Saturday, August 15, 2009

K-movie Recommendations, Part Two

So by now, hopefully, you've seen The Host. If you haven't, queue that up on the Netflix list because it's a really good movie.

While East Asian cinema has a reputation for being rather bizarre and gruesome, there's still plenty that's pretty tame and mainstream, with plenty of nods to Western culture. For example, Kim Ji-woon's The Good, The Bad, The Weird. Yes, that is a nod to Sergio Leone's classic Western, which Kim Ji-woon has obviously seen. And The Good, The Bad, The Weird is indeed a Western...set in 1930s Manchuria. Bonus points for using music from the Kill Bill soundtrack.

Song Kang-ho, the father in The Host, plays "the Weird," Yoon Tae-gu, who steals a treasure map from a Japanese official. The Good, Park Do-won, is after the map for a Korean nationalist group (remember, in the 1930s, Korea was still an unhappy colony of Japan), while the Bad, Park Chang-yi is after it for a mob boss. (The actor who plays Park Chang-yi plays Storm Shadow in the new G.I. Joe movie, actually. Never mind that Storm Shadow is Japanese.) It's a solid action flick with a sense of humor and a tight story. No weird, gruesome violence, just good old-fashioned gun-slinging. It came out in 2008, so it should be in the states by now, though it will take a bit of looking.

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