When it's over, this is cowboys vs. ninjas in a Mad Max setting and throw in a bit of Kill Bill. After an assassin fails to complete his last mission, the hunter becomes the hunted and finds refuge and a new life in a small town in the old west. International film star, Jang Dong Gun looks great as the ninja warrior, Yang. He's handsome, he's lean, he's trim, and he moves with deadly grace; Kate Bosworth showed she could hold her own up against the baddies playing a woman, Lynne, with a score to settle; and Geoffrey Rush played a convincing drunk with a steady trigger finger. There's plenty of gunplay and gore, but it's really the well choreographed - almost poetic - swordplay that separates this film from other martial arts films. Also, the two small love stories in the film helped keep the emotional action moving - (1) the baby that Yang grows to love and needs to protect and (2) the budding love between Yang and Lynne and their inevitable separation. I haven't seen anything this visually stylish since Director Zhang Yimou's "Hero" or "House of Flying Daggers." It's fresh, it's different, and it works. The use of colors and smart cinematography blend together nicely giving the film a surrealist look and the use of opera music gave some of the action sequences a more fluid and defined emotional experience.
My rating: 4 out of 5
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