Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
This week was supposed to be Bad Kids Go to Hell, a movie whose irreverent red band trailer had me sold long before I ever pressed play. Then my man Kentucky Jay had to go and ask me about it in the comments to last week’s post, forcing me to punt. CUZ THEM’S THE RULZ, BOY.
Happily The Good, the Bad, the Weird (Netflix, Youtube) was not a bad fallback. I saw The Good, the Bad and the Ugly a long time ago when I was was working my way through Eastwood’s canon. They all kinda run together in my head, but I’m fairly confident The Good, the Bad, the Weird is not merely a Korean retelling of the classic spaghetti western, though it obviously draws heavily from it. The plot is totally straightforward – various groups chase a treasure map while shooting at each other – but there’s a wickedly complex backdrop at work that gives the whole thing an almost academic flavor. I don’t know much about Manchuria (except its penchant for producing excellent candidates), so a lot of the historical setting was lost on me. But I assume it’s very interesting to those who are, you know, interested in that stuff. (Ignorance isn’t necessarily bliss, but it’s so very, very easy.)
Aside from epic shootouts and an exhausting 15-minute chase scene, this movie’s main selling point is a fucking monster cast. If you’ve seen any Korean films at all you’ve probably seen at least one of the main characters of The Good, the Bad, the Weird. Unsurprisingly the standouts are Kang-ho Son (Thirst, The Host) and Byung-hun Lee (I Saw the Devil). It would take too long to confirm so I’ll just completely talk out of my ass and say this is the first movie those two have ever done together. BELIEVE IT. Also, each happens to be cast very much against type, which is way cool. Let’s hope it’s not the last time the collaborate. Better, Worse, Weirder, anyone?
Added bonus: I didn’t hear any vocals so I guess it’s more of a score than a soundtrack. Whatever it you call it, the music is awesome. It’s poppy and fun, adding just the right mix of excitement and irony to scenes of wanton death and destruction.