Movie review – East meets West for a carnival of carnage

2011-02-12 12:56

Film: Warrior’s Way (Nu Metro)
Director: Sngmoo Lee
Featuring: Dong-gun Jang, Kate Bosworth, Tony Cox, Danny Huston and Geoffrey Rush
Rating: 5/10

Writer and director Sngmoo Lee has produced a visually startling film.

For this reason alone, it’s an interesting film to see.

But the core audience is likely to be made up of fans of martial arts films because the story is rather thin without all the cultural juxtapositions.

It also has the sensibility of a computer game.

It feels as though the protagonist, Yang, played by the smoulderingly handsome South Korean actor Dong-gun Jang, is fighting his way to the next level.

Narrated by Geoffrey Rush, an old drunk with a secret past, it is the tale of a Chinese warrior who gives up the sword when he spares his enemy’s child. To escape his bloodletting past and to give his adopted child a better life, he heads for the American West.

In a dust bowl frontier town with a defunct carnival, he finds a new life as the owner of a laundry.

Kate Bosworth, sporting fiery red hair, is the love interest with a painful past.

Danny Huston is the villain whose return to the town forces Yang to take out his sword again – the sound of which carries across the ocean to his teacher, who is determined to kill him for abandoning the Warrior’s Way .

While the blending of the mystical East and the terrestrial West has been done before in the likes of Shanghai Noon, this film is far more otherworldly than that ribald comedy with Jackie Chan.

This film is all about what to fight for and when to stop.

Viewers will find Lee’s visual cues much more memorable than the usual mid-air-hovering ninja assassins.

There’s the disused big wheel dominating the landscape, the painted clowns wandering dejectedly around the town, the eerie abandoned fairground carousel and the dust-blasted people who live there.

But the most jarring sight is that of the Chinese swordsman growing wild flowers and washing sheets in a desert gunslingers’ town.

Warrior’s Way will find a limited audience, but it’s one carnival of carnage that’s hard to forget.

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