The Warrior’s Way is a 2010 New Zealand-South Korean fantasy Western film written and directed by Sngmoo Lee and starring Jang Dong-gun, Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, Danny Huston and Tony Cox. It was produced by Barrie Osborne, who also produced The Lord of the Rings. Its plot concerns a 19th-century warrior named Yang (Jang Dong-gun), who is ordered to kill the last member of an enemy clan — a baby girl. He refuses the mission and flees with the child to a dilapidated town in the American West. Despite his attempts, his master closes in on him and he must fight to protect the child and his newfound comrades: Ron (Geoffrey Rush), the town drunk, and Lynne (Kate Bosworth), both of whom have a tragic past.
The movie is shot with a strong sense of style by first-time director Sngmoo Lee. The movie is about action rather than plot, but there’s enough of each so that you’ll find it enjoyable if you have any taste for Asian martial arts films. The body count is of course remarkably high, but as such things go, it is not unusually gory. It is, for example, more restrained than Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies. It is rated R for violence and occasional other distasteful elements, so it is not for young people. It may be the best movie of its kind, though; it may also be the only movie of its kind among westerns. There is an undercurrent of humor beneath it all.
The cast is quite good. Dong-gun Jang is excellent as the swordsman Yang, although he is not required to show a great acting range. Kate Bosworth and Geoffrey Rush are good in their parts; Rush is also the narrator at the beginning and end of the film. Danny Huston, son of legendary director-actor John Huston and half-brother to Anjelica Huston, is kind of over-the-top as the principal villain, but that seems intentional and part of the overall stylized effect. Tony Cox (Bad Santa) as the dwarf in charge does well, too.
Shot in color in New Zealand, at 100 minutes, The fantasy Western film did not do well at the box office, costing $42 million to make and bringing in only $5,664,000 in the U.S.