The Warrior’s Way (2010) | Review by Hannah Brooks-Motl
The Warrior’s Way has made a pendulum of the tomatometer. Some critics love its reckless gaudiness and baroque violence; others deplore the inane silliness splashed all over a whole butt-ton of blue screens. With one eye the meter reads a solid 60 percent, and with the other a generous 30. The movie does in fact average about 45 near-rotting tomatoes, but that’s only on an empty stomach filled with popcorn and Diet Coke, in the midst of finals week, and on cheap ticket Tuesday. Mark got the best joke when, during one of the many scenes in The Warrior’s Way set in a bombed-out fairgrounds inexplicably plunked down on the edges of a made-in-backlot-six ghost town, one in which the town’s deracinated circus performers were yet again gathered for obscure reasons involving Danny Huston in a leather face-thong, he leaned over to whisper, “every scene in this movie is a metaphor about the making of this movie.” Then something went up in flames and the unbelievably handsome Dong-gun Jang waved his sword around in slow motion while blood droplets spewed, falling across the screen as languidly as our hopes of watching a better film.
There’s a baby in The Warrior’s Way that you actually see quite a lot of. Her name you find out sometime in the last 30 minutes is April. There is also a black midget, a truly obnoxious Kate Bosworth, and Geoffrey Rush. And there is some video game with which we are thankfully unfamiliar prancing around in the back story, occasionally deploying its armies of cloaked ninjas and digitized backdrops. There is a sad heart to this movie, or maybe that was us wanting there to be a something at the somewhere in the two hours we spent watching it. When Dong-gun Jang, who is unbelievably handsome, learns that as an assassin he can only ever destroy the things he loves, and then there’s a flashback of him as a kid-assassin-in-training killing his cute Lapso Apso, we felt the huge wheel of time and circumstance and deep, uncontrollable regret grind to a lonely halt in front of the unopened third door of our mind. We stood there alone gazing at it. Something glinted in its abyss. Then we heard a voice emerge from it. It said, “Crouching Plot, Hidden Genre.” It sounded like Mark.