The Warrior's Path (a.k.a. The Sanctuary), 2009.
Directed by Thanapon Maliwan.
Starring Michael B., Russell Wong, Intira Jaroenpura, Patharawarin Timkul and Erik Markus Schuetz.
When a priceless antique is discovered deep in the dark heart of the Thai jungle a young explorer thinks all his dreams have come true. Little does he know that this artefact harbours a dark secret and will set in motion a series of catastrophic events.
Personally speaking, I try to steer clear of spending a hazy Sunday afternoon watching film channels. It’s at this time of day that you’re usually subjected to something lacking an edge or a cheap knock off of something that has a bit of an edge. Even worse, a cheap knock off that doesn’t know what edge is, but decides to keep swinging a blunt object until the hour and a half mark is over. My Sundays are best spent choosing my films wisely. The Warrior's Path is a film I can’t imagine anyone bringing up in conversation unless their day was really that unfulfilling.
Shambling along from the first scene, we are subjected to bad acting and a very cheap feel. A phrase that came to mind during the set up to the film's story was ‘crap Bond film’. The macguffin is introduced, stolen and is then the centre of an underwhelming fight scene in the first ten minutes. The unoriginal object of desire in question is a set of royal pottery and a mystical jewel, most likely worth enough to have five members of the Royal Family killed. This generic charade takes place in the latter half of the 19th century before we are fast forwarded to a modern day Thailand (I forgot to mention the location before, but this story could take place anywhere, to be frank.) where we are introduced to a collection of cut out bad guys and frightfully awful protagonists.
I’m not overreacting when I’m saying I had no idea who to root for. The bad guys seemed like phoned in anti heroes who would be suited in a Channel 5 standard heist movie, whilst the leading ‘heroes’ just seemed irritatingly young and whiney. In a way, I just wasn’t interested in who got what they were looking for; I just wanted them to go away. Even the cookie cutter heisters didn’t seem like they were trying at all. Imagine if Tomb Raider was stripped of its entire Indiana Jones links and the action scenes were reduced to below par Chuck Norris fights. Can you do that? Now imagine a terrible soundtrack and use of sound effects that make the finished product have the feel of a particularly bad videogame adaption of a film that probably wasn’t that good anyway.
I might sound like I’m repeating myself, but The Warrior's Path does not feel like its own film. There’s an overhanging sense of borrowing things from other films. In a word, generic. Everything slots into place in such a painfully simplistic way that the film could be about a talking duck hunting down a large supply of concrete pancakes, before a gang of retired office desks armed with dangerous loaves of bread can get them and you’d still be watching the same film, to an extent. I really don’t know how this film came together in its conception stage. Was it a pulp martial arts flick with a tacked on antiques hunt? Or was it a poor man’s Indiana Jones with fight scenes thrown in? I don’t think anyone has a clue about what the film was supposed to achieve, not even the director. If you find this in the bargain bin at your local Tesco, find another Tesco.
Will Preston is a student at the University of Portsmouth. He writes for various blogs (including his own website), presents a weekly radio show on PURE FM and makes various short films.
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