The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 100 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Kate Bosworth, Danny Huston, Jang Dong Gun, Tony Cox, Ti Lung
Written & Directed by: Sngmoo Lee
Music by: Javier Navarrete
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 28, 2011
"East meets West"
After a lifetime of training in swordsmanship and hand-to-hand combat, the world's most dangerous fighter (Jang Dong Gun) flees his homeland to start a new life in the American West. But soon the hunter becomes the hunted, and now the legendary warrior must wage a fierce, all-out battle against a renegade gang of outlaws and pack of murderous assassins from his own past.
I find that film's like The warrior's way usually find appeal with a select group who have the tolerance for repetitively mindless action and thoroughly contrived storytelling. As an action film fan I try to go into them with an open mind that favors action over plotline and hope for likeable characters that enliven the proceedings. This genre clash of martial arts and American western lore is as cliché filled as they come and features the lone warrior (gunman if you prefer) that is on the run from his past and comes to a sleepy western town hoping to start fresh and remain hidden. There he meets and befriends those who are in need of a savior to protect them from the villain that stalks them. He finds romance, friendship and inspires them. Ultimately he must confront his past while protecting his new found friends from its perils. The warriors way certainly isn't meant to be taken literally on either side of its genre lines. It is most definitely over the top and has a distinctive video game type feel at times. The action is slick although one sided in that it decidedly leans toward martial arts (which works within the narrative's construct). The film's paper thin plot delivers as one would expect but engages via a surrealistic visual platform that has its moments.
Jang Dong Gun's stoically inspired leading man is a perfect companion to the speaks softly but carries the deadliest samurai sword good guy role. The very reliable Danny Huston is dead on as the western heavy and Ti Lung in a martial arts movie is always a good thing. I didn't find Kate Bosworth's southern accent very convincing but she gets lots of close-ups so I let it slide. Geoffrey Rush is among my favorite character actors but I am not so sure he was the right fit here. That isn't to suggest that his performance was less than what you would expect from him though. Regardless his presence added some much needed credibility to the cast. So what does The warrior way have going for it? Ample high flying, slow motion, martial arts blood letting/interplay, slickly infused visuals and a relatively well placed cast. On the down side it comes wrapped in an overtly cliché ridden narrative that can be looked at as either cleverly satirical or untenably contrived. I see it as the former and opted to kick back and take it for what it was worth. In that light it got a higher rating than it would have otherwise and didn't make for a terrible way to spend and hour and a half.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The warriors way comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 Mbps.
This film intentionally uses a variety of visuals to convey the director's vision. Filtering is applied to create the chromatic aesthetic that represents the mood of select sequences throughout the presentation. The opening scenes are limited to shades of dark blue, gray and black with splashes of crimson red and reserved levels of contrast. When things shift to the western town the contrast gets a boost and the color range favors sepia tones and lifelike complexions. Flashback sequences lean more toward neutral colors and balanced contrast. Littered throughout are instances of enriched stages of color and purposeful stylization that set the thematic tone. The effects aren't always natural but work well. Whites are detailed with bright highlights and blacks are fairly deep with acceptable gradational quality in shadows and darkened areas. Images are cleanly rendered with very good to excellent detail that is easily discernible in close ups and mid-level distant camera shots. This film is shot almost exclusively against green screen backgrounds. Long range visuals aren't definitively resolved which affected depth perception during wide angle camera shots but I didn't find it to be a problem. The video isn't always razor sharp, but in all but a few instances, it consistently had defining structure and enriching clarity.
The high resolution DTS-HD MA audio is of reference quality and delivers the soundtrack's elements with aplomb. The high fidelity inherent in this lossless sound mix is readily apparent. Dynamic range is extended which rendered the film's action based sequences with definitive impact and energy. Dialogue is presented with clear intonation, full bodied texture, and excellent room penetration. The sounds of blazing guns, swirling objects and clashing swords are reproduced with sparkling clarity. Imaging is excellent as sounds are integrated with precision in an active surround mix that intelligently utilizes the entire system. During the fight sequences the listening position becomes immersed in a mixture of spatial and localizable sound effects that place you within the heart of the action. Low frequency detail is clean, well articulated and authoritative as all points of contact seem to resonate with palpable bass impact. This isn't a bombastic or overtly aggressive soundtrack but it's blend of intricate detail and room filling dynamics make it a first rate home theater experience.
- (HD) Behind the scenes montage - 2 minutes
- 13 deleted scenes
- Digital Copy Bonus Disc
The warrior way is a genre blending martial arts action western that brings nothing new to either category. I didn't mind its purposefully cliché ridden plot, and enjoyed its high flying, slow motion, martial arts blood letting/interplay, and slickly infused visuals. If taken in more of a literal sense this would probably be a different film experience. Either way there is no denying the technical merits of its presentation on Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox. Its stylized visuals look terrific in high definition and the reference quality DTS-HD Master Audio sound rocks. This one could go either way so if your curious drop it in your rental queue and take it for a spin.
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