Follow TV Tropes


Film / The Warrior's Way

Go To

"Ninjas. Damn."
Ron note 

The Warrior's Way is a South Korean western/ninja/circus movie directed by Sngmoo Lee and starring Jang Dong-gun, Kate Bosworth, Geoffrey Rush, and Danny Huston. Released in 1 December, 2010, the film's story revolves around the character Yang, an Asian swordsman (Jang) who was exiled from his clan after refusing to kill a baby, and Lynne (Bosworth), a troubled woman with a horrific past. Rush plays town drunk Ron who not only has a checkered past, but hidden depths. Lynne has a troubled history with the Colonel (Huston) who comes to terrorize the town. The film uses green screen throughout and liberal use of special effects.

This film includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Assassin Outclassin': Basically the fate of every assassin trying to challenge Yang, who leaves piles of dead bodies every step he takes.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Both The Colonel and Saddest Flute are significantly more dangerous than their respective underlings.
  • Badass Longcoat: Yang wears a long black coat for the second half of the movie.
  • Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me: The Colonel orders this done to the two Mexican girls he intends to rape.
  • Battle in the Rain: The final battle between Yang and the Saddest Flute takes place in a storm that literally blows up out of nowhere (It seems to be a flashback to a training session substituted in place of their actual final fight).
  • Big Bad Ensemble: There are two major villains in the movie, each one being personal to Yang and Lynne; the former have his ex-mentor, Saddest Flute, while the latter has the Colonel. The villains are not on the same side though (as seen in the final battle).
  • Black Cloak: The Sad Flutes' uniform (if it can be called that) is a body-covering long cloak, big straw hat, and blades.
  • Body Double: Near the start of the third act, Lynn managed to chuck a knife into the fleeing Colonel, avenging her family... except she didn't. She had instead killed a mook wearing the Colonel's mask and cape, and now the townsfolk realize the Colonel will return with a full battalion of mooks to massacre everyone.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Colonel and Saddest Flute are dead, Eight-ball and many of the carnies are also dead, but the remaining Sad Flutes will continue to hunt Yang ensuring he cannot settle down with Lynne. The Carnival is destroyed as is the Ferris Wheel that was supposed to save the town. However Lynne is alive as is the Baby and they should be safe.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: Considering how Yang normally does against such odds, though...
  • Booze Flamethrower: The fire eater from the circus uses this to light the candles on a birthday cake. It becomes a Chekhov's Skill when he later uses it to light a couple of the Colonel's henchmen on fire.
  • But Now I Must Go: The film ends with Yang leaving Lynne and the rest of the Lode residents behind, now that Saddest Flute is dead. He even left baby April with the citizens because he knew she wouldn't be safe with him.
  • Chinese Launderer: Yang takes over the laundry when he arrives in Lode, mainly because that's what everyone assumes he'll be good at. He actually has to learn how to do it from Lynne.
  • Clothing Switch: The town guy who takes one of the Sad Flutes' Coat, Hat, Mask combo after the Final Battle. Doubles as a Funny Background Event since nobody says anything of it and he doesn't get a single line while wearing it.
  • Coat, Hat, Mask: The Sad Flutes' suits. So cool looking a town guy actually bothers to put one on after they're dead.
  • Colonel Badass: The Colonel, as expected. He's the only one of the enemy soldiers that puts up a decent fight, although he never really fights Yang and his fight is with Lynne instead.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Yang tears through groups of mooks with no problem. The only time he actually has to pause and expend some effort are against lone major characters. They don't last much longer either, though.
  • Contract on the Hitman: The Sad Flutes are not happy with Yang...
  • Cool Versus Awesome: Cowboys. Vs. Ninjas.
  • Covered with Scars: Yang, when he changes his clothes in front of Lynn and we get a glimpse of his back. No surprise considering his past as an assassin.
  • Covers Always Lie: the movie poster features a blond Kate Bosworth in a dress. Lynne in the movie is a Fiery Redhead tomboy who wears masculine clothing for all but one scene.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Yang must run from everyone he loves to prevent the Sad Flutes from killing them.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Invoked by Lynne at one point with a tight dress, with the dirt still on her face.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: One of the town guys bothers to wear the hat and cape of one of the fallen ninjas after the Final Battle is done.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Yang dodges a point blank pistol shot at the end, anticipating the shot a split second before it's fired.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Horrifically subverted with the Colonel. He singles out a Mexican woman with clean teeth so that he can rape her. However, her husband comes out and protests so the Colonel declares that he would never sleep with a married woman. Then the Colonel shoots them both dead and decides that he would rather rape their two daughters instead.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The Sad Flutes have bad intentions for Yang and the baby while the Colonel and his troops have bad intentions for Lynne and the entire town. Both of them end up fighting each other in the final battle just to get to their respective targets.
  • Eye Scream: How Yang deals with the old lady assassin in the tavern - via chopsticks into the left eye. It's not evident at first, but later Yang burns the tavern down to cover his tracks and there's a charred skeleton with two chopsticks sticking out of the left skull socket in the aftermath.
  • Faceless Mooks: The faces of the many ninjas are never seen. Most of the bandits wear bandannas over their faces as well.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: The Colonel, right before Lynne kills him.
    Colonel: I'll see you in hell, little girl. Wear something nasty.
  • Ferris Wheel of Doom: The final action scene has Old Ron sniping bandits from the old ferris wheel's top. And as several bandits attempt to climb up the wheel, they realize Ron had rigged the whole thing with dynamites and lit the fuse.
  • Foreshadowing: The Colonel, at one point, talks about how he hanged a man by his hamstrings. Lynne ends up leading into her killing blow against him by hamstringing him.
  • Fun with Subtitles: At the beginning.
    Subtitle: The Greatest Swordsman in History of Mankind. (Beat). Ever.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Yang and Lynne have scars that are covered by their clothing. The Colonel has horrible facial scars.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Not all the time, but there are an awful lot of shots of blood spatters hitting screens and such. One such massacre takes place entirely in a dust cloud.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: In the final battle, Yang skewers a ninja and flips him on another, right on the latter's head. Cue sound of a Neck Snap.
  • Groin Attack: Eight Ball's method of dealing with the three delinquents harassing Yang. For the final battle he dons a glove with the palm covered in spikes, but never gets to use it.
  • Hidden Depths: Town drunk Ron (Geoffrey Rush) is a DAMN good marksman when not entirely three sheets to the wind.
  • Hitman with a Heart: Yang. The whole reason he's in this mess to begin with is because he disobeyed orders to kill a child.
  • Hunting the Rogue: Yang is a ninja and formerly the best warrior of the Sad Flutes, who eventually quit his organization after being unable to kill a baby. He managed to escape from Asia to America, but the Sad Flutes are ready to hunt him down all the way to the West.
  • Implacable Man:
    • Yang is the Worlds Greatest Warrior and hordes of enemies can't do more than slow him down for a few seconds.
    • The Sad Flutes, who seem to have an inexhaustible supply of assassins hunting Yang to every corner of the world.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: The Sad Flutes' clothes, so much one of the town boys takes them off one and wears them after they are all dead.
  • Improvised Weapon: Yang can kill enemies with anything he get his hands on. Case in point, when fighting ninja mooks in the laundry, having thrown his sword at an enemy he then grabs a nearby iron and use it to bash a ninja's skull apart. Also used are a pair of chopsticks and a frozen fish of all things.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Ron demonstrates his sheer accuracy with his rifle by sniping a bowling pin in between several bottles of his personal wine collection without breaking a single glass, revealing his past to the town as an ex-outlaw. In the final battle, he gets to snipe bundles of dynamites hidden in grass with extreme precision, taking out a large chunk of the Colonel's mooks.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Forms the premise of the film, although it is averted in the case of Lynne's brother.
  • Invincible Hero: The number of times Yang faces challenges in the film can be counted on one hand. Every single battle (except the last act) is a Curb-Stomp Battle with Yang on the delivering side.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: the reason Yang leaves April and Lynne.
  • Knife-Throwing Act: Lynne is the circus' knife-thrower, having trained herself with flinging blades ever since her family's deaths, though she's only capable of nailing non-human targets. It takes some training with Yang until she can use her knofe-flinging skills on human enemies, which allows her to fling her knife into the Colonel's fleeing Body Double.
  • Leave Him to Me!: Lynne, regarding the Colonel. She's the one who wants to kill him, and Yang not only obliges but provides her some additional training. Which is good, because otherwise it would have been a very short Final Battle.
  • Leave No Witnesses: The Sad Flutes just don't do subtle at all. One scene shows them going to America in a stolen ship... and because they killed all of the crew, the ship has a gigantic trail of blood in its wake.
  • Lecherous Licking: The Colonel had his men restrain Lynn and, to prove how much of a sadistic prick he is, gleefully licks the bullet scar he gave Lynn years ago.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: The Colonel wears a creepy half-face mask to conceal his burn scars. It makes him look more than a little like Leatherface.
  • Martial Pacifist: Yang, after leaving the Sad Flutes. He welds his sword into his scabbard, vowing to never use it for taking lives, as the film says. "The assassin who discovers the joy of making things grow, instead of cutting them down..."
  • Meaningful Name: They name the baby April, the month in which cherry trees bloom.
  • Mle Trois : The climax becomes this when the Sad Flutes arrive. Yang and the Townspeople vs. The Colonel's Army vs. The Sad Flutes.
  • More Dakka: The only times the bandits have an advantage over the Sad Flutes is when they deploy their machineguns.
  • Never Bring a Gun to a Knife Fight: While this does not universally apply to every ninja in the movie, Yang and some of the other Sad Flutes are skilled enough in their swordsmanship that their opponents with guns will likely get cut down or disarmed at blinding speeds before they can do anything about it.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Zig-zagged. As one would expect, a lot of the Sad Flutes get mowed down by the dozens when they bullrush the Colonel's men armed with guns. However, they in turn manage to kill off an impressive amount of the Colonel's men in other moments. And Yang himself does quite well when he's facing off against opponents with guns despite only using a sword.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If Lynn had allowed Yang to finish off the Colonel instead of stopping him with a "It's Personal" speech, she wouldn't be grabbed as a hostage, and then tricked into stabbing a Body Double as the Colonel escapes. The brutal battle at the end which sees most of the town destroyed and almost every named character killed could also be avoided. Way to go, Lynn.
  • No Name Given: The main character's name is never uttered within the movie. You learn it in the credits. Lynne calls him "Skinny" most of the time.
  • Non-Specifically Foreign: It's never specified or clear where Yang comes from. He's played by a South Korean, uses a Japanese sword, and his name is most likely Chinese. The citizens of Lode seem to assume he's Chinese since he works in the laundry business, an occupation which was filled by a lot of Chinese laborers in that time era.
  • Off with His Head!: Yang decapitates multiple enemies throughout the film, the last one which is a Shadow Discretion Shot seen as a silhouette behind a tarp.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Probably one of the Colonel's most sadistic moments in the film; releasing a woman he's about to rape back to her husband because he "doesn't like bedding married women"... and firing a single shot through both of them for no reason other than for shits and giggles.
  • One-Man Army: Yang can take on hordes of enemy ninjas on his own, without getting a scratch on himself.
  • Retired Gunslinger: Ron turns out to be the surprise version (although not so much of a surprise to anyone who saw the cover of the DVD).
  • Retired Outlaw: Ron was once an outlaw, using his great skill to rob banks and trains. His criminal career ended when the woman he loved was shot during a gunfight, and he vowed to never pick up a gun again.
  • Signs of Disrepair: There's a sign outside of Lode Town that identifies its population as 5000. As the Colonel's army arrives to massacre everyone, a mook shoots the sign and turns the population to "0".
  • Single-Stroke Battle: All the sword fights are like this, the most traditional being the one at the beginning where Yang becomes The Greatest Swordsman in the World by killing The Greatest Swordsman in the World. The only two prolonged fights with any degree of Flynning are the ones at the end between Lynne and the Colonel, and between Yang and Saddest Flute (which appears to be a training flashback substituted in place of their actual final battle).
  • Slashed Throat: Yang defeats Saddest Flute in this manner.
  • Softspoken Sadist: The Colonel, who delights in rape murder but almost never raise his voice.
  • Stepping-Stone Sword: The Colonel thrusts at Lynne; missing her and getting his sabre stuck in the wall. Lynne uses his sabre as a step to retrieve her own sword, which is stuck higher up in the wall.
  • Sword Drag: Yang does this twice in the opening scene, letting the tip of his blade scrape over bridge planks followed by gravel. Possibly an intimidation tactic or (more likely) just done for Rule of Cool.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: "We only have 100 sticks of dynamite" - and most of these are used to inflict massive casualties on the Colonel's forces in the end of the film. By the end of the finale, every stick has been used up.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Lynne insists to Yang that she's the one who has to kill the Colonel for the atrocities he's done to her family. Yang slices the Colonel's guns and prevents him from using April as a hostage in the final battle, but aside from that he obliges.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Yang does it while battling the ninjas in the laundry. But Yang is The Greatest Swordsman In The World. Ever.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Lynne went from being a circus knife-thrower to becoming a capable fighter after being trained by Yang, with her taking names in the finale.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The trailer's line, "Ninjas. Damn," does not appear in the film, nor are the Sad Flutes ever described as ninjas.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The last scene of the movie? In the trailer.
  • We Have Reserves: The Sad Flutes keep throwing dozens of their men at Yang, even as he keeps cutting them down. Saddest Flute even has no problem wasting the majority of his men in a pointless fight against random bandit assholes, instead of focusing on the guy they came specifically to kill.
  • What a Drag: The Colonel does this to Ron, dragging him behind his horse along the main street.
  • Whip of Dominance: Te Colonel is a vile Soft-Spoken Sadist who uses a whip as one of his weapons. Notably, he tortures and humiliates Ron by wrapping the whip's lash around him and then dragging him through the town behind his horse.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Yang wouldn't. The Sad Flutes would. Saddest Flute's Resignations Not Accepted speech puts much emphasis on the fact that Yang should have (and must still) kill the kid, because she will always be "the Enemy".
    • The Colonel shows again and again that he has no problem shooting kids if he wishes to, and in the final battle he even takes April (a baby) as hostage to try to fend off Yang and unhesitatingly pulls the trigger when Yang keeps coming (Yang slices the revolver in half, and the bullet that was already going down the barrel).
  • Walking the Earth: What Yang is fated to after leaving his clan. He gets out of Lode Town after the end of the battle and made it to some unidentified wintery wasteland (maybe in North Europe) only to find out his clan had followed him there as well.
  • X on a Stick: Baby on a stick!