The Western seems to be a tricky genre to master in today’s cinema, especially if you’re trying to be hip or create sometime of hybrid. The latest film in the Western vein is the Asian infusion The Warrior’s Way. Unfortunately Asian martial arts and a Western setting do not a good movie make, in fact at times the movie is utterly incomprehensible. From the scatter-shot plot filled with pointless narration and abrupt flashbacks to the over-the-top acting, or lack thereof from our lead, the movie is a mess from start to finish!
Yang (Dong-gun Jang) is the best warrior in the world who has just defeated the last of an enemy clan he has been fighting for years. When he discovers the last living member of the clan is a baby he decides to give up his dark ways and take the child someplace safe, America. Once there he meets up with a circus that helps to hide him and the baby from his own clan which are now seeking him. In his free time he trains the beautiful Lynne (Kate Bosworth) in the art of the sword and tries to protect her from an evil Colonel (Danny Huston) who has returned to destroy the town.
What did I enjoy about The Warrior’s Way? Probably that it made Jonah Hex look like an Oscar winner! On top of that the established cast members seem to be reveling in how over-the-top they are and that leads to a lot of probably unintentionally hilarious moments. Geoffrey Rush does nothing as the town drunk and narrator, why he narrates is unknown as he has little interaction with the character of Yang. And while the character is nothing new for him Huston seems to be the only character trying to act in the role of the evil Colonel who seeks women with good teeth.
Aside from that this movie is utter crap from start to finish. The story is all over the place starting out with a samurai warrior saving a baby then spends over 40 minutes focusing on the back-story of Lynne and her need for revenge upon the Colonel. All of this is well and good but then abruptly Yang’s clan comes for him and a hasty battle is needed to kill both villains before the movie is over. On top of that is the movie’s need to feel like a comic book with needless narration, text scrolls on characters and a stylized look that makes me wonder if they just borrowed the same town and setup as Jonah Hex. The movie also has flashbacks that are abrupt to say the least. A character can be walking down the street humming a tune and a flashback of their horrible past is pasted in! It doesn’t help that the writing is so poor that I was unaware the town of Lode that Yang goes to was a circus until I asked why the hell a clown was there. I hope it’s a circus and not just something cool to include a clown for no reason. The rest of the cast are different shades of atrocious. Jang tries to be like every other Asian male lead but just looks constipated for the film’s runtime. Even his fight scenes require him to do nothing but pause and pose. Kate Bosworth isn’t doing anything that will make us think she’s a good actress as she plays Lynne like she’s Hilary Swank in Amelia with a highly exaggerated Southern accent and catchphrases about “hot molasses on a summer’s day” or something like that. Also she has a habit of making a face to convey coyness that looks like a cross between spitting and biting the inside of her cheek. It’s enough to make the audience forget her accent or lack of emotion in line delivery if anything.
Overall, The Warrior’s Way is a horrible film that tries to pick up where Jonah Hex left off. The acting is ridiculous, the story is poorly written and conceived and by the end you honestly might want to demand your money back. Easily one of the worst movies of the year with nothing good to show for it, a shame considering the talent of Rush and Huston.