Title The Warrior’s Way
Directed by: Sngmoo Lee
Starring: Dong-gun Jang (The Promise), Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns, 21), Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) and Danny Huston (A Monster in Paris, Robin Hood)
The holiday season is the most important time in the film world, as it leads right up to the awards season starting in January. One movie being released this month that will surely be overlooked by the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, the first televised movie award show of 2011, is the martial arts, stunt-filled ‘The Warrior’s Way.’ Directed by Sngmoo Lee, the film, in typical action fashion, forgoes plot and character development. However, it’s meet with disastrous results.
The numerous trailers released for ‘The Warrior’s Way’ promise viewers a plot full of sword-fighting and special effects. However, the film, which follows the world’s greatest swordsman, Yang (played by South Korean actor Jang Dong-gun), as he refuses his latest mission, doesn’t live up to his high moral standards.
Yang doesn’t want to kill the last member of his enemy clan, as she is only a baby. So he turns his back on his tribe, the Saddest Flutes, and his pre-determined mission. Exiled, Yang flees with the baby to a town full of circus outcasts, including the town drunk, Ron (portrayed by Geoffrey Rush), and 8-Ball (played by Tony Cox). Among them, Yang develops a bond with knife-thrower Lynne (portrayed by Kate Bosworth), whose family was killed before her eyes when she was a young girl.
‘The Warrior’s Way’ falls short on its promise to deliver high quality stunts and an action-packed plot-line. While Rogue, the film’s studio, is hoping to earn back its $40 million budget by emphasizing Yang’s need to fight the Saddest Flutes for wanting to harm a baby, action fans will surely be disappointed. Lee spends a long portion of the movie setting up the relationship between Yang and Lynne while neglecting every other relationship and conflict. While it’s important to see Lynne’s admiration for Yang, Lee seemed to have lost focus on the film’s most important issue-Yang wanting to stand up for what he believes is right.
Yang and Lynne’s relationship was also too drawn out, because Dong-gun and Bosworth didn’t have much of a romantic spark. The two had more of a friendship than a romantic bond, so it would have been more fitting for Lee, who also wrote the script, to have toned down the emphasis on their relationship.
As a writer, Lee should have also included more back-story for the main characters, and developed them earlier in the plot. For example, while it was explained that Lynne wanted to fight to avenge the death of her family, it’s never fully explained why they were killed. Also, Yang would have been more relate-able if the rivalry between the Saddest Flutes and their enemy was more thoroughly discussed.
Lee could have also made ‘The Warrior’s Way’ superior if he incorporated better special effects. Since many of the effects were centered on sword- and gun-fighting, watching them continuously swirl around in slow motion became quite boring. While the whole point of the movie is that Yang is a renegade swordsman, fighting for what he thinks is right, his blade routine eventually becomes monotonous.
Rogue took a huge leap financing ‘The Warrior’s Way,’ as it has mainly released comedy and horror films in the past. While many of its movies haven’t been enormous critical and commercial successes, it should definitely stick with what it knows and what it’s good at. Even though Lee finished filming ‘The Warrior’s Way’ almost three years ago, in February 2008, he still disappointingly wasn’t able to master his special effects and showcase Rush’s talent.
Written by: Karen Benardello