Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 19, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
November 29, 2012
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
Super Reviewer
½ June 4, 2012
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.
September 26, 2015
Excellent movie, idiots like Stephen Holden, who are from a cowardice society cannot appreciate the struggle of forced occupation of a country's native people
½ April 20, 2015
I've only watched the international version and I think that is enough. There is no reason to drag out to 4 hours with a lot of disputable events. The international version is much more historically accurate. Only complaint is the battle scenes. We're talking about WW2 Japanese military, one of the finest army of its day. They wouldn't run around like a bunch of cannon fodders.
April 2, 2015
Extraordinary Asian movie. Every gore / slasher fans shoud watch this !
November 23, 2014
Demasiado larga sin poder llenar las expectativas; pero sin lugar a dudas una historia la cual VER.
September 26, 2014
Long, violent, depressing and epic. Warriors of the Rainbow is 270 minutes of war that echoes the likes of films such as Braveheart. If you like historical epics, then you owe it to yourself to seek out this incredibly ambitious film. It sometimes falls short of it's goals, but when something is reaching this high thats forgivable.
½ September 23, 2014
Did not expect this movie to be as good as it was. If you like war movies that don't glorify either side winning, and really showcase the real implications of war this is a good one. closest comparison I can think of would be Letters from Iwo Jima
May 29, 2014
Saw this on 29/5/14
Warriors of the rainbow is a good action film and it's visuals are good for a Taiwanese film. The story is not so bad, so are the battle sequences scattered all over the film. The story is not that detailed even after having a detailed 2 and a half hours running time. The film doesn't drag and the important thing is that it shows good and bad on both sides. There are scenes in the blood sacrifice where the Seediq Bale kill the families including the children of the Japanese soldiers and the Japanese in the end leave the families of the warriors alive. The film's locations are impressive and it's a good watch.
May 26, 2014
I watched it twice back to back...simply amazing...
December 17, 2013
Quality film that tells a tale of a Japanese imperialism. As the Japanese attempt to "civilize" the Seediq people, the unsettled feeling of not belonging and having lost their true identity as a hunter gatherer society causes them to rise up. Worthwhile atypical asian cinema.
½ October 20, 2013
Did not see this one coming; Warriors of the Rainbow was a fantastic slice of tragic Taiwanese history. As usual, the Japanese are horrifically barbaric tyrants and this time they've set their eyes on Taiwan and her indigenous people. We follow Mouna Rudo through twenty five years of his life resisting the iron boot of Japan. We experience his tragedies, the tragedies of the lives he creates, the growth of his legacy through his children, their children, and their wives and parents. There is so much to be seen here and I would recommend this in a heartbeat. An emotionally resonant piece of cinema that falters but stands tall amongst its peers.
October 13, 2013
very fantastic movie
October 5, 2013
Very enjoyable, I learned a lot of history I didnt know. The film scenes were pretty good
September 10, 2013
thank you women and children for sacrificing yourselves so that men can complete their souls
½ July 31, 2013
The Seediq Bale are the indigenous people of the mountain forests of Taiwan and after they had been reduced to a slave life following the Japanese invasion, seeing their hunting grounds stripped for timber and their way of life disappearing, rose in rebellion in 1930.
This epic film covers the story and is filled with a sense of dread even as the young men demand to fight, secure in their belief that death is not the end.
At 2 1/2 hours it isn't a second overlong and has scenes that will live with you as people not prepared to surrender make the decisions you have known they would have to.
After 50 days of fighting over 3/4 of the 1200 Seediq Bale had been killed and the remnants, small children and pregnant women was forcibly relocated.
A film with an unspoken parallel to other events.
Highly impressive.
June 3, 2013
Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (2012) "Sidk bali" (original title): Finally a film that deals with the indigenous/aboriginal/tribal people of Taiwan and focuses on the invaders of the island and the horrific tragedies that befell those native peoples resulting in the nigh extinction of their kind due to the first ever use of 'Poison Gas Warfare' in South East Asia... heads roll in this film like you've never seen before, not an easy sight for those viewers who have weak stomachs, but this is the reality of WAR and it's bitter tasting after-effects! I admire the Directors perseverance because this movie almost never reached fruition and was inhibited and delayed by all sorts of hitches along the way. A definite must see film for all those viewers interested in Taiwan, War in the Pacific Theater and how these incidents involving the Japanese, Taiwanese and Seediq peoples have led to the resulting stand-off situation that persists like a nasty water-blister to this very day! Unsettling and rather long-winded and drawn-out some might say at a whopping 2hrs30mins [or even 4hr FULL VERSION], but how else would you expect to broach this massive yet little known or exposed situation? There was no other way round it but to dive in head first and see what could be created to represent the facts as best as humanly possible, on film would allow! Full marks on that point, so I really hope this film get's more exposure internationally in the long run because "WARRIORS OF THE RAINBOW: SEEDIQ BALE" deserves to be seen and absorbed by audiences. It needs to be pondered on as it offers much "food for thought" in this day and age. For those enthusiasts on the topic, Taiwanese Metal band ChthoniC [?? aka Shan-Ling] first brought the topic of this film to my attention years ago, with their fantastic album "????? / Seediq Bale" back in 2005. Had it not been for THAT album, I would be just as naive on this subject today as I was back then [...and as most people around the world remain] to this day! A heavy film, but ultimately a welcome piece of art that brings reality to those of us who weren't there to experience what happened in 1945. Sadly the film has seen limited Cinema exposure in Theatres from April 27th, 2012 until now but will hopefully gain steam since it's DVD release, August 7th, 2012. Keep your eyes peeled for Director Te-Sheng Wei's massive Epic, definitely a Director I shall keep my eye on in future as well! [SCORE: 95/100%]
February 17, 2013
A tragic event in history beautifully done for film.
May 29, 2012
A stunning reminder of the universality of colonialism and its bloody toll on the earth's indigenous peoples. Here, the pre-WW2 Japanese economic juggernaut inflicts its brutality on the last animist mountain tribes of Taiwan, the Atayal.

Director Te-Sheng Wei portrays the Seediq clanswomen in understated counterpoint. Head-hunting warriors dispatch their colonial masters to an appropriate hell ( and themselves pass gloriously into the after life ); the fate of the women and children breaks our hearts !

Lin Yuanjie (AKA Umin Walis) as the young machine-gun wielding child soldier Pawan Nawi steals the second half of the film.
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