Snmoong Lee's The Warrior's Way is an all-time worst movie you would be lucky never to watch. I sat and stared for what felt like days at one of the most ridiculous and worthless spectacles ever produced. I kept hoping against hope that the sheer camp value of its silliness would begin to entertain me, but alas, this was also not to be. Finally, I transcended regular movie expectations and began to be entertained solely by my own seemingly endless ability to sit through it.
The "film" tells the "story" of Yang (Jang Dong-gun, pretty good), the world's greatest swordsman, a "Sad Flute" warrior trained from birth to hate and destroy his clan's enemy clan, "The Magic Flutes." Okay, I don't remember the name of the opposing clan, and it could hardly matter. This goal of extermination is accomplished within the first few moments of the film, with a bit of an exception.
The exception is a young baby (Analin Rudd), whom he cannot bring himself to execute, certainly an admirable quality. Unfortunately, the Sad Flutes do not agree, and morph from his loyal supporters into his deadly enemies, at least until they can get their hands on that infant. Ridiculous? Yes. They still could have made some kind of interesting plot out if it, at least enough to distract or even add, between martial-arts fight sequences.
Of course, Yang does the only thing he can (in this movie), which turns out to be fleeing to the (punningly, but not really ironically named) town of "Lode," located in the Old West or Bizarro Bleeding Kansas or Dirtland, Texas, or somewhere similar that doesn't exist, to run a laundry, raise the kid, fall in love and wait for the ninjas to come and kill him. The love story is with Lynne (Kate Bosworth, terrible), a fiery redhead who tries to punch Yang out pretty quickly, for no reason we in the audience are really ever let in on. But soon they're fencing in the dunes and giggling at Baby April's antics.
Did I mention there's a huge Ferris wheel under construction at the end of town? And a "traveling circus" living by it, led by Bad Santa's Tony Cox as Eight-Ball, so named because he has an eight painted on his bald head for no reason we in the audience are really ever let in on? There is also no compelling reason for the circus to exist in the film. But it is mentioned that the members of the circus raised Lynne from a girl, solely on knife tricks and dirt.
It's dirt in demand, however. Danny Huston plays "The Colonel," a "Phantom of the Opera"-masked raider who keeps bringing back his crew of ne'er-do-wells to steal all the town's dirt. This is as smart as it sounds! Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush plays a drunk who displays (like Rush's Oscar-awarded character from Shine) his butt. There's a flashback scene which explains some unfinished business between Lynne and the Colonel, in which Lynne is shown as a raven-haired young girl, giving us in the audience to understand that she now wears the red yarn wigs of her adoptive clown parents.
After the first bigger-type credits at the end of the film appears a curiosity of sorts. "Scott Reynolds" is credited with "Additional Writing." This is clearly--at least--a typographical, grammatical or mathematical error, as there would need to have been some kind of writing in the preceding tale for it to be possible to add anything to it.
Also in the end-crawl, several ladies are credited as "Women with Bad Teeth," so at least there was one solid laugh in the picture. We learn that many of the circus performers, about whom we learn nothing, and whom we do not see perform, have colorful names which they are not called in any scenes I saw. And just before the last studio logo credit, what I assume is a production company logo flashes up as two words crunched together: "wellmade." But please, sincerely, trust me to be the judge of that. (I sat through the whole thing so I could inform you that there is not an after-credits scene of any kind; I was expecting perhaps a short shot of maybe a kitchen sink hurtling toward the camera.)
If you watch The Warrior's Way, I will keep you in my prayers. I have given it half of a star because the baby has some great reaction shots, and Jang Dong-gun is as good as he could be, and would probably be better in something else. To manglingly paraphrase the great David Letterman, I wouldn't show this movie to a monkey on a rock. Or a ninja in the dirt. Or, certainly, you, dear reader. It's a nearly totally unremitting crapfest with few redeeming elements. Should I ever encounter it again in future, in thought or indeed, I shall spit upon the ground.
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