Star cast: Dong-Gun Jang, Kate Bosworth, Danny Huston.
Director: Sngmoo Lee
Plot: Yang, a warrior, kills a whole enemy clan but saves an infant, for which he is attacked by his own clansmen. He runs to an American cowboy town, only to find himself in trouble again.
What’s Good: The entertaining sword-fights; the cinematography; and the lead actors’ performances.
What’s Bad: The me-too story and a boring first half. Also, the blood and gore, of which there is a lot, might put off some people.
Verdict: The Warrior’s Way entertains only in its action sequences; recommended only for the lovers of gory films.
Loo Break: You can skip the whole first half!
Culture Unplugged Studios, Fuse Media and Sad Flutes’ The Warrior’s Way is the story of Yang, a warrior and swordsman par excellence, who eliminates an enemy clan but saves an infant. For this, Yang is shunned and hunted by his own clansmen. Yang escapes to a small town in the Wild West in America with the child. He meets a girl, Lynne, who is haunted by her family’s murder at the hands of a murdering rapist, the Colonel.
Yang, who keeps a low profile at first, gets involved with the affairs of the people of the ragged, old town after he realises that Lynne is desperate to get back at the Colonel. He trains Lynne to use the sword. When one fine day, the Colonel arrives in town with his band of cowboys to pick up a girl for his carnal pleasures, Lynne offers herself. The Colonel recognises her and is about to shoot her, when Yang arrives with his sword and decimates Colonel’s party. The Colonel and what is left of his party escape. Now that he had broken his vow of non-violence, Yang decides to leave, but the townsfolk ask him to save them from the Colonel’s imminent backlash.
Yang stays back and defends the town with the help of a secret cache of weapons, a sniper and his excellent (and brutal) swordsmanship. Lynne and the others in the town fight by his side. Will Yang be able to fend off the Colonel’s attacks? Will he ever reconcile with his warrior clan? The rest of the film answers these questions.
Story, Star performances and Direction
Sngmoo Lee’s story is very simple and lacks novelty. The film has no kung-fu, but only some (excellently shot) sword-fights, all of which end up with Yang killing a bunch of people. What might be interesting to a few viewers is the comic-book-style cinematography (by Woo Hyung Kim) of the action sequences. The direction (Sngmoo Lee) is nothing to write home about. The performances by Jang Dong-Gun (as Yang), Kate Bosworth (as Lynne) and Geoffrey Rush (as Ron, the sniper) are very good. Danny Huston (as The Colonel) and Tony Cox (as Eight-Ball) provide able support. Analin Rudd, as Baby April, is very cute and is, in fact, one of the highlights of the film.
The movie is extremely boring in the first half, while Yang settles down in the town and starts working as a laundryman. Although the townsfolk are shown to be members of a defunct circus, there are hardly any jokes for the audience. The whole back-story about Lynne’s tragedy and its outcome also drags on. Overall, the first half is dull and glum. The real action starts when Yang takes out his sword from the sheath. The choreography of the sword-fighting sequences is excellent. Having said that, it must be added that the story does not appeal to the audiences and the second half also ends up being a collation of beautifully choreographed violent swordfights. This will appeal to only to a section of the audience.
The operatic background score by Javier Navarrete is beautiful and fits seamlessly with the action sequences. Editing by Jonathan Woodford-Robinson is okay. Production design by Dan Hennah is good. The recreation of a ghostly Western American town, partly through studio sets and partly through visual effects (among others, by the India-based Geon Studios) is very good.
The Warrior’s Way entertains in its second half. But overall, the story does not work for the audience. The film will be loved only by those youngsters who can stomach lots of bloodshed. Expect it to do poorly at the Indian box-office.