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Blade Gunner

Weird, garish and violent, the latest samurai movie, "The Warrior's Way", is tame by comparison.

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“Wait! Did you hear someone crying?” Jang Dong-gun's performance in “The Warrior's Way” is anything but killer.
  • “Wait! Did you hear someone crying?” Jang Dong-gun's performance in “The Warrior's Way” is anything but killer.

It takes a lot of references to adequately describe “The Warrior's Way,” a film about a swordsman (Jang Dong-gun) who learns living is better than killing while he spares a baby, falls for a girl (Kate Bosworth) and protects a mythical Western town from the evil forces of an outlaw military man (Danny Huston). Here's a start.

Thematically, the movie is part “Lone Wolf and Cub” and part “The Magnificent Seven.” Stylistically it's more “Resident Evil” meets Jean-Pierre Jeunet, set in an Old West replete with ninjas, flying knives, quick draws, slow-motion bullets, circus freaks, machine guns and explosions. The movie even squeezes in some dialogue, comic relief and romance. The result is like watching cheaply digitized cut scenes to a Playstation 3 video game occasionally interrupted by moments from “Our Town.”

Though silly and facile, “The Warrior's Way” seems understated and tasteful compared with other movies playing at the multiplex.

Previews showcase movies that take the more-is-more principle to another level. One in particular is about a priest who battles an army of vampires who've taken over after the end of society, along with shape-shifted demon dogs, ninjas, Old West lawmen and mechanized destructobots — defeating them with throwing stars and flying kicks and futuristic motorcycles.

Doubtless there are those who might ask, excitedly, “What movie is that!?” Don't worry, a lot of them are just like it.

Outside in the hallway, movie posters are adorned with much more of the same vague apocalyptic mAclange, all about saving the world from evil. There's an advertisement for a fourth “Pirates of the Caribbean” (Geoffrey Rush wouldn't even need to change his costume from “The Warrior's Way”). Men swoop on neon motorcycles in “Tron: Legacy.” There's a poster for a movie called “Cowboys and Aliens.” “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” advertised a menagerie of dragons, knights, spirits and wizards, who received equal billing to a rodent wielding a cutlass.

In this movie climate, if that rodent had made an appearance in a movie like “The Warrior's Way,” maybe on the back of a demon vampire revving a future motorcycle, it wouldn't have raised an eyebrow. (R) 100 min.

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