The Warrior's Way

The Warrior's Way


Reviewed by: Max Crawford

To list everything that's wrong with The Warrior's Way would take far longer than the hour-and-a-half already lost to watching it. Also, it may seem a little churlish, given the ridiculous premise. A ninja swordmaster invokes the wrath of his clan when he refuses to kill a baby, choosing instead to hide out with an old friend who moved to the Wild West. In a half-abandoned mining town he falls in with a travelling circus that's put down roots, setting the stage for the ninjas vs cowboys vs other-cowboys-who-are-also-clowns CGI nonsense festival suggested by the trailer.

What we get instead is a drawn-out love story between our wooden, wayward ninja and the only pretty cowgirl in town. Will she teach him about opera and laundry and friendship and that sunsets are lovely? Will he teach her how to stab people up with knives, the better to avenge her slaughtered family and take out the sub-boss just before our hero grapples with the end-of-level baddie? Will every cliché under the sun get thrown in along the way? Darn tootin'.

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Nobody actually says "darn tootin'" at any point, but it is touch-and-go for a while.

After about an hour of this, the bad cowboys attack the good-cowboys-who-are-also-clowns, the bad ninjas attack both, the good ninja swords a lot of people to death in slow motion, and for a while things are delightfully silly and fun. For no good reason there is an exploding ferris wheel. Some Mad Max refugees turned cowboys rock up with a machine gun. There is a bit where a ninja is impaled on a sword and then hurled bodily at another, apparently more fragile ninja. This is where most of the material in the trailer is drawn from.

All too soon the party's over, after a final serving of cheese, and you start to wonder why anyone actually bothered. The cinematography throughout is a frustrating mixture of excellent composition and stupid, cackhanded lighting. All of the "outdoor" scenes are shot on set against a greenscreen, with absurdly over-the-top sunsets and stormy skies comped in. Badly. It's wretched, it really is. Films of this ilk need snappy pacing and visual impact: instead we're left with a muddled basket of arse that even Geoffrey Rush couldn't save.

Reviewed on: 06 Dec 2010
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An assassin who refuses to kill a child goes on the run until his enemies corner him in an American gold rush town.
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Director: Sngmoo Lee

Writer: Sngmoo Lee

Starring: Dong-gun Jang, Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, Danny Huston, Tony Cox

Year: 2010

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: New Zealand


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