Clearly, Sngmoo Lee was inspired by anime. This film is crazy, in your face, all over the place, action film that took over 2 years after it was made to finally find a home in theaters. In The Warrior’s Way, South Korean actor Jang Dong-gun stars as Yang, a swordsman as deadly as he is few of words. Similar to Rain in Ninja Assassin, in fact the similarities are striking. However, unlike Rain who took care of any situation with ease, he is unable to complete his deadly mission, thus fleeing to America, to a ghost town plopped in the middle of the Sahara Desert surrounded by endless acres of sand dunes.
The Warrior’s Way somehow manages to find just the right balance of ludicrous and fantastic. That is not to say this is a good film. In fact, none of the characters are remotely interesting, so the action never means anything. Pirates of the Caribbean famed actor Geoffrey Rush doesn’t exactly help either — cast in a largely disposable role as the local drunk. The CGI is heavy and completely overdone making every sequence look a bit sketchy. Can I fault that? The film’s real star, though, is its highly stylized look. Perhaps the CGI is the real star and the film takes a backseat. That is the problem with style over substance though, and it is quite evident throughout this film.
The Warrior’s Way made very little at the box office; in fact, people were walking out as the movie was nearing the end mumbling about wanting a refund. The best thing I can say about this film is there are fleeting moments of pleasure which can be found. Lynne’s storyline doesn’t quite work, though not for the reasons you might think. There must always be balance between the main plot and the subplots; specifically, the main plot must outweigh the others. Plus there’s the slow-mo slashing and as always in similar films, the victors of the battles are predictable. I didn’t find it particularly gory, though the situations are quite brutal and not for everybody. With this in mind along with the weak first half of the film I cannot recommend seeing it unless you are a big ninja movie fan.
Rinse and repeat. No special way of doing it, just the same move every time. Shame on Hollywood for even releasing this film and opening up at #9 at the domestic box office means we aren’t falling for these trick anymore. I wasn’t expecting much from this movie. I like to take movies for what they are, and I’ll watch these types hoping to find a sleeper movie that was great in it’s own way or I go looking to be entertained and see a good sword fight, I got neither. Leaving on a positive note, Jang Dong Gun is my favorite part of the movie, quietly charming and deadly, and at some parts at the same time. Even if The Warrior’s Way itself doesn’t take off, you can expect his future in cinema to, on both sides of the Pacific.