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Forbidden Warrior Reviews

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Remi L

Super Reviewer

May 2, 2009
Maybe there was a cultural divide between myself and the director, but I just didn't get this film. I'll be honest, I only watched it because Sung Kang was in it, but this movie just didn't click with me. The whole time I was watching it, I was thinking I missed my accompanying guide that I was supposed to read beforehand in order to understand what was going on.
July 20, 2012
The Forbidden Warrior is a movie about a woman, Seki (which, go figure, means "The Chosen One"), who is hidden away in a magical world, and comes to discover that she is imbued with mysterious powers that eventually lead her to read the "Ancient Book." The book is magical and cannot be read by anyone else, much to the chagrin of the antagonist, a warlord named Che-Khan. Che-Khan spends the majority of the introduction teaching his sons, Locust and Doran that as Khans, they must kill in order to maintain power. To that end, Che-Khan teaches his sons sword fighting, hand to hand combat as well as staff fighting, in preparation of one day finding and bringing him The Chosen One. The problem is that, while Doran is the superior swordsman, he cannot bring himself to bring the death blow when sparring with his brother. He does not see the necessity of it, which is displeasing to Che-Khan.

Che-Khan gives each son a page out of the Ancient Book to help identify the Chosen One and sends them out to find a, supposedly, male with a scar behind his left ear. Che-Khan tells them that the one who returns the Chosen One to him will be his heir. As Locust and Doran part, one searching east and the other west, another character is inexplicably brought into the search. A pirate named Lank also searches for the Chosen One because he wants some magic in his life. The three of them are referred to as "the three winds" by a seer who sleeps most of his life away. The seer only awakens when something significantly evil is about to befall humankind.

Seki is trained her entire life in the way of the warrior by her magical Sifu, Ajis-Aka, unaware of her true identity. Upon awakening, the seer warns Seki and Ajis-Aka of the three winds. Ajis-Aka tells Seki that one wind will appeal to her body, the other to her soul and the third to her heart. And this is where the story begins to completely break down in the telling, because via a cheesy attempt at foreshadowing we find out that among Ajis-Aka's magical abilities is the ability to resurrect the recently dead - as long as the heart is not pierced. Oh, and there is a random meeting between Seki and her birth father where he only identifies himself as "Friend."

Seki first comes upon the pirate, Lank, whom she befriends. Reza is Lank's woman and is none too pleased to witness the immediate attraction between Lank and Seki. Unfortunately, this is all we get to know about Reza because she is eventually killed by Locust and his men; fight unseen. Next, Seki comes upon Doran - the gentle and kindhearted son of Che-Khan. Somehow, with only an initial chance meeting, and a follow up meeting that causes Lank and Doran to fight, Doran falls in love with Seki. Doran easily defeats Lank, but lets him leave; only to meet up with him later, in the clutches of Locust.

For some reason that fails to be revealed, Locust kills Reza but takes Lank and his two henchmen prisoner. Locust finds Seki and Doran and tries to take Seki from Doran by force. Of course, Doran steps up to protect Seki despite knowing that he and Seki were born to be enemies. Lank creates a diversion so that Seki and Doran can get away, and is killed. While running away Seki uses, what can only be referred to as her airbending powers - ala Avatar: The Last Airbender - against Locust's henchmen, and then is accidentally shot by an arrow Locust happily intended for Doran. Doran runs Seki to Ajis-Aka, but she dies on the way.
Ajis-Aka is able to resurrect Seki, aided by a life-giving kiss from Doran, only for Doran to leave and fight Locust. Mind you, prior to this, Doran and Seki have not embraced and there definitely was no spit exchanged. They had not even touched faces or hands, rubbed each other's foreheads, nor was there even a look of sensuous, puppy dog, longing.

Further, now that Locust has established that he would be rather pleased kill his brother, he inexplicably tells Doran that he loves him as he runs Doran through; his armpit. Ajis-Aka uses some magic to disable Locust and his men so that he could bring Doran in and try to heal him...So why does Ajis-Aka not use his magic BEFORE Locust had an opportunity to injure his brother? (Oh...That's right. The story would have to have ended there or, gasp...be more fully developed!)

While attempting to heal Doran, Ajis-Aka determines that Doran was stabbed in the heart, from the front, not the armpit. But before he dies, Doran tells Seki to take his sword because wherever she carries the sword, he will be with her. Leaving Ajis-Aka so he can try to heal Doran, Seki steps out to confront Locust for killing - who we are supposed to believe is - the love of her life. And while Doran dies, Ajis-Aka tells Doran - of Doran's abiding love for Seki - to Doran. But we are still not at the stupid parts.

Seki and Locust fight, and Locust almost wins. But then Seki defeats Locust, sparing his life and making him (pinky) swear to never use his sword against his brother's sword, or any sword, for the rest of his life. Rather than giving his royal word, Locust says, "I understand," (NOT, "I swear") and then just walks off into the sunset, weaponless. Now, not to belabor the point, but Seki did not make Locust swear off staffs, Krav-Maga, or any other weaponry or fighting styles, so why did Locust give up so easily? And why did his henchmen not go with him?
Finally, we are led to believe that Seki must leave Sifu Ajis-Aka to discover her true destiny as it relates to the Ancient Book. Seki bids Sifu a tearful and poorly acted farewell, then meets her Friend/Father at the water and they sail off.
The End.

Disappointingly, there is no Ancient Book-related adventure, no determining exactly what the relationship between Seki's ability to read the Ancient Book and her other abilities is - such that we develop a clear understanding of what makes her The Chosen One. We never find out how warlord Che-Khan got hold of the book - ostensibly from Seki's family; a family that consists of her father/Friend, the grandfather Miyamoto that she does not know, and who may or may not still be alive, and a mother who was murdered while giving birth to her. How are the warlord and Seki's family connected? Further, we never find out why Seki's family is imbued with the book and its powers, the familial purpose in the larger plan, nor do we get to see how her relationship with her newly discovered father develops. Why can her father not read it? Does the ability skip a generation?

I could go on and on, but I would belabor the point more painfully than I already have. The writer and director failed miserably in the telling of this story on so many levels. They would have done a better job if they deleted everything between her arrival at the island of magic and her meeting with the Three Winds - no, make that the Two Winds. The Lank character served no purpose except to lengthen a painfully boring story. Had they saved those minutes of everyone's lives, they would have been able to send Seki on her adventure with her father in tow, and have her discover her true self as it pertains to the Ancient Book - and the warlord. And do not even get me started on the musical score.

All that being said, the story was still compelling in that it had great potential. It is just too bad the writer and director failed to take full advantage of that fact.
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