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The Good, the Bad, the Weird



There's truth in advertising, as the 2008 South Korean epic "The Good, the Bad, the Weird" is exactly that, in roughly equal measure.

Written and directed by Ji-woon Kim ("A Tale of Two Sisters"), the '40s-era Western begins aboard a train, where not one, not two, but three "? count 'em, three "? different factions infiltrate it simultaneously, each attempting to grab hold of a treasure map from a bank president.

It's an extraordinary sequence "? a ballet of blood as six-shooters and rifles are put to good use. So is a well-choreographed gunfight that takes place about midway through, amid a maze of two-bit shacks. Ditto for a third-act chase that involves horses, military jeeps and a motorcycle complete with sidecar.

But in between these elongated, stunt-heavy set pieces are even more elongated scenes of dialogue that finds our title trio forging and breaking alliances, forever leading to the surprise end. In other words, it takes you from breathless to restless, exciting you, then boring you.

After all, the flick is two hours and 10 minutes long. And when it's not dense with story "? as, say, "Inception" "? that's just way too long. Infused with the "Looney Tunes" spirit of Sam Raimi, there are enough minutes on the side of "Good" and "Weird" to recommend a rental, although with its outdoor vistas of blue sky and brown dirt, clearly it's best seen on the big screen. "?Rod Lott


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