The Warrior (2002)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
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as Princess Bu-yong
as Choi Jung
as Lt. Ga-nam
as Rambulhua, Yuan General
Critic Reviews for The Warrior
Kim Seong-su focuses on the action, putting aside the rest of the story's aspects and particularly the romantic relationships, which are not developed at all. On the other hand, the characters' analysis is thorough, considering the nature of the film.
Audience Reviews for The Warrior
Fast and bloody action, complex characterization and subtle character interactions, great cinematography, ferocious battles and insights into death, glory and the human condition that would do Kurosawa, or even Homer, proud. Just don't expect "wire-fu" because Ziyi Zhang (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) and Yu Rong Guang (Iron Monkey) are in it. There's enough sword play, spear fighting and archery that the "wire fu" isn't missed. The third act drags a bit but there's enough action to keep one entertained.
Musa The Warrior is one of those films that is not exactly a war movie and it is not exactly a martial arts epic. It is more in between. Yes, this is a good movie, but Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon it is not.
While the story is pretty good it isn't all that deep, which isn't good for a movie that is 2 hours and 15 minutes long. This movie is slow with a decent amount of action, but with the long runtime this film drags on and is a bit bland and a little boring. There are a good amount of supporting characters, which is a plus, and this helps from always seeing the same minimal faces all the time. It just takes a little too long to build them all up.
The action is lord of the ringesque, which means there isn't any fancy martial arts swordplay. Most of the time it is large groups of people colliding in these epic type of battles on horseback. This is actually OK, if you think about it, because this style fits nicely into the story. The last 40 minutes is a drawn out battle at a fortress. This sets up a dramatic ending.
The fights aren't entirely bloody, but this film makes good use of it. The way the blood splatters as people are cut and shot is well done and seemingly realistic, like most of the fights.
One of the better aspects of this film is the acting. Zhang Ziyi is great to see on screen, but with her not participating in the action sequences, it is a little disappointing. Sung-kee Ahn gives the best performance and Yu Rongguang is a good Mongol. He has the perfect goatee going on.
If you like epic types of stories while not really caring about fancy action, then this film is what you are looking for.
A disparate collection of travellers including soldiers, diplomats, and refugees are thrown together in 14th century china as they are pursued by the Mongol army . Known as The Warrior in the UK, this historical epic inevitably draws comparison to Hero and House of Flying Daggers, but actually is more in the tradition of Kurosawa than those more fantasy based offerings. Clearly owing debts to Seven Samurai and The Hidden Fortress in particular, it's also influenced by John Ford's cavalry films in that it takes the time to explore all of the characters involved and the rich collection of antagonistic factions and conflicting loyalties make for a much more interesting character dynamic than most. It may not have the artsy visuals and production value of the projects of Zhang Yimou or Ang Lee but the grittier approach makes for a beautifully crafted historical adventure with just the right balance of heroism and believability, with beautifully shot locations and grippingly realistic, bloody battle sequences. Although it was a co-production with the Chinese film industry, Musa still deserves recognition as one of the films that marked the coming of age of Korean film making and is one of the best Asian historical epics of recent years.
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