Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Warrior's Way

Watched this movie yesterday.  I enjoyed it a lot and gave it 5 stars on Netflix.

It's about a 19th-century assassin (ninja) named Yang who has sworn to kill all members of an enemy family, which he does until he comes to the last survivor:  a baby girl.  He suddenly changes heart and refuses to kill her, instead taking custody of her and caring for her.  This makes him a renegade and enemy of his own clan.  He tries to escape them by leaving the Orient and coming to the American West.

He goes to the small, crumbling town of Lode, where a friend of his had previously emigrated to.  His friend has since died, so he takes over his friend's business of clothes washing.  The town is almost dead, in the middle of the desert and isolated much like the town of Lago in High Plains Drifter.  Lode is home to a dilapidated amusement park and is populated mostly by carnies and sideshow freaks.  And, like Lago, it is periodically visited by a gang of murderous villains who terrorize the townsfolk.

Also among the townsfolk is a young woman named Lynne whose entire family was murdered by the gang about 10 years previous, and in fact Lynne herself had appeared to be mortally wounded at the time but miraculously recovered and now wants to personally kill the gang's leader, known as "the Colonel," to get her revenge.  Lynne had been given some rudimentary sword training by Yang's old friend and Yang continues some further sword training with her after hearing her story.

Of course the Colonel's gang eventually reappears, leading to a climactic showdown.  However, a large squad of ninjas who have been searching for Yang and the baby girl also appears.  The climactic battle scene is quite the showdown.

Part Kung Fu (the TV series), part True Grit, part High Plains Drifter.  All live-action but combat was definitely imitating anime.  The far backgrounds (horizon, sky) appear to be CGI, giving it a somewhat fantastic feel.  Humor, violence, mercy, revenge, love,'s all in there.

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