Western movies (as in horses, guns, and whores… not just white folks speaking English, blowing shit up, and/or having relationship issues) are a peculiarly American film genre. There’s no good reason for that as far as I can tell other than the fact that we seem to have dominated it early. But surely other countries have periods in their history where good dudes and bad dudes settled disputes with six-shooters, where trains were more likely to be robbed than to arrive on-time, and where real men rode both their horses and their women bareback. The Italians made a string of pasta westerns, Clint Eastwood’s being the most well known, but even they took place in America’s wild west… Australia has The Proposition and Quigley Down Under… and that’s all I can think of. I’ve got to be missing some other international westerns, so if you know of some feel free to share in the comments below.
Asian filmmakers appear to have noticed this glaring omission in their native cinema as well. Two upcoming films, one from Japan and one from South Korea, look to rectify that by being unabashed westerns filled with all the genre trappings mentioned above… but with an Asian style and sensibility all their own. Check out the trailers below and let us know what you think.
Takashi Miike’s Sukiyaki Western Django
Sukiyaki Western Django is Miike’s first English language film, and aside from the excretable acting of Quentin Tarantino, this looks to be pretty cool. Miike (pronounced ‘MEE-KAY’, as Cole Abaius is happy to tell you without a hint of pompous-assity) can be wildly uneven with his films. From the highs of Ichi the Killer, Visitor Q, and Happiness of the Katakuris to the abysmal lows of MPD Psycho and The Great Yokai War.
Ji-woon Kim’s The Good The Bad and The Weird
The Good The Bad and The Weird is Kim’s fifth film, and so far he’s proved quite adept at several genres. He’s mastered the quirky family black comedy with The Quiet Family (remade into Miike’s incredible Happiness of the Katakuris), gangster action with A Bittersweet Life, and creepy horror with A Tale of Two Sisters… so why not a western?
Which of these two Asian westerns are you more excited to see? Give us your vote in the comment area below…