Written and Directed by Sngmoo Lee
Sent to kill the last remaining member of a rival clan, Yang (Jang Dong-gun) of the Sad Flutes clan takes pity on the infant and flees to the American West only to be found again when he has to save the town in which he lives.
They assembled an interesting and strong central cast. Jang Dong-gun is apparently a big star in South Korea but there is also Geoffrey Rush (expert marksman Ron), Kate Bosworth (Lynne-somewhat love interest for Yang), Danny Huston (The Colonel-think warlord), Tony Cox (Eight-Ball) and Ti Lung who does an amazing job as Saddest Flute who is the leader of the Sad Flutes clan. Each one was fantastic.
This movie is highly stylized and looks wonderful. The look is accomplished with what appears to be nothing more than sets and blue screen along with some fantastic wirework. This all gives the film a fantasy vibe. They leap through the air with a superhero like appearance.
Yang is your typical lone better than the best character. This does not matter because they managed to make it something special here. Jang Dong-gun has great screen presence in this movie. He is able to pull off silent and stoic with a heavy helping of intimidation.
There is more dust and sand in the town where the story mainly occurs than there is in the entire Sahara. I am talking ridiculous amounts. You wonder if there is even a water source and how these people came to pick this spot to build a town. They have a plan to bring business and people back by starting a carnival with the focus being a Ferris wheel, but nobody even seems to be coming to that town to begin with.
This is not your typical Western film town. It is not bustling and there’s not cattle or cowboys coming through and this is one of the few times I do not recall anybody going to a saloon in a Western. Yes, they have a town drunk, but he never talks about the saloon.
My major beef with The Warrior’s Way is that it has two villains in it that connect in no way other than during the final confrontation. You got The Colonel (Danny Houston) and Saddest Flute (Ti Lung) who both do an amazing job. One is the usual Western warlord type that is actually the one in charge of the small town and pillages it regularly. With Saddest Flute you have the mentor now turned enemy of the other guy-in this case Yang. I do not know if they necessarily need to team up specifically. The presence of one brought the presence of the other but other than that there is no connection between the two. It is more coincidence than anything that they are there. I know there is a bit of mysticism in this movie with the unsheathing of the blade calling to Saddest Flute. It just did not work for me as well as it could have.
The Warrior’s Way is a good movie that somehow never connected with audiences. It is not only a great action film but a great martial arts fantasy film. It is one of those hidden gems that you should definitely take a look at.