Theme Depth: ★★★
Uniqueness of Plot: ★★★1/2
Technical Elements: ★★★★
Drama / Angst
Somewhere in the heart of Northern China lies a mysterious treasure, marked only by an ancient map leading the way. In the middle of a run-of-the-mill stick-up, Weird locates the map and escapes with it into the back alleys and deserted roads. Following closely on his heels is "The Bad," who holds some mysterious grudge against the Weird and who wouldn't mind getting a slice of the treasure himself. Following closely on The Bad's heels is "The Good" who also holds some mysterious grudge against The Bad and who is hired by the Korean Independence Movement to claim a slice of the treasure as a bonus. Following closely on all of their heels are about 3 different warlord gangs, the Japanese military, and the Korean Independence Movement. All together, they embark on a dangerous, blood-thirsty, race through the desert in search of this long forgotten goldmine and perhaps a good dose of revenge.
I have to admit, I'm going to give this one a "Meh." It wasn't exactly bad, but it wasn't real great either. Bonus points for the hottness value of Lee Byung-hun and Jung Woo-Sung, and I admit I'd probably watch the film just to see Lee Byung-hun, because he's simply gorgeous. More bonus points because the cast did a fairly good job in their roles and the technical elements weren't too badly done. All in all, it was a fairly well made little adventure story, full of angst and comedy in a "holy heck! what just happened" kind of way.
I loved the cowboy feel to the show; the characters were dressed like wild, wild west characters, and the shootouts were classing western-style. It's kind of like Korea's take on an old comedy/angsty western. I also liked how the character were related, and it had some great comedic moments. The great chase was pretty funny, and the Good and Weird pulled off some touching moments.
Honestly, most of my problem was the plotline flaws. For one thing, the violence and gore was a little more pronounced than I tend to prefer. I'm not terribly fond of that much torture and gratuitous evilness. Let's just say the Bad is really, really, really BAD. It's actually a bit more gruesome than I've come to expect from Korean works, and I've watched A LOT of mysteries and crime shows.
Then there were all the plot holes. Korean dramas have a tendency to just drop storylines without explanation, and this movie had a bunch of them. What happened to Weird's friend? Why did he do what he did to the Bad guy? Did he change his personality? What was that story?!? Why does the Good hold such a grudge? Why don't they understand the treasure when they find it? Why is the Bad so Bad? Was he always that Bad? How did he meet his boss/father figure? What happened to the treasure? Who survived? What happened to the military? Did they help the Independence movement? It was all just a giant confusing mess, especially towards the end.
There also were a bunch of little annoyances to me, for example the inability of the bad guys to shoot anyone. I mean, most shows have bad guys with horrible aim, but considering the number of bad guys firing at the same person, this was just annoying.
I'll give them one thing, the ending as pretty much a complete shock. So not what I was expecting! Overall, I'd say the plotline was weak, the film was well made, and the actors are pretty good. Would I recommend it to you? - Meh. It's not going to be an epic, but it's good if you have some guys around who don't want sappy romance. Personally, the only thing it had going for me was the hotness factor and a few random bursts of comedy.
After the first episode, it isn't looking too good for this drama and me. While the leading male is pretty adorable, the woman is driving me absolutely up a tree. It's been a pretty long while since I hated a lead character this much. "Witch" doesn't cover it; she's the kind of woman that I would personally like to (W)itch slap upside the head once or twice to make a point. She has: (1) stolen a child's bicycle, (2) ruined a charity event, (3) been sharp and generally witchy to her co-workers, (4) refused to apologize or see her wrongdoing, and (5) completely ruined a dream event for orphaned students and deliberately destroyed their belief in Santa. All in the first episode ~ I kind of understand why her co-workers have it out for her so badly. And the little "I'm so lonely, I could die because a guy *** years ago broke up with me right before the wedding" scene leave MUCH to be desired. In fact "Get Over It" comes to mind. Yep, not feeling the pity for her; someone needs to take her down.
That said, revenge dramas aren't really my thing, especially when it involves the humiliation or devastation of someone. And that is what her co-workers appear to be setting her up for ~ total public meltdown. I just don't find that funny; it seems more tragic or sad. What a depressing life and what a horrible fall! While I want her to be taken down a peg, I don't particularly want to watch it happen.
This drama and I just aren't meshing right now; I don't like anyone here except the male lead, and he's barely appeared. Plus, I'm not rooting for the "witch" to have romance; right now she doesn't deserve it. I don't want her to carry on in her pride, but I don't want to watch her fall. Yep, everything is pretty much set on "don't". Unless it pulls in a desire for the "I do," this drama is getting skimmed.
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