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The Warrior’s Way (2010)
Assassin. Hero. Legend.
Filmmaker(s): Lee Seung-moo

A warrior-assassin is forced to hide in a small town in the American Badlands after refusing a mission.

The Warrior’s Way (2010)


I rushed to see this on the big screen because I expect it to go away quickly. This is another movie where the watching is itself not rewarding; the reward is in the awareness of sharing the experience of a risky, somewhat twisted experience.

What we have here are cowboys and ninjas or more precisely the fully overloaded genres because the genre itself is not the target but the genres which twist the base.

On that score it is mildly amusing, along the lines of ‘The Quick and the Dead.‘ But when you play this game, the only tools you have are peculiar juxtaposition and exaggeration.

What makes this more interesting are the three catalytic devices that are used. Their selection and use is intriguing.

On the character end, the girl here is not from the western genre at all, but a specific franchise that currently has more power. She plays Jessie from Toy Story, a cartoon of a cartoon of a cartoon. Because she has to also juxtapose and exaggerate, she is made into a scruffy redhead and her tomboy strengths are pulled first toward comic inadequacy and then revenge-fueled power. Jessie the Cowgirl meets Deborah Kerr meets Zoe Lund.

On the situation side we have the very creative insertion of clowns. They are there for no essential story reason and indeed the plot hardly even explains them. But they are essential for the fusion, giving us an established background foundation. The two genres are not merely combined: they are both imposed on a constipated circus.

The final device is purely cinematic. Since the environments are purely greenscreen fabrications they can be anything you can imagine. What was imagined here was crisp buildings in a gauzy, dreamlike landscape.

I cannot say that all this added up to a Ruiz or Greenaway. But the choices were fascinating and intelligent. As a first film, it is remarkable.

Posted in 2011

Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.


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