East and West clash under a setting sun.
In this Ninja Assassin meets High Plains Drifter action flick, Yang, a member of the Sad Flute ninja clan, is sent to slaughter all the members of a rival clan. When he can’t bring himself to murder their leader’s infant daughter and last member he must escape to America now hunted by his former clansmen. Once there, Yang finds himself in a broken town needing a protector. Audiences won’t be wowed by an original story here. The Warrior’s Way instead relies heavily on the novelty of mismatched eastern and western elements.
Following in the footsteps of 300 and other such films, The Warrior’s Way employs a heavy use of Green Screen and CG backdrops to an often successful outcome. The settings are noticeably unrealistic, but the effects are gorgeously stylized. Unfortunately some of the sets that were not generated digitally look too clean to have been filmed on location. The action sequences are beautifully done and costumes are top notch.
The background music really helps to set the mood with a blend of everything from Opera to Metal. The voices were originally recorded in English, so this is one samurai action flick that doesn’t suffer from bad dubbing. Every gunshot and sword clash rings out clear and on time.
The acting is serviceable enough but several important characters felt undeveloped. Kate Bosworth’s portrayal of the love interest Lynne is believable yet corny. Danny Huston really is a bastard in this film in a manner that suits the villainous character Colonel. Tony Cox is somewhat entertaining as the circus ringmaster Eight-Ball, who though small in stature would never be considered so in spirit. I was really hoping for more from Geoffrey Rush who spent most of the film in a drunken state hinting that he knew Yang was more than he let on. When he finally did get his moment to shine it didn’t amount to much. Lung Ti’s Saddest Flute was basically a cardboard cutout of a typical evil ninja master, similar to the one in Ninja Assassin but with a smaller part.
The westerners are never as good with their guns as Yang is with his sword, which makes the entire encounter feel lopsided. Any chances of something being at stake in the film are robbed away by Yang’s apparent invulnerability. Heavy on the action and light on the characters, The Warrior’s Way can make for a fun viewing that you’re not likely to revisit often.
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