The film opens with a scene already available in shortened form on YouTube, shown below. It’s a scene of an ambush at a pond. When viewed in standard definition of off Xbox Live, however, the CGI looks like something from a “Final Fantasy” video game, and that’s not a compliment. The CGI looks almost lifelike, but it’s just off enough to be distracting. The ninjas, of course, look cool, but like nearly every wire-fu-fest that we’ve had to endure since The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, it is completely unoriginal, and the ninja gimmick has worn very thin.
Directly after this scene, we see the hero confront The Greatest Swordsman in the History of Mankind. We know this because a narrator tells us so. Just in case we didn’t get the point, however, the filmmakers found it necessary to post the words “THE GREATEST SWORDSMAN IN THE HISTORY OF MANKIND…EVER” on the screen, Scott Pilgrim-style, underneath the character. That made me laugh, which obviously was not their intention for an R-rated martial arts film.
Never mind the fact that it was unnecessary for them to post the word EVER after you’ve established the fact that this is the greatest swordsman in the history of mankind. It’s redundant, but it isn’t as ludicrous as what happened next. The hero then kills the greatest swordsman in a single swing across his belly with his samurai sword. The move didn’t even require much skill; in fact, I think I could have stopped it with a pair of chopsticks. The fact that the “greatest swordsman ever” failed to block it tells me either the guy was either seriously overrated or the filmmakers are just sloppy writers. After seeing just two minutes of The Warrior’s Way, I really don’t care which it is.
The trailers of The Warrior’s Way look great, and everyone is talking about the impressive visuals. Frankly, getting the visuals right is easy: what’s hard is making viewers care about the characters. For all the impressive visuals, the first two minutes of Warrior’s Way are empty, vapid, and completely soulless. It rips off the aforementioned Crouching Tiger, as well as Kurosawa and Samurai Jack for good measure, and does none of it well. Unfortunately, some viewers will eat this up based simply on how it looks in trailers and the fact that this is a ninjas versus cowboys story, so we’re told.
The only saving grace this film may have is Geoffrey Rush, who apparently stars in the film but is hardly shown in trailers. Kate Bosworth is also in the film, but I haven’t liked her since she helped ruin Superman Returns. And would someone please feed that girl something?
I don’t need a fortune cookie to see this film going down in flames. It looks pretty terrible from the get-go, and I can’t have much faith in a film that was originally titled, and I’m not kidding, The Laundry Warrior.
The Warrior’s Way sneak preview is available for free download now on the Xbox Live Marketplace.