A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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."
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?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.