The Warrior's Way Sngmoo Lee

The Warrior's Way Sngmoo Lee
Conflicting tones make The Warrior's Way a perplexing and oddly boring viewing experience. On the one hand, director/writer Sngmoo Lee's debut is a highly stylized martial arts picture with resplendent design elements that never fully cohere; it aims for the ground somewhere between the cartoonishness of Kung Fu Hustle and the gory homage comedy of Kill Bill, but comes across worse than Blood: The Last Vampire. On the other hand, it's a cruel, sadistic revenge flick, where one of the "likeable" characters throws a rock at a baby's face to prove a point and the villain is a dentally fixated paedophile who relishes kicking the shit out of a young girl who's already lying in the dirt, bleeding out from a shotgun wound to the back. For some context, Dong-gun Jang stars as Yang, a warrior who acquires the mantle of "Greatest Swordsman Ever" in the opening scene. His mastery of the blade allows him to dispatch most foes with a single strike, but his heart prevents him from being ruthless enough to eradicate an entire clan when the last surviving member is an adorable baby girl. Seriously, that baby steals every scene; it's no wonder Lee cuts to infant reaction shots instead of structuring actual comedy. Yang's clan isn't so understanding of his reluctance to butcher a baby, opting to hunt him down for this perceived transgression. Seeking refuge in the west, Yang takes up residence in a small circus town in the American badlands. Of course, the town has problems of its own: all the inhabitants are broadly acted stereotypes that are sporadically terrorized by an evil Colonel (Danny Huston, 30 Days of Night) and his posse of grimy henchmen. If you can't see where this is headed, Kate Bosworth (horribly miscast as a scrappy tomboy knife thrower) is probably the only Lois Lane you know. Geoffrey Rush plays a marginalized drunk with, predictably, a secret past, and also the narrator – a role that only makes sense after seeing a deleted alternate ending. Most of the deleted scenes are fun simply because of the unfinished effects with green screens covering every bit of the background. The only other feature, a "Behind the Scenes Montage," is actually just a standard "Making Of" with cast and crew interviews, and redundant film clips interspersed with on-set footage. If you're looking for ways to waste your time, The Warrior's Way is one of them. (Alliance)