The Good, The Bad, The Weird (2008) – [rate 3.5]
The opening sequence for this Asian Western (Eastern?) is really strong and worth seeing even if you don’t have time to see the whole thing. From there on, a really good western unfolds with lots of familiar spaghetti western material, with Asian-style fighting, weapons and motorcycles added in for good measure. The characters fit the style and no excuse for a fight feels forced, though obviously there’s a lot of fighting all the same.
The only real downside to the movie is the illogical sequence of events leading up to the ending. The ending scene itself is actually pretty good, but the first few minutes of it leave you wondering what just happened and why it isn’t happening anymore.
The violence is a bit more graphic than you might expect from a western, but then most of the ones you know were shot in or before the 80’s, so I guess that’s just a sign of the times. The addition of all the Manchurian attributes to the typical western fare works really well. Watching gunfights interspersed with martial arts, watching horses chase motorcycles and vice versa and having both steam trains and jeeps with mortars in the mix never really breaks immersion and makes for a nice spectacle.
A bit too long perhaps and with a bit too much repetition as a result, but overall recommended for whoever likes westerns. Maybe even more so because this genre really belongs in Asia to begin with (think Seven Samurai).