No doubt a strange film, but nonetheless it has the always lovely Maggie Q, so I had to give this film a watch. The story goes a bit like this, When his commander and friend is badly wounded just before the incipient winter, Lu takes over command of the troops. Forced to find shelter in a mysterious village, he discovers a young woman hiding in his refuge. A widow shunned into solitude, she has a fierce personality and fights Lu in every way she can before surrendering to his passionate embrace. She seems to possess the strange ability to take his mind to a place where humans were once wolves. The Warrior and the Wolf takes place in an unspecified dynasty, allowing the art department free artistic rein with sets and costumes. Kind of a cop out but at the same time is pretty cool.
With that knowledge in hand, don’t expect this film to be any hint of historical accuracy. Processed in cold, gray-blue colors, the pic is heavy with the scent of death and doom that extends to the warfare. As far as the editing goes, it does a good job depicting the relentless dynamics but doesn’t really help clarify the plot. Maggie Q does a great job though with what she is given.
The interesting twist is when he discovers Maggie Q’s character of the widow he rapes her and then she reveals the tribe’s curse which states sexual affairs outside the tribe will result in both parties becoming wolves. For all its conflicting messages Warrior looks like a million bucks, despite some dodgy CG. Director Tian’s color pallete is moody and menacing, littering the screen with dark shadows and desaturated blues and greens. The soundtrack is pretty awesome as well, working with modernized interpretations of traditional Chinese music.
All good things aside, I can get over the message this film conveys that women can be beaten/raped into affection. I don’t think its a healthy message and I don’t think it’s a very smart one. Multiple viewings will probably sculpt a better picture of various scenes and plot points, but the overall impression is crystal clear. The film is barely enjoyable and if I could recommend a film that would probably suit my readers more, I’d go with Warlords. Ultimately, if you take away the subplots, all you have left is a withering tale of a reluctant warrior who spends a season trying to get home. I wasn’t impressed but still recommend for those who are into impressive visual films that have an art hosue style to them.