The Warrior's Way
Oh I’ll give my agent a commission alright!

Theatrical Release Date: 12/03/2010
Director: Sngmoo Lee
Cast: Jang Dong-Gun, Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, Danny Huston, Tony Cox


Allow me to show you my point.

If you’ve been looking for a film that falls squarely in the middle of “Ninja Assassin” and “The Good The Bad The Weird“, then look no further than “The Warrior’s Way”.

Set mostly in a desolate, Old West town that’s a cross between “Red Dead Redemption” and Barnum and Bailey’s Circus, the story centers on a great swordsman/assassin (Jang Dong-Gun). He’s fled to the New World from the Far East following his unwillingness to kill the last member of an enemy clan – which just happens to be a baby girl.

So with his heart growing two sizes, he meets a woman (Kate Bosworth) bent on revenge for the death of her family, a drunkard (Geoffrey Rush) with excellent rifle skills, a little person (Tony Cox) with the number 8 painted on his head, and a host of circus folk who inhabit the town of Lode.

First time writer/director Sngmoo Lee kept the themes fairly simple and familiar to audiences. If you’ve ever seen a film about ninjas, you know what’s going on. If you’ve ever seen a Sergio Leone Western, you know what’s going on.

The film is a hyperstylized mix of the two genres, and shot almost entirely on green screen – further pushing the visual boundaries, allowing for picturesque sunsets and majestic cloud formations. The action is fairly good but too often punctuated by large segments of needless exposition; Though this clocks in at 100 minutes, there’s a good half hour of material that could have been lost in order to really punch up the pace.

That being said, a lot of fun can be had checking this out. First and foremost, aside from Dong-Gun’s former Master, the main villain comes in the form of Danny Huston. No stranger to chewing up scenery, he goes for it all here and his performance is delightfully over the top. Also, the baby herself adds some nice moments to the film, as she reacts to the events around her.

And although some of the action scenes are run-of-the-mill, they’re enjoyable. Bosworth’s fighting skills aren’t too impressive, but there’s one scene where our hero takes on a bunch of baddies in a hallway, lit only by the strobe light effect of muzzle fire, that is one of the most impressive fight scenes of the year.

The bottom line is that if you’re clamoring for a movie with genuine action in it, “The Warrior’s Way” is really your only choice in theaters right now and after watching the trailer, I expected a lot worse … like “Jonah Hex” worse. But I admit to sitting back, enjoying the ridiculous setups and one-dimensional characters so I have to give the film a 3 out of 5. It’s a welcome respite from all the Oscar-bait floating around at the moment and a good chance to switch off the old noggin’ for a little bit; which is all a movie needs to do sometimes.

3 out of 5