Being a huge fan of the ‘man with no name’ trilogy (Eastwood & Leone) I was interested to see what the Far East could do with the western theme. Think of it as part spaghetti western, part live-action anime. No bad thing really!
The movie starts with The Weird being given a map and being told to deliver it. We then see The Good being asked to get the map (unbeknown to The Weird) and later The Bad enters the fray, also looking for this mystical map. The map, you see, is a treasure map to riches beyond their wildest dreams, or that’s what they assume.
Next we see a bird of prey following an old fashioned steam train. The cinematography here is stunning. Beautiful colours, gorgeous scenery and the camera flying from side to side (of the train) almost as if following the bird.
Then all hell breaks loose. The Weird is rubbing people on the train, The Bad is trying to stop the train, and The Good is on the train trying to get the bounty on The Bad. All this while people are running around like ants fleeing for their lives. Oh, and there’s some good out-of-shot ‘gore’. An oxymoron, but it’s what you don’t see that makes you go: ‘ooh! I bet that hurt!’
I also love the way in which the non-US film makers move the camera around. Things like people being thrown violently through something means the camera will shake. In one scene there’s a huge explosion and the camera actually jerks back violently in time with the explosion, making it seem as though the explosion moved it. A very nice touch. The music is also awesome. Very Morricone, but with a touch of the Orient, but modern too.
As The Good and The Weird team up to find the treasure, the Chinese army now want the map too! The last half hour of the movie is spent in the desert with the bandits, The Bad and the army chasing The Weird, with The Good trying to catch up with The Weird. Needless to say, the army bring in the big guns (quite literally!) for explosions aplenty.
The end is a blatant homage to The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, but a nice twist none-the-less. Weighing in at over two hours, it’s a long film, but well worth it. If he was here, I reckon Leone would give it his approval.