This really was one of the most entertaining movies I have seen in a long while and it's definitely one of the most entertaining movies to have been released the last couple of years.

Thing that makes this movie foremost such an entertaining one is its action and characters. The movie is filled with lots of characters, all trying to get their hands on a treasure map, in 1940's China. Everyone in the movie is basically one big stereotype, which does really add to the movie its entertainment value. It actually made me think this movie would perhaps had been based off some kind of anime or comic book, which isn't the case though.

It all really doesn't sound all too logical; A South Korean western, set in China during the 1940's. But the movie really does play out well as a western. It's definitely a more modern western but not without its occasional nod toward the old fashioned spaghetti western. It's not really being a spoof though, even though its title might suggest otherwise. It's still a comedy and it makes some references to other movies, most notably "Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo" of course but it doesn't make fun of it.

But in all honesty you could compare this movie to a lot of other movies, next to the obvious "Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo". The movie is also really Indiana Jones like with its adventure and action aspects but also "Three Kings" like with its story. This movie has a lot of different movie elements in it, which all work out really well and perfectly entertaining together.

This movie also once more shows that South Korea is truly an upcoming country in the movie industry. Not only do they have the right talents at the moment but also really the money to put in their movies, which increases their production values, like was the case with this movie. At the time it also was the most expensive South Korean movie ever made and it most likely still is so.

Its money can really be seen back in this movie. The action is simply fantastic and the movie is filled not only with shoot outs but also long extensive chases, featuring many different persons, guns, swords, knives, explosives, horses, cars and motorcycles. The movie has a great and spectacular opening, as well one of the best big, long chases you have ever seen, toward the end of the movie. In between there are also plenty of more spectacular moments, that ensure that this movie is at all time on the move and entertaining to watch, even when not a lot is happening story-wise.

It's all really well directed by Jee-woon Kim, especially all of its action. He's definitely a big talent, who right now is working on his first Hollywood production "The Last Stand". Perhaps a bit too early to say but he can definitely become the next John Woo. Another Asian director who's style influenced others, in Hollywood as well and became a successful Hollywood director himself later on, with some big action hits.

The movie is not just looking great and spectacular with its action but also really with all of its other visuals. I liked the time period the movie got set in and all of its settings, that made the movie feel like a western but at the same time also made it obvious that this is a movie set in Asia. All of the countryside is perfect looking for this movie and it all got brought to the screen really well by the cinematographers Mo-gae Lee and Seung-Chul Oh.

All of the actors also seemed to have the right sort of attitude and looks for the roles they played. It's definitely a well cast movie and all of the performances really seemed great and 'right', though it's of course always hard to tell for a movie in a foreign language, that you don't speak yourself.

Can't believe this movie isn't known better yet, globally. Truly one of the most entertaining movies to have come out in the last couple of years.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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