“What? I’m only worth a piano?” A cheerful bandit, Yoon Tae-goo, (The Weird as played by Song Kang-ho) is dismayed to hear that, even after pulling off a daring train robbery, the bounty on his head is only 300 won.
But ha-ha-ha. The Weird expects to get the last laugh because instead of money or jewels he escaped from that bloody shootout with an ancient treasure map. What is the treasure? Nobody knows!
A big ho-ho-ho, all the other characters in this sprawling shoot-’em-up chortle. They already knew about the map and now are chasing and trying to kill the Weird as he leads them to the treasure.
It’s a thin premise for a two-hour movie, but South Korean director Kim Jee-woon rakes the spurs to the weary genre of the Spaghetti Western and gallops through one dazzling, confusing shootout after another. Who are all these bandits and gangs? Who cares!
The camera work is spectacular, with extended action and comic flourishes. During one fight in a market, Tae-goo dons a deep-sea diving helmet and staggers around under its weight, shooting at bad guys as their bullets clang and ding and spark harmlessly.
The highlight is a thundering chase with 100 horses, motorcycles and Jeeps … that goes on a bit too long. The entire movie is much like that: It doesn’t make any sense, but it sure is fun to watch as Jee-woon’s restless camera swoops all over the place.
The Good, bounty hunter Park do-won (Jung Woo-sun), is a long, lean cowboy with a big, honking shotgun. The Bad, Park Chang-yi (Lee Byung-hun), is a stylish killer with multiple ear piercings and hair from an anime cartoon.
The nine extra features are a mixed lot. The behind-the-scenes featurette lacks narration, but it does show how scenes were filmed. Two “making of” clips mostly involve actors pimping the film. Also included are four brief interviews with the main actors and director, a Cannes highlight reel and the trailer. (Rated R)