Monday, December 6, 2010

[Movie Review] The Warrior's Way

What do you get when you cross an old Saturday afternoon kung-fu movie and the Magnificent Seven with a video game and then paint it on top of the old David Carradine Kung Fu series? You get the new action movie The Warrior's Way!

It seems like I usually know about movies like this months, sometimes years in advance, but this one snuck up on me. I saw the first preview for it only a month or so ago and immediately though, "That looks cool!" I got to see it on Friday and you know what? It WAS cool!

The story isn't overly complex - the greatest swordsman in Asia manages to wipe out every member of a rival clan, cutting down the last of their warriors and their patriarch. The only remaining member of their clan is an infant. When the warrior can't bring himself to destroy the child, he becomes an outcast from his own clan of assassins (the Sad Flutes) and must flee. Naturally, he and the baby sail to the new world to look up an old warrior friend of his in a dusty little Texas town. The bulk of the residents are members of a wanna-be circus and an old drunk guy.

Of course, the town has a disease - a band of outlaws who ride through from time to time, raping and pillaging at a whim. And the swordsman's old clan haven't forgotten about him or the baby. As the warrior tries to blend into his new home in the old west, stormclouds loom on the horizon.

The middle was a tad slow, but the very beginning and the last half-hour were absolutely awesome. It's a sillier movie than I expected it to be, but even the corny, cheesy parts were genuinely funny and entertaining. But this movie's really all about two things - luscious visuals and action.

The visuals included some really terrific, if heavily stylized, camerawork and lighting. There were lots of shots of key characters against beautifully-painted skies and similar backgrounds. Both those scenes and much of the combat had a not-quite-real quality to them that was deliberate and not generally distracting. They very much had the feel of the cinematic cutscenes in video and computer games.

The Warrior's Way featured Kate Bosworth, Goeffrey Rush (Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean) and Danny Huston in predictably good performances, but U.S. newcomer Dong-gun Jang was also quite good in the lead role (not that it demanded a particularly strong acting range). How first-time writer/director Sngmoo Lee was able to score such a killer cast and proceed to make such a polished movie I have no idea, but I found The Warrior's Way to be genuinely entertaining. I rate it a high B+, bordering on an A-. It's a fun way to spend a couple hours of your day.

No comments:

Post a Comment