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Robert Ben Garant
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THE WARRIOR AND THE WOLF is a beautiful film to look at. The lush cinematography with its wide landscape shots of endless expanses of wilderness, hilly terrain and distant mountains is a glory to behold. The colours are vivid and the director has a real eye for nature's beauty. Wolves play a large part in the film's background and they've never looked so appealing as they do here. The addition of a wolf pup to the storyline only adds to that feeling.
A shame then that in all other respects this is a dog, rather than a wolf, of a film. It starts off muddled, with murky choppily-edited battle sequences and a disjointed feel to the narrative. The erstwhile hero of the piece is a pacifist shepherd one moment and a ruthless leader of men the next. I didn't have a clue what was going on in regards to the historical backdrop and it's always a giveaway of poor writing when they have to keep including on-screen text at regular intervals to tell the viewer what's supposed to be going on.
After half an hour or so of this, the action shifts to a supposedly cursed village where the lead character meets a woman and rapes her. Then he rapes her again, and again after that. Eventually, the woman falls in love with her attacker, a plot point that is so repellent as to be purely offensive. The ending of the film just peters out with no real explanation of what's happened or what we just watched. Odagiri plays the lead with the same stony-faced expression from beginning to end and Maggie Q is relegated to a window-dressing role with pretty much all of her scenes taking place in the bedroom. If you're looking for a decent Chinese historical then give this one a wide berth.
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