Spaghetti westerns are a fine indication of the incestuous nature of the history of cinema. The archetypical American Western is retold with samurai in Japan, while the Italians took the Japanese stylistic inventiveness, added their own flavor, set out to Spain and shot their own version of the Western mythos. Leone’s epic is reclaimed by Asia, this time with the Koreans taking the helm of the genre. While last year’s MM Sukiyaki Django made for a sardonic pastiche of Spaghetti conventions, TGTB&TW treats the source material much more reverently.

The plot is certainly delightfully convoluted, involving Japanese soldiers, bounty hunters, Manchurian guns for hire, and Korean ex-pats trying to eke out a living in the wilds of Southern China. There are pretty women, grizzled men on horseback with oilskin coats and stubble, and sinister villains. There are train robberies, gun battles and kinetic action sequences that would put most Hollywood flicks to shame. By the end, as the threads of the tale coalesce, there’s a massive action/chase sequence that’s like an amped version of the truck chase in Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s a spectacular, ridiculous 25 minute scene where even the horses are exploding in the midst of the action. When the well telegraphed ending comes to pass, the “treasure” finally located, we are left with a further direct homage to Leone’s original as the film calms down to the inevitable tripartite confrontation.

There’s nothing subtle here, but it’s a tale well told, with exceptional sequences that directly nod to the original film without succumbing to parody or ridiculousness. This is “action porn” for any fanboy, with over the top scenes that are still directly tied to the fun, frolicking plot. A heck of a ride, The Good, the Bad and the Weird is a welcome, post-ironic nod to an early school of filmmaking, and provides a great deal of joy and excitement for even the most jaded of action movie fans.