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Review The Warrior's Way (2010): Very unique project!

genre: action, fantasy, martial arts, western

The Warrior's Way is what you call a hodgepodge of martial arts, fantasy and western. Usually these aren't genres that blend well unless you have a good director at the helm who is capable of making you overlook certain flaws. So what about The Warrior's Way?

Visually The Warrior's Way is extremely stylish and beautiful. Enough for me to overlook the lack of plot and characterization. At least for the first couple of viewings. For multiple viewings the film definitely is coming short. Jang Dong-gun as Yang, a member of the Sad Flutes clan, isn't allowed to do much with his character. He is made into the brooding silent type with very little to no background. Not much is explained about the Sad Flutes clan either other than that they are extremely deadly assassins who don't tolerate failure. It's all so bland and superficial that even Ti Lung is wondering why he is in this film. Now it could also be that Ti Lung just has aged very terribly and can't help the way he looks. However he still is capable of pulling out some decent moves. But in all honestly the saddest flute (Ti Lung) isn't nearly as dangerous as the film wants you to believe.

Action wise The Warrior's Way is flashy and enjoyable enough. Heavy use of CGI and other effects. But it does look like Yang and others are very capable. Enemies are slain before you know it while the main character manages to remain untouched. I was willing to go with it but I can imagine that some might think it detracts from the tension and therefore excitement. 

The real scene stealer is Danny Huston as the main villain who truly is despicable. He makes it seem so easy to depict such a vile person. Kate Bosworth is decent but at times it did feel like she tried to hard to appeal to the audience. Odd duck in the mix is Geoffrey Rush. He mostly plays the comic relief in a ridiculous film that strangely lacks the awareness of being ludicrous. 

I can't quite put my finger on it but despite all it's flaws I dug this film. It does seem that director Sngmoo Lee is a fan of the wuxia / martial arts genre as he pays tribute to it and has tried to make something unique. I think he succeeded and should be recognized for it. Give it a chance. It's far better than you think!

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