There are some weird Westerns that have been (or are soon to be) released lately. And most of them are not "American" Westerns. I'll go chronologically.
First up is The Good The Bad The Weird, a Korean "Kimchi" Western (as opposed to an Italian "Spaghetti" Western) that came out in 2008, but was just released here this year.
This one just came up on Netflix Instant, though I've been trying to rent the Blu-Ray from Netflix for months now. (They weren't kidding about "Very Long Wait." Buy more than 1, would you guys?) I loved it! While it borrows a few elements from its namesake inspiration, such as three characters vying for the same buried treasure, the execution is entirely its own. Kang-ho Song, who plays The Weird, is a very gifted comedic actor, and is really the only one of the three main characters worth watching. The Good and The Bad are fine, but would be boring if they didn't have The Weird on-screen with them. Fortunately, The Weird is the main character, and the entire movie is focused on everyone else hunting him down to retrieve the treasure map.
The action is really well-staged and inventive. I laughed or exclaimed out loud many many times while watching by myself, and it takes something really special to do that. The fights usually involve tons of different characters and range all over the stage. There is very little CG work involved as well, which really heightens the intensity and excitement for each battle. The sound design, too, is unique; the gun-shots sound natural and appropriate. A nice change of pace from the usual Hollywood stock effects.
While the story is nothing special, it's absolutely worth watching for the comedy and action.
The next movie is a Canadian production that came out this year called Gunless. The trailer sold me immediately, but unfortunately this thing is still only available in Canada, and importing the DVD or Blu-Ray costs about $40 USD. Guess I'll have to be patient. But enjoy this trailer:
Looks fantastic. Good job, Canadians! Bring your movie stateside!
The last one is The Warrior's Way, and it looks like absolute garbage. Whatever The Good The Bad The Weird and Gunless did well, this looks to replicate poorly. Action? CGed out. Comedy? I guess Kate Bosworth's accent is laughably bad. Ninjas versus cowboys SOUNDS like it could be good campy fun, the the trailer does so little for me I doubt I'll even rent it (and considering I'm going to rent Jonah Hex, that's saying something).
Finally, a truly American production (starring a Brit): Cowboys & Aliens. Dumb title, but I'll be gosh-danged if the trailer doesn't look good.
Looks like Harrison Ford might have his first watchable role in years!