Dug the shit out of this, which I guess isn't surprising, as I'm a huge fan of both Westerns and horrors, although there's less of the latter than I was expecting....the final third does deliver some serious gore (that one death in particular, jeez), but for the most part it's a fairly straightforward Western, and quite an ambling one at that. I ain't complaining though....Zahler writes some killer dialogue, and the cast is great (loved Richard Jenkins in the Walter Brennan-type role), so I found the journey just as satisfying as the gnarly destination. An impressive debut for sure.
I'd somehow never even heard of Johnnie To until a few months ago, but he seems to be kind of a big deal, and based on this I can see why....this is some damn good Hong Kong crime cinema, a complex undercover operation that stays tense and gripping right up until its brutal pulse-pounding climax. Took me a little while to fully get to grips with all the details etc, but once I did I was bloody loving it. I'm pumped to check out more of To's stuff, looks like he's got quite a few bangers waiting for me.
The first half had me worried that this wasn't quite gonna live up to the potential of the great Lee Marvin and the even greater Toshiro Mifune stranded on an island together....but once they started working together in the second half, I was suddenly totally loving it. Both such awesome actors that they can carry a film completely by themselves, and without even speaking the same language....it's just a treat to see them share the screen, plus it's really beautifully shot too. Shame about the hilariously shitty re-edited ending, but apparently the original one is still out there.