image from daemonsmovies.com
RANT: Went into the theater today, grabbed a seat in the front row behind the rail, and got a chance to listen to the rants of an older couple seating 4 chairs down to the left. Luckily, they kept it down during the film, but unluckily they kept tapping and kicking the rail. As the taps reverberated down to where my shoes rested on the rail, I wonder if people even realized what consequences their actions have.
SYNOPSIS: The greatest swordsman assassin realizes his crusade to kill every member of a rival clan is not in his heart when he decides not to kill the last opposing clan member - an infant.
Written and shot by Sngmoo Lee, The Warrior's Way is a colorful collage of spaghetti western and Shanghai swordsman cinema. Mixing the spectacle of The Wizard of Oz, the grain and solitude of David Carradine's Kung Fu, the acrobatics of The House of Daggers, and the splatter of Sin City, The Warrior's Way is eye candy with a pinch of plot - without the calories.
Dong-gun Jang stars as Yang, an assassin of the Sad Flutes clan bent on the destruction of a rival clan who, after defeating and killing the greatest swordsman of all time, cannot bring himself to kill the last member of the rival clan - an innocent infant girl. Realizing that his own mentor will have a price on his head for his failure, Yang escapes to the American Badlands to hide out from his assassin swordsmen kin sure to pursue him and the girl. Hiding out in the small town of Lode, populated by members of a traveling circus mired down in the blowing sands of the desert, Yang befriends Lode's citizenry of misfits, drunks, sideshow freaks, and a girl thirsting for revenge. Kate Bosworth puts on her best Hilary Swank, tom-boy impression as Lynne, a girl desperate to avenge the murder of her parents and sibling at the hands of the renegade Colonel, played by Danny Huston. Geoffrey Rush, Tony Cox and Lung Ti round out the main cast as a former crack shot train robber who finds repentance at the bottom of a whiskey bottle, a pint-sized ringmaster named Eight-Ball, and Yang's mentor known as the Saddest Flute, respectively.
The Warrior's Way looks great. No western was ever this vibrant. Even the dunes in the American Badlands are as picturesque as any postcard. The choreography of the swordplay and skirmishes between the ninjas, rough riders and circus folk is both slick and schlocky. But it is difficult to take any of it seriously because the film is so over the top. Other then the subdued quiet zen of Yang, everyone else's performance is a caricature of better performances we have seen in other films.
From the trailers, it is obvious that The Warrior's Way is simply an escape. Armed with a bucket of popcorn and 100 minutes, we can escape the same way that Yang finds his way to the dust bowl of the circus-centric town of Lode. If you are looking for a film that is a little more substantial, even Yang's Weeping Sword may not be sharp enough.
Worth: Matinee or Netflix
I am also trying out a new rating system shown below based on reader reaction to my somewhat complex monetary rating scale. I will give both ratings and see what kind of reaction I muster. A movie can receive up to 5 popcorn buckets. Why popcorn buckets? Because I am a slave to the thousand + calorie delight! Enjoy!