TMG Scale 3.0 . . .and being generous
Starring Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, Dong-gun Jang
First off, bummer of a name there Dong. I am sure grade school was very tough on you. I kept thinking of Johnny Cash singing “Life Ain’t Easy for a Boy Named Sue.” Dong, you have the looks and acting talent. Didn’t your agent tell you you can change your name in Hollywood? I would really give another name a try. And dude, hyphenating it with “gun” only makes it worse.
What do you get when you take a terrible script, throw in a hot babe, and quiet Asian swashbuckler, a cute baby and a Black dwarf? Nothing. This movie proves it. I think they were trying to remake High Plains Drifter (1973) by crossing it with televisions’s Kung Fu and the very bloody, Kill Bill (2003).
I really could not decide which was worse—the bad writing or he bad cinematography? No excuse for the bad writing, but I was wondering if the overly fake scenery was intentional. I have seen directors use a surreal technique in some films—most recently in Sherlock Holmes (2009). Sometimes, the use of almost animated scenery sets a sort of mystical mood. But I have not seen such bad backdrops since the 1950’s in film. If you want to see a great film but one with the worst backdrops and fake scenery ever, watch Robert Mitchum in Thunder Road (1958). At some point, you just start laughing.
TMG cannot give you the plot here because there really is none. Try “Asian guy swordsman converts to old west town laundryman and then rises to save the town babe from bad guys who killed her family.” Nothing in this movie fits together or makes sense. Mixing in overly gratuitous head lopping and blood along with an adorable baby still make you leaning toward the exit before the credits rise. The only thing keeping this from a 1.0 on the TMG scale are a few good laughs and, “8 ball” played by Tony Cox. The Director was cheaply going for the same effect as the late Billy Curtis had in High Plains Drifter, but you need a good movie to make it work. Cox is truly talented and funny and his talent was wasted here.
Skip this film and spend a bad Saturday on the Santa Monica Pier. The setting pretty much looks the same, with just some sand and old west boardwalks thrown in. You might even find the characters about the same.