Warrior's Gate

2017-05-12 07:31

What it's about:

After a mysterious chest opens a gateway through time, teen gamer Jack is transported to an ancient empire terrorised by a cruel barbarian king. Jack will need all of his gaming prowess as he battles to defeat the barbarian, protect a beautiful princess, and, somehow, find his way back home.

What we thought:

It would seem China is desperate to enter the international film market, pushing through massive blockbuster type films with white leads that seem to piss people off more than make them want to see these movies. The Warrior’s Gate feels like it came out of the 90s, where young white boys ending up in magical worlds was all the rage on the cinema circuit. Coupled with the fact that he’s time travelling to ancient China and has to ‘rescue’ highly skilled trained warriors from a white barbaric villain, just scream tone-deafness in an era where people are a little more sensitive to whitewashing. The fact that Luc Besson wrote this nonsense makes it even worse.

A bullied white gamer teenager (Uriah Shelton) finds himself in possession of a magical portal to ancient China, through which a princess (Ni Ni) is thrusted into his care by a warrior (Mark Chao) and protect her from a barbaric madman (Dave Bautista) set on marrying her for her throne. Predictable story follows.

They must have thrown a lot of money and a very short deadline at Besson to come up with this outdated story. Granted besides Fifth Element and Taken, the guy doesn’t have the best track record, but this just dampened my expectations for his next blockbuster, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. Though he didn’t direct this abomination, like Igor he still had a hand in bringing this monster to life.

The story was peppered with clichés mixed in with some really random scenarios, like a witch making soup on a bridge and cannibalistic tree people, as well as a complete hatred for basic logic that everything, even magic, needs to adhere to. There’s a wizard with amazing abilities that he just pulls out whenever he wants to, but not when it’s really needed, or white boy is mostly completely useless but awesome warrior guy gets taken far too many notches down just because he can’t swim and has to be taught by the ‘saviour’ (and if this is too many spoilers for you, good, no one should spend money on this hogwash).

The worst part, is that this film might have been watchable, nay, even enjoyable, if the white boy drama and time travelling was completely left out and you were left with the hilarious Bautista, the bad-ass princess and the somber warrior guy. The banter between Bautista and Ni Ni was extremely entertaining, but too much time was taken up by white boy and his terrible acting, and the fact that the princess and the warrior guy could easily have dealt with their barbarian horde problem by themselves makes it even more irksome.

Basically, there are better things to spend your money on than going back in time with The Warrior’s Gate. There are way, way better Chinese productions more deserving of your time and money, and if you really want that big blockbuster experience, there’s a certain Marvel movie out at the moment that will be a better investment of your time.


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