The Warrior's Way

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Warrior's Way Movie Poster Image
Cartoonishly violent fusion of martial arts and Westerns.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Although the hero starts out killing everyone he can as part of a clan war, his course is eventually changed, and he learns to work with others and to help the townspeople face impossible odds. He also learns friendship and understands that to build and grow things is better than to destroy them. (Unfortunately, this lesson doesn't stick all the way to the end of the story.)

Positive Role Models & Representations

The hero is a highly trained killer who attempts to lay down his sword and build a new life for himself. He makes friends, starts a business, grows some flowers, and allows himself to love a girl. He even helps organize the townspeople and helps them face terrible odds. Unfortunately, he believes that because of his violent past, everything he loves will eventually be destroyed. And the movie's heroine is mainly bent on revenge.

Violence

Extreme but cartoonish violence includes many dead bodies, plus spraying blood, swordfighting, gun-fighting, knife-fighting, dynamite, and explosions. A frying pan filled with hot grease is splashed into a character's face. The villain and his henchmen also commit violence against a young girl, dragging her through the streets, kicking her, and eventually shooting her and killing her family. Later, these same villains treat a grown woman roughly, pinning her down on a bed with the suggestion of attempted rape (she's rescued). In some scenes, a baby is present during moments of violence.

Sex

The hero and the heroine flirt and share one passionate kiss. The hero is seen without his shirt in one shot; later, the heroine wears a frilly dress that reveals cleavage. She uses the dress to seduce the villain, whom she intends to kill, and there's a little bit of "foreplay" (he licks her neck). In one shot, two teen girls are being scrubbed in a tub.

Language

Language is infrequent but includes "s--t," "goddamn," "damn," and "hell." The bad guys also use a couple of racial slurs against the Chinese (actually South Korean) lead character, including "yellow" and "chink."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

One character is portrayed as the town drunk, but his antics are comical; he doesn't really have a drinking problem, and he sobers up when necessary. Minor characters occasionally drink whisky.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this action-packed movie -- which blends elements of Westerns and Asian martial arts movies -- is brimming with cartoonish violence. There's lots of fighting with swords, knives, and guns, plus spraying blood and plenty of dead bodies -- but it's all done without any real sense of danger. Some of the violence (less bloody but still potentially upsetting) is directed toward a young girl and a woman. The hero and heroine flirt and kiss (and she uses a low-cut dress to help her seduce a bad guy), and one character is presented as a comical town drunk. Language is infrequent and includes a few uses of words like "s--t" and "damn."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykhan2705 December 10, 2010

Extremely dull and poorly written and directed silly flick.

The world's greatest swordsman abandons his warrior clan to start a new life in the American Badlands in THE WARRIOR'S WAY, a visually dazzling modern... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byfangningsheng December 17, 2010

Fun, but silly and with lots of plot holes

This movie was okay. There were a lot of plot holes, and much wasn't explained. It was also very quirky and silly, which action movies should not be. But,... Continue reading
Kid, 8 years old March 7, 2011

What's the story?

A skilled swordsman succeeds in wiping out the last of his enemies -- almost. The only one remaining is a baby. Invoking the wrath of his own clansmen, he decides to spare the baby and head for "Lode," a Western town where an old friend once lived. There he meets Lynne (Kate Bosworth), who dubs him "Skinny." He also befriends "8 Ball" (Tony Cox) and the town drunk (Geoffrey Rush), opens a laundry, and learns to fit in. Unfortunately, his enemies are still on the hunt for him. Not to mention that Lynne has an enemy of her own, the sadistic Colonel (Danny Huston), who once murdered her entire family. Can "Skinny" keep his violent past from intruding on his newfound, peaceful, happy life?

Is it any good?

The American-educated Korean filmmaker Sngmoo Lee makes his directorial debut with THE WARRIOR'S WAY, and it's a great deal of fun. It pairs up Korean and American stars, as well as the martial arts and Western genres (though it's definitely better versed in the former than in the latter). The result is slick, brisk, and entertaining, although some audiences may be unsettled by the presence of a baby in the midst of all the violence, as well as brief violent acts committed against a young girl.

Jang Dong-gun (previously seen in Chen Kaige's The Promise) turns in an appealingly low-key, stoic performance, and he's nicely matched by the high power of his American co-stars, especially the spunky Bosworth, who has never been better. Lee draws from a number of genre conventions, but he does so with cheerful self-awareness and mixes them all together with a kind of infectious glee. His action sequences are clear and snappy, with the ante forever being upped for the unbelievably explosive climax.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's extreme violence. How did it affect you? Was any of it disturbing? Thrilling? Why do you think violent scenes can provoke both kinds of reaction?

  • What impact does it have on viewers that the movie is presented in such a cartoonish, rather than realistic, way? Does that make any of the action scenes seem less intense?

  • Is the hero correct in thinking that everything close to him will be destroyed? Would it be worth the risk to find out?

Movie details

For kids who love action

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