"The Warrior's Way" is a silly, cheap, dumb CGI laden actioner that tries to mix the genres of Western and Samurai variety; as a few before it have. As much as I love drunk cowboys and keen badass Asians fighting alongside each-other from time-to-time, you still need to work around the clichés and create a unique, fun ride if you want to impress this movie-goer; or anyone else who's genuinely intelligent, for the matter. This film was made without wit, and it exists, yes, for an audience that could be called "stupid". It's an annoying, bloody mess of violence and special effects. There comes a time when enough is enough.
The film goes (pretty much) all the way when it comes to just being dull, tedious boring, and worst of all, not a whole lot of fun. I expect samurai-western hybrids to be a lot of dumb fun; but this is just nigh horrendous. No doubt, I've seen worse films, but come on; this isn't the slightest bit impressive. I mean, since when are almost completely CGI action sequences impressive? You know what's impressive (as far as samurai movies go)? Takashi Miike's masterful "13 Assassins". Now there's a samurai action epic to see. It made use of deceptive effects; mostly traditional. Hence, the kind that you don't notice are special effects unless you look real close. This film instead makes use of green-screen and a poor man's idea of "surrealism". Those who call it surreal have obviously never seen a film with such qualities. As we all know; you have to be a true talent to capture the dream.
This review is going to be a bit of a rant, I must admit. This isn't one of the worst films I saw from 2010, but it's far from acceptable or decent. There's plenty about it that should make you want to avoid it, even though samurai-film enthusiasts may be a bit more understanding and sympathetic than I am. I'm not new to this action sub-genre and I appreciate it greatly; but I don't appreciate when a filmmaker attempts to tackle such material and fails miserably.
So onwards with the story (chuckles). The film begins with a fierce warrior (Jang Dong Gun), who belongs to the Sad Flutes clan of samurai, killing of the last of an enemy clan. He discovers that the last of the lot he must kill is a baby; although he refuses to do so and takes the youngster under his wing. And eventually, the kid moves from under the wing to hanging by a stick. Oh, goody. Basically, what I'm saying with that is: the warrior travels with the child, teaches him; loves him.
However, the quiet warrior soon finds new love when he stumbles upon an old Western town. It is there he meets a whole new cast of curious characters: a town drunk (Geoffrey Rush) and a beautiful woman named Lynn (Kate Bosworth), to name a few. There's also a carnival crew headed by a midget who calls himself Eight-Ball (Tony Cox). We learn that the now desolate, quiet, ignored town was once a source of great attraction for those seeking entertainment in the form of, well, a carnival. However, getting the carnival back up and running is the least of problems for the characters; villains are hiding in the darkness, waiting to strike. Certain characters appear to have pasts with one antagonist in particular (Danny Huston). But let's not get into that too much.
As a reviewer, I can't spoil too much for you since you might want to see the film regardless of what I thought. Personally, I think it's underwritten and pathetic; with big action set pieces taking the spotlight over characters or plot. The dialogue is stupid and uninspired; and the actors don't seem very dedicated to their roles. The film has a few entertaining action scenes, but as I said, close to all of them are creations of CGI; so calling them well-made would be a sin. Perhaps you could say they are...well animated? I'm all for our movies looking slick, new, and overall nice; but when there's no sign of substance, you're in trouble; oh yes you are. "The Warrior's Way" can be described with many words, but I can think of a good one to end this review with: lame.