Even though I have found my soulmate, I often consider myself to be a loner at heart. If I was born in another time, perhaps I would be roaming the earth searching for a purpose. In some ways, I could consider myself to be like the lead actor in Warrior’s Way. A warrior who is the best swordsman in the land but empty in his heart. That however would change when one day I found my purpose. Will it change in his?
Yang’s (played by Jang Dong-gun) only purpose in his life is to become the greatest swordsman in the entire world. As a member of the Sad Flutes clan, he eventually accomplishes this goal by killing the former greatest swordsman in the land and every one in the opposing clan. However, there is a wrinkle in his future ambitions when he decides to take pity on a small baby who was daughter to one of the members. In deciding to watch over her, he incurs the wrath of his fellow members and he has take refuge.
After Yang burns his home and most of what he owns, he takes the baby and the katana and heads to a town named Lode. The town has become the remnants of what used to be an old carnival. The residents happen to be those who ran the carnival and are headed by Eight-Ball (played by Tony Cox). Yang is in search of an old friend named Smiley but sadly he died three years ago. Yang gets introduced to Lynne (played by Kate Bosworth) who used to be a friend to Smiley.
Lynne also runs the town’s laundry shop and teaches Yang the occupation (since Smiley did it before). Yang also receives a new name, Skinny. The baby is promptly named April (played by Analin Rudd) and the town benefits from the two. Yang also takes to gardening and is able to grow a bed of flowers in the harsh desert. However, life in the town of Lode isn’t all flowers and clean laundry as we will soon find out.
Lode many years ago came under siege from a corrupt Colonel (played by Danny Huston). The Colonel also had a thing for raping women who had all their teeth. Lynne is a pretty girl with all of her teeth. However, those many years ago when the Colonel tried to have his way with her, she ended up scarring his face with potato grease. As a result, the Colonel shoots Lynne and her whole family. However, when the town went to bury Lynne, she was still very much alive.
So through the years, Lynne has sought revenge by first learning to fight and then patiently waiting for her day to come. One day, she gets her wish when the Colonel comes to town to terrorize the folk once more. The Colonel is now wearing a mask to protect his scars from his bought with Lynne many years earlier. Will Yang help the townsfolk? However, it should be noted that if he does unsheathe his sword, he will warn the Sad Flutes of his very existence. Only time will tell what fate lies in the town of Lode.
I will admit I was pleasantly surprised by this tale. It started out a bit campy at the beginning with the stylized martial arts and bodies flying by the waste side. But once Yang gets to Lode, the story really picks up and does not skip a beat until the final credits. Dong-Gun as Yang fits his role perfectly as the almost quiet samurai who tries to fit in. Kate Bosworth is wonderfully spunky and easy on the eyes. Danny Huston is absolutely ruthless and one of the better villains I have seen in a while.
I also can not forget the performance of Geoffrey Rush who plays Ron, the town drunk. I will not give away his story, but it is one worth watching. My only minor issue was with the clan of the Sad Flutes. For such powerful samurai, their only power seems to be in the form of cannon fodder. It is almost akin to the idea of a hydra. Cut off a head and two more grow in its place. Well kill a Sad Flute and two more pop up in his place. It drags the film a bit at parts, but it is a minor complaint.
The video is in 2.40:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation in 1080p resolution. Gorgeous movie. The odd thing that you might not realize if I didn’t tell you, it is all set work with green screen and a ton of CGI. But it looks beautiful. There is a ton of detail in his ghost town which does not look like much when Yang first sets upon it. The color is well done and the circus atmosphere in the desert is eye catching and well worth gazing upon again.
For the audio portion, we get a 5.1 English DTS-HD audio track (also included is 5.1 Dolby Digital French). Sound is also very strong. Despite the subtle hints that this is nothing more than an action flic, the dialog is essential to the story and is clear. Action rules here and can produce some great surround movement. Speakers will fly and one will certainly enjoy everything that is around them. Subtitles are included for English, Spanish, and French.
- Deleted Scenes 12:10: Thirteen deleted scenes are included here. Some of them are in unfinished form and don’t really do much for me. Some good scenes are included here and it would have probably only added a little more charm to this wonderful film. I especially liked the extended fight scene near the end of the movie.
- Behind the Scenes Montage 2:26: The classic behind the scenes featurette which will kill some of the magic movie making. Translation, a lot of green screen. Oh and also, ridiculously short. This movie would have benefited greatly from a commentary.
- Digital Copy: The package also includes a digital copy for those who need the capability.
As mentioned in the comments, I was surprised by this movie. At first glance, this seemed to be a typical sword slasher, complete with more blood than a Saw sequel. But then it evolved into a heartwarming story with a bucketful of charm. Kate Bosworth and Danny Huston put on a couple of great performances and the rest of the cast does not miss a beat. In fact, I am willing to bet that despite this being a box office bomb of sorts, this will become a cult favorite in the years to come.
The disc package (which also sports a gorgeous slip cover in the first print run) boasts some great video and audio. The extras are unfortunately thin and I think this could have benefited better with a good commentary. As is, I am still very much recommending this flic for anybody who likes a little action and story mixed together. Give it the full hour and a half and I am sure you will come to appreciate The Warrior’s Way.