Film Scouts Reviews

"Warriors of Virtue"

by Leslie Rigoulot

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OK, I admit I was not really looking forward to seeing "Warriors of Virtue." It looked like a Power Rangers wannabe and well, it sort of is. But it also has elements of "Neverending Story" and some great photography as well. The plot is simple enough: our young hero is dealing with the pains of growing up and growing up with a leg brace. He falls into another time and place and fights evil while he learns. But the five Kangaroo Warriors who protect the Land Of Tao that Ryan falls into are sort of laughable until they start kicking tail in Chinese action flick style.

It really is an East Meets West story since the producers, Dennis, Ronald, Christopher and Jeremy Law are medical doctors from Hong Kong, living in the US and missing those Chinese movies they grew up watching. As doctors, they also have a respect for life that permeates the script. They link the five classic virtues of benevolence, righteousness, order, wisdom and loyalty to the five elements of earth, water, metal, wood and fire. Then of course, they assign one virtue and one element to each of the Roos. It isn't anything new, but the mixture of costuming and animatronics make it almost believable. And since the photography of the Land of Tao is all very dreamy and full of fantasy, it won't be hard for kids to get in the spirit.

And it is an unusual spirit. The bad guys aren't totally bad; the good guys are vulnerable to doubt. Not the usual bad and white of comic book material that is so prevalent today. I couldn't place the villain, Komodo at first. But it is Angus Macfadyen, Robert the Bruce in "Braveheart"! He gets to do some over-the-top acting as all villains do. And Mario Yedidia who portrays Ryan is convincing throughout the transitions from reality to Tao. Shot in Beijing and Vancouver, with a director from Hong Kong "Warriors of Virtue" has an international flavor. And Peter Pau as the Director of Photography also deserves mention. Combining the flavor of Chinese action and a surrealistic fantasy has to be a challenge but Pau is up to the task.

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