An assassin (Dong-gun Jang channeling the young Chow Yun-Fat) who refuses to kill an infant — the last of his master’s people — and ends up hiding out in America with the baby among a carny troupe in the Wild West in The Warrior’s Way. Could Clint Eastwood’s Man With No Name have survived as a ronin in the East? That’s one of the interesting ideas audiences can contemplate while waiting for something of note to happen here.
Dong-gun Jang is a Korean export with none of the smoldering charisma that Chow Yun-Fat brought to his signature roles before his less-than-stellar efforts to crack Hollywood (think The Killer versus Bulletproof Monk), but he certainly has lithe athleticism and long dark locks.
But where is the fierce glare that signals the code of honor that links ninjas and cowboys? Eastwood and Chow Yun-Fat knew the right way, that’s for sure (if we’re lucky, someone might someday give us that glorious match made in mash-up heaven).
Sadly, first-time writer-director Sngmoo Lee’s movie is not the realization of that dream. The Warrior’s Way falls way short in its attempt to raise a ruckus between two cinematic warrior clans known for high body counts and cool kills, thoroughly wasting the scenery-chewing talents of Geoffrey Rush and Danny Huston and even the pixie-cuteness of Kate Bosworth. Grade: D-plus
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