A successful example of the tropes exchange program, The Warrior’s Way happily treats its novelty, mashup premise—cowboys meet ronin—as the most natural thing in the world, and goes ahead with its business. Yang (Dong-gun Jang) earns the enmity of his assassin brothers by sparing the last infant member of a rival clan, so departs to America with the baby. Pulling into the desert ‘burg of Lode, an easygoing, democratic backwater populated principally by circus folk, he sets up a laundry and meets local sot Geoffrey Rush (with Unforgiven backstory) and rangy, copper-haired gal Kate Bosworth (Annie Get Your Katana). Nothing is done by half measures in Sngmoo Lee’s fantasia West, with fuchsia sunsets, night skies of more stars than sky—and spectacular violence, as Danny Huston’s disfigured, sadist outlaw and his filthy underlings menace the townsfolk, and Yang’s vengeance-minded brothers follow him in a hijacked ship, leaving a trail of gore across the Pacific. Spectacular image overload and hyperbolic style meet Javier Navarrete’s Spaghetti score, which is derivative in every detail, obvious, and very enjoyable, much like the movie it serves.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 1, 2010