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Gavin Grades The Movies

The Warrior's Way

"You're as slow as molasses in January," is an actual line uttered through an awful and fleeting southern accent by actress Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns, 21) and not only does it drip with Velveeta, but it could be a general thought for the whole film.  The Warrior's Way is a Kung Fu/Western from first time director Sngmoo Lee.  Asian Cinema has always shared a kinship with the Western genre, but in the last year or so it seemed that over half of all the films coming out of Asia are either remakes of Westerns, take place in the American Old West or blend the two...much like The Warrior's Way did.  That's not a complain; it's just an interesting observation.  The story for this is that of a Samurai assassin that refuses to kill a baby for his clan and takes the baby and hides in an old west town in California.  Not a bad story, but the promise of this film is action, action, action.  The payoff is goofy, plodding and dull.  Aside from Bosworth, Korean star Dong-gun Jan and Geoffry Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean, Munich) star in this mostly fantasy adventure that spends more time trying to show what a director can do with a Green Screen than what he can do with a story.  Full disclosure though, I've never been much of a fan of Asian Cinema.  I especially don't like it when Asian actors attempt to speak English in the films and it's told through an American filter.  I personally believe that it slows everything down and makes the film more of a parody or mockery than anything else.  I have several Asian movies in my collection at home but they're all subtitled since I think that's the only true way to get a quality performance out of the Asian actors.  This was the case with The Warrior's Way and even when you surround Jan with decent actors who give it their all, especially Danny Huston (Wolverine, Children of Men) who never disappoints as a villain, it's still not the pace that can hold my attention and make me glad I'm still watching.  However, I did take my friend Dave with me to see it.  Dave is a big Anime fan and liked the film.  He said the film screams Anime and even seems like still frames of animation at times that are more about the rich colors and imagery than they are about the story or dialogue.  Okay.  I can respect that.  Makes more sense to know that as oppose to wondering why it seems to be raining lotus petals in the middle of the California desert through most of the more dramatic scenes.  But even if you're going to be a fun, don't-take-it-too-seriously action film, I feel like there should be some actual action in it.  Lee confused body count with action,  Just because you can make a scene filled with killings doesn't make it exciting to see.  When it comes down to it, this film is stylized for a certain audience and I just wasn't it.  I'm also the same person who still can't figure out why Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon got the Oscars it did.  One of the last lines of the movies, still covered in cheese and uttered through that same awful southern accent of Bosworth's, was, "Is this the end or just the beginning?"  Ugh, as far as I'm concerned, I sure hope it's the end. The Warrior's Way (Rated R) Gavin Grade: D+

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12/02/2010 7:23PM
The Warrior's Way
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