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Film / The Good, the Bad, the Weird

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The Good, the Bad, the Weird is a colorful Korean film that plays homage to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and a self described "Kimchi Western" by Word of God. While the original is an epic Spaghetti Western, the remake is a more fast-paced and less serious action film.

Three Koreans in exile cross paths in 1941 Manchuria during the Japanese occupation. Park Chang-yi, the hitman/bandit leader, is hired to steal a treasure map from a Japanese official, but a train robber, Yoon Tae-goo, beats him to the punch — only to be captured by a Bounty Hunter, Park Do-won. Tae-goo talks Do-won into helping him search for the treasure instead, and they set off through the desert together, with Chang-yi's gang and the Japanese army in pursuit. During the action-filled chase that follows, each of the three turns out to have some hidden motives.


Compare and Contrast with Sukiyaki Western Django.

The Good, the Bad, the Weird provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Pervert: While escaping from Byung-choon and his gang, Tae-goo sneaks into the next hotel room, only to be met with a hooker smacking him with a pillow.
  • Action Survivor: Tae-goo seems to be this; no-one knows what skills he has, they just know that he survives no matter what you throw at him. In several scenes he gets away only because Do-won helps him out. In truth, though, this is Obfuscating Stupidity, and he is in fact a textbook Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass. Subverted in the international cut, played straight in the extended Korean version.
  • Affably Evil: Tae-goo doesn't seem all that bad until you realise that he was once a ruthless serial mutilator.
  • Anachronism Stew: With most of the military hardware. The film is set in 1941; the military trucks and jeeps, being mostly post-WWII models (but still Imperial Army soldiers are the most accurately outfitted to the time period, plus Do-won, Chang-yi and Tae-goo's guns are period accurate).
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  • Anti-Hero: Do-won. It's interesting to note that if one tallies kill counts throughout the film by the three protagonists, Chang-yi (The Bad) is the least murderous of the three while Do-won (The Good) racks up the highest body count. This reflects the on-screen kill count in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Angel Eyes (The Bad), for all of his Offscreen Villainy, has the lowest body count of three, while Blondie (The Good) has the highest body count: 11.
  • Anti-Villain: Chang-yi, surprisingly.
  • Ass Shove: Tae-goo kills two people this way. When the Japanese Army officers find the bodies, they think he's a pervert.
  • Badass Adorable: Tae-goo. Lovable, baby-faced, lethal, deadly Tae-goo.
  • Badass Longcoat: Chang-yi and Do-won — the latter providing the movie's Shout-Out to the iconic standoff in Once Upon a Time in the West.
  • Berserk Button: Chang-yi is driven into a psychopathic rage at the mention of Tae-goo's name, especially if his prowess as a fighter is also mentioned.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Do-won's Horseback Heroism moments as mentioned below. Also, in the Korean cut, Do-won's survival is explained by his sister Song-yi's arrival to help him.
  • Bulletproof Fashion Plate: Come rain, come shine or come gunfights in the desert, Chang-yi's shirt collar remains crisp and white.
  • Camera Abuse: The camera gets sprayed with blood, mud and shrapnel, and even hit by a horse.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Chang-yi delivers a nasty one on Man-gil.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Some of the characters in the movie are wealthy Koreans who work for the Japanese. They all tend to die rather messily.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Tae-goo. Most of the movie seems to be geared towards making us forget his very introduction scene.
    • Man-gil, who seems even more of an idiot than Tae-goo, until we find out that he sold an incorrect copy of the map, and didn't even live to suffer the consequences.
  • Death by Adaptation: Do-won and Tae-goo in the International cut.
  • Destination Defenestration: Man-gil gets thrown out a window by Chang-yi.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Man-gil, who was last scene lying, critically wounded, in Tae-goo's arms.
  • Disproportionate Retribution
  • Distracted by the Sexy: As he's taken through the opium den, Tae-goo is distracted by a couple making out.
  • The Door Slams You: In the inn escape, Tae-goo hits one of Byung-choon's thugs with a door trying to avoid a hooker who thought he was going to assault her.
  • Dope Slap: Tae-goo hits Man-gil with the map in its leather case in an early scene.
  • Downer Ending: In the International cut, at least.
  • The Empire: Of Japan.
  • Evil Costume Switch: A zig-zagging example. As the "Finger-chopper", Tae-goo wore a black Badass Biker outfit instead of the brown clothes he wears during the movie. In The Stinger during the credits, he's shown back in his old gear.
  • Expy: Do-won, Tae-goo and Chang-yi are Expies of Blondie, Tuco and Angel Eyes, respectively. Chang-yi's employee could also count as one of Baker from the same film.
    • This counts for triple in Do-won's case as Blondie is himself an Expy of Sanjuro Kuwabatake, who was himself based on the protagonist of Red Harvest.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Look closely in the salesmen scene at the beginning, you can spot both Do-won taking his seat and Tae-goo's friend Man-gil trying to talk to him.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Chang-yi, a hitman, scoffs at Koreans who are loyal to Japan.
  • Fast-Roping: Do-won during the Ghost Market fight, wielding his rifle with one hand.
  • Fingore: Happened to Chang-yi at the hands of Tae-goo, and Chang-yi nearly does this to Man-gil.
  • Foreshadowing: When Tae-goo meets Granny in the Ghost Market, he tells her, "You'll probably outlive me". In the International cut of the film, she does.
  • Giant Mook: Two actually.
  • Giggling Villain: Tae-goo has a high-pitched laugh.
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: Starts off this way, but progresses into Morality Kitchen Sink by the end of the film.
  • Good Guns, Bad Guns: Only villains and mooks use automatic weapons.
  • Guns Akimbo: Tae-goo.
  • Gun Twirling: Chang-yi does this at several points; most notably before holstering his gun after killing one of his mooks who suggested that Tae-goo might have bested him a duel.
    • Do-won does it with his rifle.
  • Guyliner: Chang-yi has plenty of it.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Chang-yi. Don't look, talk, interact with him in any way; the chances are, he will kill you, for no damn good reason at all.
  • Handicapped Badass: Chang-yi. Missing the left index finger, but he's right-handed, so he can shoot just fine.
  • Handwraps of Awesome: Tae-goo.
  • Hat Damage: Do-won gets a bullet through the brim of his hat during the gun battle with Japanese Army, and Chang-yi shoots Tae-goo's aviator cap off his head just before the final showdown.
  • High-Speed Hijack: During the battle with the Japanese troops, Tae-goo leaps from his motorcycle into a jeep which he immediately commandeers. The soldier who jumps from the jeep to the motorcycle is less lucky, as the bike immediately crashes.
  • Horseback Heroism: Do-won comes charging into the Ghost Market on horseback to save Man-gil from Chang-yi. He later charges into the middle of a Japanese cavalry troop in a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • If I Were a Rich Man: Tae-goo confesses to Do-won what he'd do with the treasure once he finds it: buy land and livestock.
  • I Hate Past Me / But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Tae-goo's past deeds, depending on your interpretation.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: For all three of the protagonists: Do-won dresses like a cowboy, Chang-yi like a pop star, and Tae-goo like a hipster Rummage Sale Reject. And they are all in 1941 Manchuria.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills
  • Improvised Armour: The diving helmet in the Ghost Market scene.
    • In the Korean version, Tae-goo survives the three way shoot out by wearing an oven plate underneath his green vest.
  • Karma Houdini: In the Korean ending, Tae-goo receives no comeuppance for his past deeds as the Finger-chopper and gets away with the bounty on him raised.
  • Kick the Dog
  • Knife Nut: Chang-yi. Tae-goo when he was the Finger-Chopper.
  • Market-Based Title: Known in France as Le Bon, la Brute et le Cinglé (The Good, the Brute and the Lunatic). It's reproduces the French official title of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
    • The Italian title is Il buono, il matto, il cattivo (The Good, the Crazy, the Bad), as a reference to the original film's Italian title, Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo.
  • Mexican Standoff / Showdown at High Noon
  • Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: A solid 8. As well as Do-won mowing people down, there's stabbing in the throat, Japanese spies getting spikes (bloodless and comedically) shoved up their asses, impaling, and a ton of Fingore (thanks to the reveal of Tae-goo's past identity), notably even attempted on Man-gil by Chang-yi.
  • Mood Whiplash
  • Morality Pet: Tae-goo's "Granny". Man-gil, too.
  • Motorcycle on the Coast Road: The movie ends with Tae-goo riding along a road on the edge of a cliff.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Chang-yi gets a Shirtless Scene at one point.
  • Mythology Gag: The whole story around Chang-yi's finger alludes to the fact that Lee Van Cleef had part of a finger missing (which he lost while building a treehouse for his daughter)
  • New Old West: Except it's in the East.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The international trailer plays up the scenes between Do-won and Tae-goo, when in fact they have very few scenes together and team up only briefly.
  • Nice Hat: Do-won; Tae-goo
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Poor Man-gil... he gets slashed multiple times with a knife, thrown out a window, stabbed and has a knife dug into his finger before being dragged through the mud by a horse.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Tae-goo
  • One-Man Army: Do-won. This becomes apparent when he takes on an entire cavalry company of the Japanese Army. By himself. And wins.
  • Opium Den: Tae-goo ends up in one, though he's really only looking for a room to spend the night.
  • Outlaw Town: The Ghost Market.
  • Pet the Dog: Tae-goo's kindness to those children. Do-won's expression of idealistic sentiments might also qualify. He's not a bad guy to begin with, but is more sympathetic after showing he does his work because of a code, not just for the cash.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Tae-goo.
  • Quick Draw
  • Quick Nip
  • The Quiet One: Do-won.
  • Rasputinian Death: All three main characters take about a dozen bullets before going down.
    • We never see Man-gil again after his torture in the Ghost Market, so it's likely that after being slashed, thrown through a window by Chang-yi, stabbed in the leg, had a knife dug into his finger and got dragged through the ground on a horse, this may have happened to him.
  • Re-Cut: The alternative ending found on most of the DVD's is basically just a longer version of the ending which closes some plot elements like what happened to the rest of the Japanese army and gives a clearer explanation for what we see at the end of the theatrical version.
  • Recycled In Space: It's The Good, the Bad and the Ugly WITH KOREANS IN 1941 MANCHURIA!
  • Retired Monster: Tae-goo a.k.a. the Finger-chopper.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Quite a few, mostly centered around Tae-goo:
    • Tae-goo easily picking off the soldiers in the car without knowing how many there are or what they're armed with;
    • Tae-goo being able to hold his own against the massive club-wielding thug in the market, whereas Do-won was overpowered by him almost immediately at the beginning of the film;
    • Chang-yi shooting his henchman for indirectly insulting him by calling Tae-goo a loser.
  • Rule of Cool: The Western.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Man-gil.
  • Satellite Character: Do-won serves nothing more than a foil to Tae-goo.
  • Screaming Woman: A woman on the carriage that Tae-goo robs, and the only one on that carriage he doesn't accidentally kill after Chang-yi pulls the emergency brake. Chang-yi kills her because she's screaming hysterically when he gets there.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: The mob boss that Do-won interrogates at the end of the Korean version.
    • Played for drama with Man-gil as he is being tortured by Chang-yi.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Tae-goo does this to the lock of where he thinks the treasure is but what is really an oil well.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: All three of them, in the international cut.
  • Shout-Out
    • Toward the end of the film, Chang-yi shoots off Tae-goo's hat and keeps shooting it every time Tae-goo tries to retrieve it from the ground. This is quite similar to a scene in For a Few Dollars More where Monco and Colonel Mortimer do this to each other.
    • During the climactic standoff, a panning shot shows Chang-yi and Tae-goo in the distance, with Do-won in the foreground, seen from the back, wearing his longcoat and carrying his Winchester rifle. This mirrors the scene in Once Upon a Time in the West. The music when Byung-choon and his gang arrive at the ocean is reminiscent of Cheyenne's theme.
    • In the alternative ending, it's revealed that Tae-goo pulled the same trick as Joe in A Fistful of Dollars.
    • When Do-won is about to shoot Tae-goo's motorcycle, he whistles in a similar manner to the bounty hunter at the beginning of For a Few Dollars More.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Tae-goo is slipped a mickey by one of the girls in the brothel, so the pimp can steal the map and sell it to the Japanese.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Na-yun is the only prominent female character in the film, and she only appears in the Korean version. Do-won's sister Song-yi is also in the film, though she doesn't have as much to do.
  • Spaghetti Western: The film is indebted to this genre.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The romanizations of the names vary wildly.
  • Stern Chase
  • Super Window Jump: Tae-goo jumps out a window during the inn chase.
    • In the train scene Do-won hurls himself out of a window so he can open fire on a fleeing Tae-goo.
  • Surprisingly Good Foreign Language: Korean, Japanese, and Mandarin is spoken throughout the movie.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Subverted. Chang-yi's boss gets sick of him and holds a gun to him, but goes off on a rant and brags that he can't dodge a bullet. Chang-yi proceeds to drive a knife into the back of the man's neck.
  • Train Job / Traintop Battle: Conflicting attempts to rob a train lead to a traintop battle in the opening of the film.
  • Tranquil Fury: Do-won when he's angry.
  • The Unreveal: After hearing Tae-goo's dream and motivation for pursuing the treasure, Do-Won starts talking about his own dream. But before he can say what it actually is he stops when he realizes Tae-goo fell asleep, and the topic never comes up again.
  • Unorthodox Reload: Do-won cocks his lever-action rifle by flipping it over his fingers during the climax of the film.
  • Villain Protagonist: Tae-goo. Kim and Song went into this film knowing that this was going to be his movie.
  • Warrior Poet
  • What a Drag: Man-gil is dragged through the street on a horse. Later Tae-goo is dragged through the desert by a jeep, but he fares much better.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Granny and Man-gil are never seen again after the Ghost Market, although Man-gil most likely died from his injuries after his brutal beating.
  • White Shirt of Death
  • Why Am I Ticking?: When Tae-goo commandeers a Japanese jeep and throws the driver out, he stuffs a lit stick of dynamite down the back of the driver's pants. The driver has a few seconds to realise something is horribly wrong before he blows up.
    • Later, in the Korean ending, Tae-goo is very slow to realise the stick of dynamite in his hand is close to blowing up. He throws it away, though.
  • Wire Fu
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: The so-called treasure map actually led to an oil well, which is of no value to the protagonists. This kind of seems to evoke The Treasure of the Sierra Madre especially in the version of the film where all three protagonists die needlessly. In other versions, there's a consolation in that Tae-goo and possibly Do-won as well are implied to have left with some of the loot Chang-yi brought with him.


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