Tuesday, September 6, 2011

3 Short Paragraphs: The Warrior's Way

2010, Sngmoo Lee (seriously, his first movie?!?!) -- download

Or, as I have been calling it Cowboys vs Ninjas but really, it's Korean so not strictly ninjas.  And where I may have been complaining about the other cowboy movie being a little lacking in the memorable state, this one was waaaaay more memorable than I expected it to be!  This was really a wow-ser for me.  Think of a chinese wireline wuxia movie mixed with the stylistic elements of the best violent period anime mixed with... well, mixed with the visual styling of Jean-Pierre Jeunet.  This movie is just style mixed up in a tight genre movie of it's expected ilk.

Tough sword fighter wanders around Asia killing anyone who believes they are better than him, on a stereotypical revenge trip -- family & puppy killed but that's beside the point. And as he kills his last enemy, he finds himself confronted with a remainder -- a baby girl. Rather than kill her, he picks her up like luggage and heads off over the ocean to America, to hang with his laundryman buddy.  Alas the laundryman is dead and has left his abandoned shop in a town quickly being lost to sands and evil cowboys.  There he gets mixed up with the local circus... yes, a no-longer traveling circus and sideshow complete with a bearded lady and the creepiest clowns I have seen outside of It.  For the sake of the town he confronts the evil cowboys but then attracts the attention of his assassin warrior trainer who doesn't like he left the little girl alive. Confrontation and walk into the sunset.

This movie had a standard plot with expected threads and direction but DAMN did it have style.  From the decaying clapboard town that would make sweeping an act in futility to odd surrealist circus folk to not-ninja assassins lighting on rooftops like crows of dark fortune!!  It's very odd to see a director reaching backward to Tarentino for tips on laying out a martial arts action scene but I could not help but think this, as the quirkiness blended with the stark seriousness of the sword fighting.  I cannot wait to see the next movie -- Eskimos vs Ninjas.