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Stars: Song Kang-Ho, Lee Byung-Hun, Jung Woo-Sung, Lee Cheong-A, Kim Kwang-Il, Jo Kyeong-Hun

Director: Kim Jee-Woon

A South Korean Western set in Manchuria! It's the early 1930s (black mark to the music supervisors for including Glenn Miller music from the 1940s) and, with Korea subjugated by the Japanese, three outcast Koreans are thrown into a desert adventure involving a chase after a treasure map.

There's an assassin (and his gang), a chubby train robber and a lean bounty hunter in the Eastwood tradition. The robber has the map, and the killer, the bounty hunter and a brigade of the Japanese army are out to get it off him.

Cue multiple gundowns and shootouts with the principal trio always (like James Bond) given the chance to turn the tables on adversaries who should finish them off at once.

The Manchurian locations are superbly wide and wild and, just when you're beginning to tire of it, all hell breaks loose in a thundering finale as, on horseback, jeep and motor-bike, all four factions duke it out Mad Max-style, followed rather unfortunately by a somewhat anti-climactic and very derivative three-way shoot-out alongside the 'treasure'.

David Quinlan

South Korea 2008. UK Distributor: Icon. Colour by DTI.
130 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 04 Feb 2009