps it moving, the Good the Bad and the Weird is just what it promises.
The Good: So much of the movie is great and whether it’s the cast or the very warm and radiant glow of the cinematography, the movie demonstrates the highest quality in it’s visual experiences. The action is fun and the violence is pretty sweet. All of the characters have their visual style that clearly identifies them and the bizarre costume ideas that are put together are larger than life, again saturating the visuals with comic book sensibilities. One of the main concepts taken from Leone’s The Good The Bad and The Ugly is the structure of our three main characters. The best of the three is “the bad” who seemingly revels in his darkness like a sinister Lee Van Cleef character.
The Bad: Despite it’s colors and it’s flash bang start, we have some trouble identifying with the main character as he tries to protect his stolen treasure map until he can dig it up for himself. Asian audiences might be used to the bipolar tone changes as their hero goes from bad ass gunslinger to goofy comic front man, but American audiences might find this harder to swallow. Also it would have been nice to get a little Indiana Jones pre-adventure for him. Much like the beginning of Raiders when we can see him in action so we know what our hero is capable of or the beginning or Crusade when we get to see how got the scar on his chin or hat or whip. Instead, we get a very interesting character but no window into why we care about him other than his being silly or bad ass depending on what scene you’re watching. Much like another “Eastern Western”; Sukiyaki Western Jango, suffers from being lost in it’s own world. With no sense of time or real location, threats are harder to take seriously because of how unrealistic the environment seems to be. Sergio Leone got away with the unrealistic nature of his western environments because he made them even harder looking and dirtier.
The Weird: Honestly, the entire freaking movie is weird! Come on! A Korean, eastern western, heavily influenced by Sergio Leone but taking place in it’s own world with it’s own rules and the comedic style of manga and anime with the kind of action you’d expect from John Woo? But that’s what makes it good!