Bring on the Asian Spaghetti Westerns

The Good the Bad the Weird - Kim Ji-woon
The Good, The Bad, The Weird

Back in 2000, Thai director Wisit Sasanatieng released Tears of the Black Tiger, an incredibly lavish and visually fascinating film that blended aspects of musicals, cult films, and spaghetti westerns. Who knew he’d be starting a trend of sorts.

Last year, cult filmmaker extraordinaire Takashi Miike released Sukiyaki Western Django, a remake of the classic Italian western Django with aspects of Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars mixed in that found the entire Japanese cast doing their lines in English alongside co-star Quentin Tarantino (yes, that Quentin Tarantino). The film’s played at various festivals, including last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, and of course, the Twitch crew was there and reviewed it. And if you don’t believe my earlier description of the film, just see for yourself: watch the trailer.

And now, South Korea has joined the sepia-toned the fray. Kim Ji-Woon — who previously directed A Tale of Two Sisters and A Bittersweet Life — has just released his latest film, The Good, The Bad, The Weird. The film — which happens to be South Korea’s biggest budget movie ever — stars Lee Byeong-heon, Jeong Woo-seong, and Song Kang-ho, and is set in 1930s Manchuria. Three bandits get a treasure map, but their attempts to find the treasure get derailed by Chinese, Russian and Korean bandits, the Japanese army, and Korean freedom fighters.

Twitch has posted the film’s trailer, and the film looks absolutely awesome. The film looks fantastic, and I am powerless to do anything other than totally dig Kim’s highly stylized genre mish-mash.

The Good, The Bad, The Weird played at Cannes, where it received a very positive impression. And now it’ll be playing at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival as a ​“Gala” presentation.