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Blu-Ray Review: Ridiculous ‘The Warrior’s Way’ Works as Guilty Pleasure

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CHICAGO – Singmoo Lee’s “The Warrior’s Way” is by no means a traditionally “good” movie but it does pass one basic test of escapist Blu-ray fare — I was never bored. And I was often entertained by the cheesy merging of styles on display in this hyper-stylized ninja western, a piece of work that could easily find a loyal audience on the home market. It was summarily ignored in theaters, being released at the very wrong time of the year as a particularly-healthy awards season was kicking up at the end of 2010, but it’s just silly enough in the right ways to work as a rental.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 3.0/5.0

Assassin. Hero. Legend.” The back of the box for “The Warrior’s Way” may lead potential renters or buyers into thinking they’re in for a traditional lone swordsman piece but this is no “Zatoichi.” It’s a weird little movie that features waves of ninjas, circus people, an Oscar winner (and recent nominee) and a deformed villain played by one of our best actors at totally chewing the scenery. I can’t say that “The Warrior’s Way” works in a traditional sense — it’s too inconsistent tonally and it’s impossible to really care about anything that’s happening — but I could easily see someone who gets on this weird movie’s wavelength enjoying it and maybe even recommending it to their friends. What more do you want from a movie that could have been called “Cowboys and Ninjas”?

The Warrior's Way was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 28th, 2011
The Warrior’s Way was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 28th, 2011
Photo credit: Fox

Jang Dong Gun plays a legendary warrior who flees from his people before they can kill him and ends up in a small town in the American West. He gets close to a local woman (Kate Bosworth) with a tragic past and crosses path with a town drunk (Geoffrey Rush) while dealing with the corrupt Colonel (Danny Huston) who terrorizes the townspeople. Naturally, the action-packed final act centers on both the warrior’s past and that of his new gal pal coming to a violent climax in the center of town like “High Noon” meets “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.”

Of course, “The Warrior’s Way” is nowhere near either of those movies but Huston does a strong job playing the villain and Singmoo has an interesting visual eye, setting the majority of the piece in a small town that sometimes feels not only like it’s in the middle of nowhere but it’s on another planet. The biggest problem with “Way” is at the center as Jang Dong Gun isn’t an engaging enough lead and Bosworth has never been that interesting an actress. We never come to care for these characters we should for the piece truly to work but as pure action escapism, it’s not as bad as its lackluster theatrical release might have led you to believe.

A solid Blu-ray release helps as this is the kind of movie that should really be appreciated in HD. The release is disappointingly scant on special features. but so few people actually saw “The Warrior’s Way” that you can’t really blame Fox for not pulling out the bonus material.

Special Features:
o Deleted Scenes
o Behind-the-Scenes Montage

“The Warrior’s Way” stars Jang Dong Gun, Kate Bosworth, Danny Huston, Tony Cox, and Geoffrey Rush. It was written and directed by Singmoo Lee. It is rated R and was released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 28th, 2011.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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