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Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (2012)

tomatometer

50

Average Rating: 6.1/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 3

No consensus yet.

audience

79

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 4,432

My Rating

Movie Info

Wei Te-sheng's epic film Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale reclaims an extraordinary episode from 20thcentury history which is little-known, even in Taiwan. Between 1895 and 1945, the island was a Japanese colony inhabited not only by the majority (Han Chinese Immigrants) but also by the remnants of the aboriginal tribes who first settled the mountainous land. In 1930 Mouna Rudo, the leader of the Seediq tribe settled on and around Mount Chilai, forged a coalition with other Seediq tribal

Unrated,

Drama

Te-Sheng Wei

Aug 7, 2012

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All Critics (13) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (3)

At times, Warriors sacrifices dramatic nuance for scale, but even its most rousing passages are tempered by a sense of loss.

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You can see why Woo, the noted Hong Kong action director, would want to produce it: It fits right in with his "heroic bloodshed" cinematic legacy.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As the war drags on, "Warriors of the Rainbow" outstays its welcome. I've never seen more severed heads in a film and cared less.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An ambitious, blood-soaked retelling of an uprising by Taiwanese natives against Japanese occupiers.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At 2 1/2 hours, "Warriors" is a bruising, relentless experience, one more tiring than inspiring.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The film's alternating talky torpor and frantic mayhem makes Warriors feel like it's operating in either fast-forward or slow motion...

April 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Bruising, brutal tale of rebellion in early 20th Century Taiwan suffers from overkill.

September 5, 2012 Full Review Source: sbs.com.au
sbs.com.au

The Taiwanese epic doesn't shy away from anything even though the message is pretty hopeless. But all of the film's depth seems to have been stripped away.

August 7, 2012 Full Review Source: Examiner.com
Examiner.com

The film includes some stunning visuals, including a few terrific jungle battle scenes.

April 28, 2012 Full Review Source: Cinemalogue.com
Cinemalogue.com

Given China's ongoing interest in the island and its unknowable future, this historical backstory behind current events is welcome indeed.

April 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle | Comment (1)
Austin Chronicle

Taiwanese natives battle occupying Japanese forces in a doomed uprising. Exciting if exhausting account of a real-life incident.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

At two and a half hours, Warriors Of The Rainbow has the shape of something weightier than the simplified good-vs.-evil movie it actually is.

April 26, 2012 Full Review Source: AV Club | Comment (1)
AV Club

There's something to be said about a two-and-a-half-hour war epic that manages to make each of its countless decapitation scenes feel earned, even called for, in the moment.

April 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Audience Reviews for Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale

Epic movie..really well done. Beautifully filmed -- Avatar coming to life in the real world. Certainly as violent as any movie ever made, but done in a way that it did not seem out of place with all the action. I am thankful that this story has been told, and told well.
November 13, 2013
itsjustme2004

Super Reviewer

The very best Asian Movie I have ever had the pleasure of watching, based on a true story of the clan know as Seedig Bale and the Japanese Ocupation of Taiwan. The whole film is unreal in its detail a must see 5 stars 11-29-12
November 29, 2012
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Brief (Not Detailed) Historical Background: Warning Contains Spoilers
Warriors of the Rainbow is a movie based around the very tragic and violent WuShe Incident which was the last major uprising of Japanese colonial rule in Taiwan in the 1930s. In a very violent response to against Japanese oppression that would lead to a very violent bloodshed. The Seediq indigenous group leader, Mona Rudao, led over 300 Seediq people in an attacked in the WuShe village. The Seediq killed 134 Japanese, including women and children. The consequences of this incident would be lead to a bloodbath resulting in very harsh military action by the Japanese army against the Seediq indigenous, despite the superior numbers and firepower. The Japanese army was then force to use tear gas bombs which is the first recorded event of chemical warfare in Asia. Mona Rudao, along with over Seediq 290 indigenous, committed suicide and 644 were died in the uprising. The remaining Seediq were relocated to a new area in 1931 after the harsh action taken by the Japanese government, though another incident in WuShe by other violent indigenous group resulting led to the extinction of the Seediq people and culture.

Warriors of the Rainbow is one very detailed, very violent, and a very questionable movie. If this movie had a wide release it would be the topic of controversy and controversy it has already generated in its country. As with any violently heavy historical event, the filmmakers have the challenge of accurately representing the people, conveying a message of the event, and most importantly respect those involve in the incident. With such a difficult balance and a trouble production history which resulted in being one of the most expensive Taiwan film ever made, the end results it a great piece of history being told to audience. There's two version of Warriors of the Rainbow, one being the US version which is two and a half hours long which is the one I saw at the 68th Venice Film Festival (as well Johnnie To Life Without Principle). While the US version is good, you'll be satisfied if you watched the uncut four and a half hour version which is the version I'm reviewing.

The uncut version of Warriors of the Rainbows is divided into two segments, the first being The Sun Flag which contains most of the story. The Sun Flag segment concentrates the struggles of between oppressive Japanese and the oppress Seediq and the events leading to the WuShe incident. Despite its long length I'm surprise at the lack of depth in character development which mostly due to the movie having many characters both on the Japanese side and the Seediq side. What's amazing is that The Sun Flag segment summarized over 30 years of events and in depth setting up the second segment. It surely feels like the filmmakers did their research and with a passion to adapt this event into a feature film, this is most notable by the fact the director chose to keep the Seediq native language intact instead changing it. Though what's unfortunate is that the movie doesn't explain the Seediq culture which results in these people looking like savages unless you know your historical background. This doesn't accurately give the Seediq a fair representation for those who know nothing of the WuShe Incident thus making the Japanese look like the heroes. All in all, The Sun Flag segment sacrifices characters depth for a well thought out and detailed piece of historical cinema with detail to accuracy.

The second segment and easily the most violent is The Rainbow Bridge, which is literally in the movie. The Rainbow Bridge segment does not cover as much as the first segment, but focuses on the consequences after the Seediq attack on WuShe and the battle between the Seediq and Japanese. Now while this segment does not cover as much, it focuses on the people more and doesn't cram your heads with even more historical events. I should note that both segments combined have a lot of violence which works in case of the movie since it helps sends an unsettling feeling toward audiences. You know you're watching a good movie when it makes go through many emotions and this certainly has that effect on viewers. Unfortunately we also get some unintentionally hilarious effects as with a CG rainbow bridge and are at subpar level. I also found the women committing suicide to be both shocking (and unbearable to some audiences) as well as powerful. The story never sends a message of nationalism; it's a very detailed account of a violent piece of history. Audiences will in no doubt question the leadership of Mona Rudao and his actions which are cruel and can be interpreted as heartless in a desperate time when leadership is required in this battle. The ending will definitely leave audiences divided too, while I personally will never forget the ending some will find it to be disappointing.

With this already being a lengthy review I get straight to the point about the production. If you enjoy violence this movie have more than enough to satisfy anyone, this is produced by the legendary John Woo after all. Though I should warn the movie is graphic and could be a little more than some of us could handle, especially when the body count ranges in the triple digits with a lot of beheadings. You should carefully consider watching this since the movie budget is estimated to have been 700 million dollars which compensates the most beheadings you'll ever see in a movie and includes 1500 non-professional actors. The cast does have great chemistry; though the language was an issued considering the production involved people from other countries. Take this into account with the huge sets and many injuries and technical difficulties dealt in with this production. One of the biggest setbacks being the film's set, which cost 200 million, being destroyed by a typhoon. With so much money, obstacles, and so many actors to deal with it's an amazing feat that director Wei Te-Sheng even got this movie finished. The script alone needed approval by the government alone with director Wei Te having to raise money for the movie himself. Not to forget that Wei Te also needed to gain investors' confidence and made another movie which also delayed production. In the end, while it's far from perfect, the costly production was well worth it to bring a powerful historical piece.

Warriors of the Rainbows will provide the audience an experience that they'll soon not forget. It's bigger than any Transformers movie; it's as detailed as Carlos miniseries, and it's just as impactful and memorable with any passion projects. Warriors of the Rainbows is a difficult watch and no doubt very powerful piece of cinema that's definitely worth your time and should not be missed. At best, it's a very exhilarating flawed masterpiece.
June 4, 2012
Cinema-Maniac
Caesar Mendez

Super Reviewer

    1. Mouna Rudo: If your civilization wants us yo cringe...I'll show you the pride of savages.
    – Submitted by Leonard W K (23 months ago)
View all quotes (1)

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Foreign Titles

  • Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (DE)
  • Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (UK)
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