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A Fun Homage to Japanese Jidai Geki films, Asian Wuxia and Spaghetti Westerns!

  • Dec 5, 2010
Korean and Chinese Wuxia films. Japanese Jidai Geki films. Spaghetti Westerns. Kimchi Westerns. Sukiyaki Westerns. Do you like those oddball genres? How do you feel about the genre-busting popcorn films that pay tribute to those movies such as Kim Ji-Woon’s “The Good The Bad The Weird” and Takashi Miike’s “Sukiyaki Western Django”? If you do like those type of hybrids, then you may be right at home with director Sngmoo Lee’s “The Warrior’s Way”. It has more of a Korean swordplay epic’s mood and tone with the weird mix of Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns. Yes, it is another attempt at another genre-busting extravaganza, and while I know it will be shunned by most critics, I have to say the film had its charms and it proved to be quite entertaining.

                    Jang Dong Gun in "The Warrior's Way."

A lone master swordsman called Yang (Korean actor Jang Dong-gun, Springtime) is the Sad Flute clan’s most dangerous assassin. He is precise and cold in the execution of the kill. One day, after all that stands between him and glory is a lone royal infant, Yang freezes and instead flees with the child and becomes her protector. Leaving his land, Yang flees to the West where he intends to hide in a broken town with its broken folk. He learns to appreciate a simple life and he forges a friendship with a circus troup led by Eight Ball (Tony Cox), a knife thrower named Lynne (Kate Bosworth), the town drunk (Geoffrey Rush) and other folks in isolation. Yang begins to charm Lynne with his brooding manner and even the townsfolk learn to appreciate his low-key mannerisms, and how he does laundry. But the past is about to catch up to Yang when a disfigured colonel (Danny Huston) threatens his newfound way of life as his own clan led by Saddest Flute (Ti Lung) is hell-bent on killing him for his betrayal.

                  Jang Dong Gun in "The Warrior's Way."

                 Danny Huston, Jang Dong Gun and Kate Bosworth in "The Warrior's Way."

We’ve all seen this story before, the brooding killer who finds a new reason to live and a heart that encourages compassion and “The Warrior‘s Way“ offers nothing new in terms of intricacies to plotting. What the direction does have a lot of is loads of style and action; this style and action sequences pays tribute to all the Asian films that you’ve grown to love and the westerns that Sergio Leone had made popular in the 60’s. Leone’s classics were inspired by Japanese Jidai Geki films in the first place so this attempt at an Asian-wuxia-western hybrid is no sin. In fact, I welcome it; it is about time that Asian cinema is recognized for their contributions to global cinema. Homages to Japanese movies such as “Yojimbo”, “Sukiyaki Western Django”, Korea‘s “Shadowless Sword” and even China‘s “House of Flying Daggers” are abundant in the film. The film is also rich with Leone’s spaghetti western attitude; if you are a fan of those movies you’ll appreciate what the film is trying to express.

                    Jang Dong Gun in "The Warrior's Way."

                   Jang Dong Gun in "The Warrior's Way."

                  Kate Bosworth in "The Warrior's Way."

The tributes to such Korean wuxia films and even to Yuen Woo-Ping/Tsui Hark epics are very visible in the film’s execution. There is some wirework, freeze frames and mild slow motion in the action scenes. From a visual point of view, the film succeeds, the film looks insanely cool as our characters are in front of a CGI-rendered environment, that has that western feel. I have mixed feelings about its environment since it looked too perfect at times but I guess I can take it. The cinematography by Korean artist Woo-Hyung Kim is fitting to the film’s themes and motifs, it does look rather fake at some areas but it mimics the appearance of illustrations/paintings we see in graphic novels. The film has a narration (I believe by Geoffrey Rush) going as the story unfolds, some details are told as if it was in the past, giving it an aura of mystery about it. The story is simple, it has all the qualities of an East meets West plot, with the East learning as much as he shares with his newfound Western friends.

I guess for a movie like this to succeed, the action sequences will have to deliver and they do in a sense. The swordplay in the film were pretty quick as it mimics the aura and mysticism of magical artistry. The action was more shown in style and to express the idea that a great swordsman is as quick as a gunslinger with the draw. They were nicely done, albeit comes a little too close to becoming too stylized. But quite honestly, it is just so much fun seeing swordsmen take on gun-toting outlaws. The blood effects mimicked the ones seen in Korean Wuxia films, it sprays but not as “splattery” as those seen in samurai movies. The sword versus guns area was touched upon and what gave the film its positive points is the fact that Jang Dong-Gun fit the role of a brooding warrior. His silent manners were convincing and that I had no problems buying into his character.

                      Kate Bosworth as Lynne in "The Warrior's Way"

                     Dong-Gun Jang as Yang in "The Warrior's Way"

The characters were pretty stereotypical for a film like this. Kate Bosworth’s character may well be a tribute to the strong female character seen in westerns. She is spunky, careless and yet she is charming; she proves to be the light in Yang’s life, as he also proves to be hers. Her links to the disfigured colonel was one of the film’s more effective subplots and Geoffrey’s Rush’s drunken character embodies another warrior that may become Yang’s parallel in the future if he stays with the one he holds dear. The film does deliver its lines with a straight face, but it maintains that somewhat humorous touches in some scenes.

“The Warrior’s Way” is low on storytelling and allows its style, action sequences, mood and its characters take center stage. It does pay off with a good climactic encounter, it wasn’t groundbreaking but it did the deed in terms of entertainment. Ninjas flying, limbs flying, Gatling guns and six-shooters--hey, the film is a lot of fun to see in terms of action and visual style. As with many other films of this kind, it is for an intended audience; and considering my love for Asian cinema, I guess I am one of them.

Recommended! [3 ½ Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "The Warrior's Way"  Poster art for "The Warrior's Way"

Poster art for "The Warrior's Way" Poster art for "The Warrior's Way"

3 ½ Stars: A Homage to Japanese Jidai Geki films, Spaghetti Westerns and Asian Wuxia! 3 ½ Stars: A Homage to Japanese Jidai Geki films, Spaghetti Westerns and Asian Wuxia! 3 ½ Stars: A Homage to Japanese Jidai Geki films, Spaghetti Westerns and Asian Wuxia!

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December 11, 2010
Ive seen in the preview that it looks like they successfully brought some anime type action scenes to live action. 1 good example is when he is fighting that guy by that lake or whatever then defeats him with that 1 swift slash and slides through the rocks as he's doing it. I can't wait to see it
December 11, 2010
yeah, man. This movie has an intended audience. and I believe you and I are among them since we are used to that sort of style and editing. :)
December 12, 2010
whoa man, first you're right and 2nd I just saw the movie which I will try to review soon but this really seem like an anime adapted into a live action film but your rating was dead on. Hopefully I can review this sometime today or tomorrow cause I have some stuff to say lol
December 11, 2010
Nice one pakman, I had a feeling this film would be just a great preview and a C grade film but now Im anxious to check it out, Im goin tomorrow my friend. Thanks for the review buddy
December 16, 2010
yo, Keith, do you dig vampire movies? check this out by Guillermo Del Toro...thanks!
December 06, 2010
I hated Miike's SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO but I totally dug THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD. And I've never thought Kate Bosworth could act. I'll probably wait on the DVD for this one as I've been able to find very few positive reviews.
December 06, 2010
Just give this one a rental. It is not the best thing out there, but I took as a storybook and the screenplay mimicked this sensation. I like the extended cut of Sukiyaki Western Django; but I hated the U.S. release which was trimmed to 90+ minutes when the Japanese cut was more violent and longer--128+ minutes, that was a lot of meat missing. The good the bad the weird was awesome!
December 06, 2010
Hmm. I couldn't tell you which version of SUKIYAKI I saw, then. It must've been a US cut on DVD. Crap. I hate that. But, yeah, THE GOOD THE BAD THE WEIRD was just downright brilliant. I'll probably pick it up on Blu-ray at some point b/c I try to get all of my foreign stuff on Blu-ray as I'm a perfectionist when the money allows!
December 16, 2010
Cool. You might want to check out this other community I founded dedicated to Asian cinema called ASIANatomy. I love Asian cinema.  
December 06, 2010
This looks wonderfully weird.
December 06, 2010
I think that's why I liked it; it was weird LOL! ...you should see Takashi Miike's Sukiyaki Western Django--now that was weirder.
December 06, 2010
Good review, this film looks very stylish, seem like a nice chewing gum for the eyes, must check it out.
December 06, 2010
now that's a comment! "chewing gum for the eyes"....I love it! why didn't I think of that? LOL! thanks!
December 06, 2010
Ha Ha - it's a common phrase in Icelandic "Tyggjó fyrir augun".
December 05, 2010
Yeah man so happy you reviewed this one, we are going to see it this week when every one has the same day off. EXCELLENT review WP.
December 06, 2010
enjoy, man! I thought it was a fun flick!
December 05, 2010
I was hoping you'd review this movie. I think I want to see it, although I'll probably put it on my rental list. Awesome review William. =)
December 05, 2010
Thanks, Stephanie! I do believe this movie is geared towards those who like Asian cinema. I liked it because of the action and style. I've been trying to spread the word about this other film I saw last Friday since it was a limited release; it was just impressive. Check it out if its playing in your area.  Did you like the WRESTLER?
December 05, 2010
Can't say that I've seen that one. I just thought this one looked fun and quirky enough that I'd like it. Everytime I see the TV promo I have to laugh. "Ninjas. Damn." lol
December 05, 2010
I am with you....this was really fun and the trailer was crazy. I thought it was going to ho-hum, but it turned out to be entertaining. Bosworth was also charming... :)
More The Warrior's Way (2010) reviews
review by . September 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
*1/2 out of ****     "The Warrior's Way" is a silly, cheap, dumb CGI laden actioner that tries to mix the genres of Western and Samurai variety; as a few before it have. As much as I love drunk cowboys and keen badass Asians fighting alongside each-other from time-to-time, you still need to work around the clichés and create a unique, fun ride if you want to impress this movie-goer; or anyone else who's genuinely intelligent, for the matter. This film was made without wit, and …
review by . December 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
“The Warrior’s Way” combines the brutal violence of a martial arts saga, the nostalgic lure of an old west drama, and the visual appeal of a living comic book. And yet, in trying to be all those things, it ends up being none of them; what was supposed to be an edgy East-meets-West fusion is in fact an unexplainable, unpleasant mishmash of genres that really don’t belong together. It’s an oddity, an otherworldly import that never aims to be funny but somehow can get …
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William ()
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Please "Like" Film and Movies and Keep the Economy strong....LOL!!      My Interests: Movies, Anime, History, Martial Arts, Comics, Entertainment,Cooking, Things I don't … more
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About this movie


  • Opened December 3, 2010 | Runtime:1 hr. 40 min.
  • R
    Strong bloody violence
  • The Warrior's Way, a visually-stunning modern martial arts western starring Korean actor Dong-gun Jang who plays an Asian warrior assassin forced to hide in a small town in the American Badlands. Rounding out the ensemble cast are Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns), Oscar®-winner Geoffrey Rush (Shine), Danny Huston (The Kingdom), and Tony Cox (The Hustle).The fantasy action film was written and directed by newcomer Sngmoo Lee, and is being produced by Barrie M. Osborne (Lord of the Rings), Jooick Lee (Seven Swords) and Michael Peyser (Hackers).
  • Cast: Jang Dong-gun, Kate Bosworth, Danny Huston, Geoffrey Rush, Tony Cox
  • Director: Sngmoo Lee
  • Genres: Martial ArtsHybrid WesternAction
  • Poster art for "The Warrior's Way"
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