Movie Review - The Warrior's Way

BY ROBERT HAMMERLE, special guest contributor to Hammervision

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"The Warrior's Way" is slow, laborious and tedious beyond belief. To use a logical syllogism, it is to "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (2000) what Sarah Palin is to rational thought. And that analogy risks the near impossible, namely insulting Ms. Palin's intellect.

This is one of those movies where you literally have seen everything in the previews. In those previews, numerous ninja like assassins materialize out of thin air, landing gracefully on the roofs of an old western town. Looking both artistic and foreboding, it suggests that this movie might follow in the legendary footsteps of both in "Hero" (2002) and the above referred to "Crouching Tiger."

Unfortunately, the opposite is true. The flimsy plot involves an undefined war going on in China between two clans dedicated to exterminating the other. When our hero, Yang (played by the South Korean super stud Dong-gun Jang), destroys all of his enemies but a small baby, he is forced to flee to the American West with the child to escape his friends who have now turned on him.

As bad as the lightweight storyline is, it is not helped by repetitive battle scenes that are little more than stop action camera tricks that grow old quite quickly. It seems that when these ninja assassins attack, they have the misfortune of pausing in thin air, thereby allowing our hero to readily dispatch them in an orgy of blood.

The only positive thing one can say about this disaster is the fact that the settings in the Old West are artistically shot against a background of rather gorgeously painted landscapes, mostly involving rich colors of the cosmos. However, this provides little satisfaction other than to temporarily dull the pain of watching this mess.

Quite frankly, it is incomprehensible that the great Geoffrey Rush would have signed on to appear in "The Warrior's Way," particularly when he is playing a pathetic drunk for most of the film. However, his performance is Oscar worthy compared to the limp, embarrassing contribution by Kate Bosworth as a semi-attractive western hayseed bent on revenge. Mr. Rush can at least find solace that "The King's Speech" will be released in the Midwest in several weeks, thus allowing him to escape any long-term damage to his reputation. I'm afraid Ms. Bosworth is not so fortunate.

As an aside, the western town where all of the action eventually takes place is populated by an itinerate group of circus people who have decided to congregate in a location set in nowhere for reasons unexplained. If you want to see an absolutely charming film involving social misfits that is both funny and possesses some significant social relevance, go see the French film released earlier this year, "Micmacs." This is a tremendously entertaining movie about a guy who is accidentally wounded in a drive-by shooting, the bullet remaining in his brain. He ends up joining forces with a bunch of other lovably eccentric outcasts who seek retribution against the French Armament industry that manufactured the bullet that shot him.

Skip "The Warrior's Way" and rent "Micmacs," the sleeper hit of the year that no one saw.

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