Follow TV Tropes


Film / Warriors of Virtue

Go To

Ryan Jeffers just wants to be accepted by his peers, but is constantly insulted and bullied, with the school's quarterback Brad leading the charge... all because he wears a metal splint on his leg. To cope, he enjoys reading martial arts comics and Chinese mythology. Shortly after his friend Ming gives him a book called the Manuscript of Tao, Ryan attempts to prove himself to Brad and his gang, and ends up transported to another world — the world of Tao.

Good news is that he can walk there. Bad news... Tao is on the brink of destruction at the hands of the insane Komodo, who's been tapping into the mystical Lifesprings to gain eternal life. In fact, there's only one Lifespring left, serving as the last bastion against his evil reign, and protected by five warriors able to wield the forces of Nature: the Warriors of Virtue.

...Oh, and did we mention the five warriors are all anthropomorphic kangaroos?

Despite that little detail, 1997's Warriors of Virtue takes itself very seriously, a strait-laced, by-the-book martial arts film for kids directed by Ronny Yu (his first English-language film). As its title suggests, it's very heavy on the importance of virtue, particularly when it comes to the value of life: the Warriors do not kill, which leads to the obvious question of how to deal with Komodo...

A series of five books by John Vornholt were released afterward as a set of sequels: each volume followed one of the Roos as they split up (accompanied by a Ryan, Chucky and some of their so-called friends) to solve a problem facing each Warrior's homeland.

A film sequel titled Warriors of Virtue: The Return to Tao was released in 2002.

Tropes of Virtue:

  • All There in the Manual: The novel, which you can read here goes into many details not revealed in the movie, like Ryan’s health issues and why Elysia turned her back on the good guys.
  • All Your Powers Combined: It's how they defeat Komodo for good.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: Komodo mourns Elysia's death. This is supposed to indicate that Komodo was truly in love with her.
  • Anti-Villain: While Elysia was consuming the Life Springs and worked with Komodo to defeat the Warriors, she was concerned about Ryan and protecting him from any and all kinds of danger and wanted to avenge her brother's accidental death.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: "Shit happens." Not to mention Elysia's low-cut dresses later in the movie.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Inside of You" by Richie Havens, followed by "You Can Fly" by Wade Hubbard.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Despite Komodo’s hilarious moments, he is very philosophical and is not someone you should underestimate.
  • Big "NO!": Elysia, when Komodo decides that Ryan is no longer useful.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Elysia for Ryan. At one point, she states that Ryan is similar to her brother. She gets killed because she protected him from Komodo.
  • Blank Book: Ryan is asked by Komodo to read from the magical Manuscript and tell him what it says. The Manuscript suddenly shows blank pages, to which the protagonist says "Shit happens." But writing appears in the last page of the book: "Five is one Positive Kung. To take a life, you lose a part of yourself."
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: The Polish version was entitled "Wirtualni wojownicy" - "Virtual warriors". Apparently the translator didn't know what 'virtue' was.
  • Blood from the Mouth: After the fight, a couple of the Warriors have this.
  • Boxing Kangaroo: The five Warriors.
  • Camp Straight: Komodo. Dude's frilly and effeminate, but he very clearly has gotten with several of the hot women in this movie anyway.
  • Delayed Reaction: It takes a few minutes running away from the fight for Ryan to realize his legs are perfectly fine.
  • Distress Ball: Ryan gets captured quite a few times by Komodo's crew. He ends getting saved by Elysia (twice), Yun, and Master Chung.
  • Easily Forgiven: The Warriors of Virtue were surprisingly accepting when Komodo returned with an unexplained case of amnesia and a level in kindness. Despite the fact that he killed their master, almost killed them, then enslaved their world.
  • Elemental Powers
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • Elysia never forgave Yun for killing her brother prior to the movie. Her involvement with Komodo could have been her trying to avenge her brother’s death. She also becomes quite protective of Ryan and dies protecting him from Komodo’s wrath.
    • Komodo seems genuinely broken up over Elysia's death when she's killed.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Elysia goes from a high-neck, long-sleeved white dress with a cloak to a sleeveless orange dress with exposed cleavage after her betrayal.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Komodo, like you wouldn't believe. Angus Mac Fadyen was clearly having the time of his life devouring the scenery.
  • Evil Former Friend: General Grillo apparently used to be a childhood friend of the Warriors, before he defected to Komodo's empire in exchange for power and access to zubrium.
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow: Komodo.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Elysia.
  • Faceless Goons: Komodo's soldiers, who wear helmets which conceal their faces for most of the film. At the end, they take them off, revealing themselves as just ordinary men, in a sign of change after Komodo falls.
  • Guttural Growler: One of the Warriors of Virtue sounds like Doctor Claw.
  • Guyliner: Komodo wears it.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • General Grillo turns good after Komodo is defeated along with (it's implied) all the rest of his followers, ordering that they release the imprisoned villagers.
    • Mudlap, the dwarf-like creature, express guilt for his betrayal when Ryan calls him out. He apologized and gave Ryan some encouragement to continue helping the Warriors.
  • Hero of Another Story: Tracy, a female member of Brad's clique, serves as the deuteragonist of the book Tsun and the Rats.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Master Chung takes a fatal blow from Komodo to protect Ryan, and Ryan later baits Komodo into killing him during the final battle, which strips him of his powers.
  • Immortality Seeker: Komodo uses the Zubrium (the substance that powers the life spring) to retain his strength — and his youth. No wonder he's so desperate for it.
  • Informed Ability: The warriors of virtue don't really exhibit the virtues they're supposed to be warriors of.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Ryan has a bond with Ming, the Chinese chef.
  • Jerk Jock: Brad. We see how much of a jerkass he is towards his friends when they support Ryan's rejection of the initiation.
  • Kick the Dog: Barbarocious killing Elysia, and then Komodo killing Barbarocious in response to that. He clearly has no romantic feelings for Barbarocious since she's just a pawn to him, Elysia is the one he loves.
  • Large Ham: "Komodo". The guy is like a Monte Cristo cranked way past 11, so bad but oh so wonderful you can’t help but watch the utter insanity. Also, Ming when he shows off while cooking.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Komodo loses his memory after he's converted to good by the Warriors.
  • Laughably Evil: Hey look, another Komodo trope! BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA!
  • Laughing Mad: Kind of a subversion, because Komodo's laughing doesn't tell he goes insane... it tells that he IS insane. Seriously, you can never predict when he bursts into maniacal laughter.
    • Also a hint that Elysia isn't in her right mind either when she betrays the Warriors to Komodo. She's heavily implied to be as addicted to Zubrium as Komodo is.
  • Like a Brother to Me: Ryan to Elysia. This is what gets her killed.
  • Love Triangle: Barbarocious is in love with Komodo, but he's in love with Elysia. Komodo either doesn't realize that or doesn't care, presumably only sees Barbarocious as a henchwoman at best or a pawn at worst. (see Kick the Dog)
  • Made of Indestructium: According to Komodo, the Manuscript can't be destroyed.
  • Madonna-Whore Complex: When we first meet Elysia, she wears a white, high-necked dress. When she's revealed to be a traitor, she wears an orange dress that shows cleavage.
  • Magical Asian: Ming. We never find out why an ordinary cook has a manuscript about a magical universe. Also, Master Chung.
  • Martial Arts and Crafts: Ming's cooking. Why is Ryan the main character again?
  • Morality Pet: Ryan for Elysia. She develops a strong sibling-like bond with Ryan, which carries over after her betrayal is revealed. Her final moments are her trying to protect Ryan from her lover Komodo who intended to kill Ryan for being unable to read the book.
  • No Indoor Voice: Komodo.
  • Noodle Incident: We know that Yun killed Elysia's brother. But we never learn anything else about it or the circumstances of it. It's possible that he was a civilian and he may have gotten caught in the crossfire of Yun and Komodo's minions' fight. Another possibility would be he followed Komodo, just as Elysia ends up doing.
  • Non-Action Guy: One of the reasons why Ryan gets attacked/captured easily is because he doesn't have any fighting skills.
  • The Not-Love Interest: One might think that Elysia and Ryan will fall in love as the story progresses. In truth, Elysia views Ryan like a brother and she's involved with Komodo. Elysia's death is also a result of her sisterly feelings for Ryan.
  • Old Master: Master Chung, of course. He trained the Roos after all, and could go toe-to-toe with Komodo.
  • Personality Powers: Most obvious with Chi, but all of the Roos show this.
  • Properly Paranoid: The Warriors note how ridiculously easy it is to get in to reclaim the Manuscript.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Elysia. This is debatable though. She didn't have a My God, What Have I Done? moment, she just didn't want Ryan to get hurt.
  • Screaming Warrior: Komodo, during his fight scenes, alternates between loud hooting and deranged laughter.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sissy Villain: Komodo never leaves home without his ruffles and frills.
  • The Speechless: Yee was so traumatized by the loss of his Lifespring that he stopped speaking, instead communicating with others through sign language. After Ryan's Heroic Sacrifice, he manages a hoarse "Thank you".
  • Suddenly Shouting: Komodo.
    General Grillo "Forgive me, my lord; but if the Manuscript can harm us, why don't we just destroy it?"
    Komodo: "It cannot be destroyed! You can be destroyed, your armies can be destroyed, BUT IT CANNOT BE DESTROYED!!"
  • Summon Everyman Hero: Ryan is a normal kid who, for some reason, is transported into a magical world.
  • Take That!: While describing the land of Tao to Ryan, Ming tells him there are "no guns, no lasers, no morphing...", a rather clear swipe at that other martial-arts-focused franchise involving guns, lasers, and morphing which was fairly popular at the time this film was released.
  • This Is Unforgivable!:
    • Elysia has never forgiven Yun for the death of her brother, even though it was an accident. She believes that it was still a life and it also broke the Warriors' creed.
    • Ryan also doesn't take kindly to traitors.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill:
    • An integral part of the Warriors' Code. This results in a world-threatening war that has rages for years and apparently produced one casualty by the Warriors - of an innocent person. Since Komodo's forces were, presumably, not restricted by the Warriors' Code and could kill and enslave all they wanted, it's no wonder the good guys were on the ropes by the time Ryan showed up...
    • Though Yun breaking that code prior to the film's start caused most of the problems associated with the main plot, in particular Elysia's betrayal.
    • It turns out there's another reason that rule is in place: if you use your powers to kill someone, you temporarily lose them. This is ultimately what leads to Komodo's defeat.
  • Token Black Friend: Like so many family films of the era, Ryan's only true friend is a black kid named Chucky.
  • Trapped in Another World: Ryan ending up in Tao
  • We Can Rule Together: When he captures Ryan, Komodo attempts to sway him to his side. It's unknown if he did this with Elysia or if she was already on his side.
  • We Used to Be Friends: General Grillo was once with the Warriors of Virtue, and Yun tries appealing to this when they're captured by Komodo. However, even then they were apparently rivals, and Grillo reminds Yun of that, rejecting his plea for help.
  • Wok Fu: Ming is a chef, but he uses martial arts skills in his job. This actually does some good when another chef trips on a tomato; Ming manages to catch the guy using his leg, brings him up, and then proceeds to catch all the falling food.
  • You Killed My Father: Presumably one of Elysia's motives for joining Komodo was because Yun killed her brother.

The film sequel contains examples of:

  • Ascended Extra: Chucky, Ryan's best friend from the first movie, returns as one of the main characters. He doesn't do anything beneficial to the plot until the last third.
  • Darker and Edgier: Dogon is not as hammy or sissy as Komodo was. However, he's also not as bloodthirsty since he wanted to leave Ryan to be consumed by his guilt and failure for the rest of eternity. Compared to Komodo, Dogon is a pretty serious villain for this franchise.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Warriors are given this treatment. They provided more in the first movie by protecting the springs, fighting Komodo and saving Ryan. Here, they do very little, mainly because most of them had been captured by Dogon.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Dogon originally meant for Ryan and his friends to endure this for the rest of their existence rather than kill them. Although, he might have done this to preserve his magic, which both movies have shown is diminished if someone is killed.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Dogon strokes Amythis' face when he captures her. She responds by spitting in his eye.
  • In Name Only: For one thing, no kangaroos.
  • Language Barrier: Chucky doesn't know any Chinese, which makes conversations difficult for him.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Dogon decided that Ryan and his friends' punishment was to live in his shame and staying outside of the cells was more efficient than killing them off or locking them up. If only he knew how this would come back to hurt him later. Admittedly, they were tied up and under heavy guard. Though not killing them was a pretty dumb move.
  • Revenge of the Sequel: This was done five years after the first movie and it doesn't have any of the original actors come back.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Instead of focusing on the Warriors like the title suggests (and like the first movie kinda did), the movie focuses on Ryan and Amythis.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Rather than suffer from another Distress Ball like he did in the first movie, Ryan has taken up martial arts in between films and is able to stand against Dogon.
  • Villainous Crush: Dogon and Amythis had a relationship prior to his betrayal, and he's clearly still interested in her. However...
  • Would Hit a Girl: Dogon has no qualms about attempting to kill his former lover, Amythis.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Subverted. Dogon settled to give Ryan and the other characters a Fate Worse than Death.

The book sequels also contain examples of:

  • Ascended Extra: The overarching plot is that Ryan is summoned back to Tao along with four of his friends so that each can accompany one of the Roos back to the Lifespring where they were born and fix the problems arising there. These friends were minor characters in the original movie (and Brad was included, so the definition of 'friend' was rather loose...). Unfortunately, Ming was not one of them.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Chi admits to being one in "Chi and the Giant", as well as a former prankster who used trickery to get back at the others teasing him for being the youngest.
  • Cat Scare: "Lai and the Headhunters" has one when one of the shrunken heads moves, revealing itself to be Lai, who concealed his body in the woods and masqueraded as one.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Brad, who winds up accompanying Yee for the biggest Odd Couple pairing of the books and develops from Jerkass to Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: In "Yun and the Sea Serpent", Yun deals with the beast by sewing its mouth shut, while it's awake, aware and thrashing in agony. True, he says that he leaves enough slack for it to eat plankton, and it was to correct the serpent's original dietary habits, but still...
  • Swarm of Rats: Happens several times in Tsun and the Rats.
  • Tagalong Kid: Ryan and each of his friends play this role to one of the Roos.