Steampunk Movie Review: The Warrior’s Way (2010)
This is probably one of the coolest movies you have never heard of. It only ended up in my possession because The Mister was digging through a DVD bargain bin and came across something he thought I’d like. So we saddled up our whiskey 7’s and had ourselves a movie night.
The story centers on Yang, the greatest swordsman in the world. He gains this title at the very beginning of the film when he brings down the head of a rival clan. Yang’s mission is to obliterate the whole family, but when he is met with the innocent eyes of his rival’s baby girl, he throws away his whole life to keep her safe. In an effort to flee his past and ensure her future, he sets sail for the American West to find a friend whom he has not seen in many years.
When he arrives, the once-thriving town has fallen on hard times due to the marauding of local bandits (and probably because it is in the middle of a desert. Which desert, or even the year in which the film is meant to take place, is never revealed). He takes over a laundromat, and he and his adopted daughter are taken in by the circus folk who remain even after the fair has been closed. He even makes a few friends, like the local drunk (Geoffrey Rush), and the diminutive ringleader (Tony Cox), and finds himself falling in love with a feisty knife-thrower, Lynne (Kate Bosworth).
When the bandits return, Lynne vows to take her revenge on the man who ruined her life (Danny Huston) and Yang is forced to pick up his blade to defend his new home. Too bad for Yang that his enemies can hear his sword singing even from across the sea…
So far, this dystopian West-meets-East flick is the only offering by writer/director Sngmoo Lee, but if he made another film I would see it in a heartbeat. The cinematography was bold and beautiful, and I felt like it was a tight film that, like a ninja sword master, didn’t waste any of its energy on the extraneous. There is certainly violence, but as often as not it is handled either as art or pure spectacle, which takes away a lot of its bite. The broken down circus and the decrepit town make an incredible backdrop for both pathos and action.