Warriors of Virtue
|Warriors of Virtue|
|Directed by||Ronny Yu|
|Produced by||Ronald Law
|Screenplay by||Michael Vickerman
|Music by||Don Davis|
|Edited by||David Wu|
|China Film Co-Production Corporation
Law Brothers Entertainment
|Distributed by||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (USA)
Entertainment Film Distributors (UK)
|Running time||101 minutes|
Warriors Of Virtue is a 1997 Chinese-American fantasy film directed by Ronny Yu. It is in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Although commercially unsuccessful and critically panned, a sequel, Warriors of Virtue: The Return to Tao, was made in 2002.
Ryan Jeffers (Mario Yedidia) is a middle school student with a disability, implied to be from an injury. As a result, he spends most of his time reading comic books and imagining other worlds where he might have a great adventure. One day, he stops at his favorite Chinese restaurant, Ming's, and visits with the owner (Dennis Dun). He gives Ryan a manuscript of Tao which is a representation of the five elements that make up their mythology, explaining that the book could lead to Ryan's "true enlightenment". Ryan claims he doesn't need any "Self Help" books, but takes the manuscript anyway. Meanwhile at school, Ryan, who is a waterboy for the school's football team is caught eying quarterback Brad's (Michael Dubrow) girlfriend and they proceed to pick on him and his best friend Chucky (Ricky D'Shon Collins). When she stands up for Ryan, Brad instead invites Ryan and Chucky to an initiation ritual which involves them crossing a flimsy looking pipe in a water treatment plant in order to graffiti their names on a wall. Ryan ignores Chucky's warnings, feeling particularly dejected for his disablement and tries to cross. However, there is a releasing of water that floods the pool and throws Ryan into the water.
Awakening in the Land of Tao, Ryan's disability is gone, and he has full use of both legs. He's attacked by soldiers, and in the process of escaping, Ryan loses his backpack with the manuscript in it. He encounters the dwarf-like Mudlap (Michael J. Anderson) who takes him to Elysia (Marley Shelton), a beautiful girl in white robes, who takes him to Master Chung (Chao-Li Chi). Master Chung leads the Warriors of Virtue: five anthropomorphic kangaroos who wield the powers of the elements. They are Lai: Warrior of Wood (Virtue of Loyalty), Chi: Warrior of Fire (Virtue of Wisdom), Tsun: Warrior of Earth (Virtue of Integrity), and Yee: Warrior of Metal (Virtue of Righteousness). Yun: Warrior of Water (Virtue of Benevolence) is no longer with the group. They are interested in finding what they refer to as the "Manuscript of Legend".
The evil warlord Komodo (Angus MacFadyen) and his army are invading and terrorizing the Land of Tao in his quest for eternal youth by feeding on the special mineral called "zubrium". The Warriors manage to save Ryan from Komodo's minion Barbarocious (Ying Qu). In order to retrieve the lost manuscript from Komodo, the Warriors join forces once again to invade Komodo's fortress. The warriors join forces once again and while Tsun and Lai remain behind, Yee, Chi and Yun hope to invade Komodo's fortress for the book. Meanwhile, Elysia tells Ryan that her brother had been killed some time ago and how he reminds her of him, but while her back is turned one of Komodo's leaders General Grillo (Tom Towles) kidnaps him and Elysia runs from the sound of Komodo's voice. As Yun, Yee and Chi break into Komodo's stronghold and try to take the book they realize they had been led into a trap set up by Elysia who, besides being more provocatively dressed by now, ignores their pleas to leave Komodo who had become her lover and used her thirst for vengeance to turn her against them. They are then dropped into a deadly trap, which they barely manage to escape. Meanwhile, General Grillo runs into Master Chung who quickly loses in a battle against him when he tries to capture Ryan. When Komodo's armies invade, Chung then faces Komodo in a fierce battle that ends with him mortally wounded. Ryan runs only to run into Mudlap who wittingly turns Ryan over to Komodo's army.
Moments later at Komodo's palace, Ryan discovers Elysia's treachery was due to the fact that Yun accidentally killed her brother in a battle. He discovers that Komodo plans to use his ability to read from the manuscript to return to Ryan's world and drink the life springs from there when Tao runs out. Ryan discovers that he too cannot read from the manuscript and the pages are blank. This sends Komodo into a rage which forces Elysia to defend Ryan. Barbarocious kills her in response to her defending Ryan. Komodo retaliates to Elysia's death and kills Barbarocious as Ryan escapes. Upset about the sudden and abrupt losses and betrayals, Ryan's only desire is to return home. Mudlap feels sorry for what he had done and returns the watch that Ryan had given him originally, telling him where the Warriors had convened. After Mudlap leaves, Ryan discovers he can read the manuscript and reads an inscription "Five is one, Positive Kung. To take a life, you lose a part of yourself." Ryan begins to realize its meaning.
The Warriors, after laying Master Chung to rest are called out by Komodo who uses his powers to pit the warriors against five duplicates of himself. They are each overcome by the greater power of Komodo's dark magic until Ryan arrives, taunting Komodo into attacking him and ripping up the manuscript. He cries the inscription to the others who use their combined power as Komodo delivers a fatal blow against Ryan effectively returning Komodo to a good man and removing his powers. Ryan lies mortally wounded, but just before he succumbs, Yee, who had been forced by his virtue into a vow of silence thanks Ryan and speaks his name.
Suddenly, Ryan is back where he started, before crossing the pipe in his initiation. This time he takes Chucky's advice to "Make like Tom and cruise." As they leave, the pipe bursts as it did before, trapping Brad on the other side with no way out, his attitude prompts his friends to simply leave him there for the police to find. Ryan returns home. One night, his dog comes to him while he sits in his room. He asks if he wants to hear about Tao as the screen goes black and Ryan begins to share his adventure.
- Mario Yedidia - Ryan Jeffers
- Angus Macfadyen - Komodo
- Marley Shelton - Elysia
- Doug Jones - Yee: Warrior of Metal (Virtue of Righteousness)
- Chao-Li Chi - Master Chung
- Jack Tate - Yun: Warrior of Water (Virtue of Benevolence)
- Don W. Lewis - Lai: Warrior of Wood (Virtue of Order), Major Keena
- J. Todd Adams - Chi: Warrior of Fire (Virtue of Wisdom)
- Adrienne Corcoran - Tsun: Warrior of Earth (Virtue of Loyalty)
- Michael J. Anderson - Mudlap
- Tom Towles - General Grillo
- Lee Arenberg - Mantose
- Dennis Dun - Ming
- Roy Cebellos - Willy Beast
- Jason Hamer - Mosely
- Teryl Rothery - Kathryn Jeffers
- Ricky D'Shon Collins - Chucky
- Michael Dubrow - Brad
- Ying Qu - Barbarocious
- Stuart Kingston - Dullard
- Michael Vickerman - Dragoon Commander
- Adam Mills - Toby
- Scott McNeil - Yun: Warrior of Water (Virtue of Benevolence)
- Doug Parker - Yee: Warrior of Metal (Virtue of Righteousness), Chi: Warrior of Fire (Virtue of Wisdom)
- Kathleen Barr - Tsun: Warrior of Earth (Virtue of Loyalty)
- Dale Wilson - Lai: Warrior of Wood (Virtue of Order)
- Mina E. Mina - Master Chung
- Drew Reichelt - Dullard
- Venus Terzo - Barbarocious
- Colin Murdock - Dragoon Commander
- Jay Brazeau - Willy Beast
- Gary Chalk - Mosely
- Ian James Corlett - Major Keena
- Ward Perry - Villager
- Shane Meier - Toby
- Michael Dobson - Chi: Warrior of Fire (Virtue of Wisdom, uncredited)
Warriors of Virtue received overwhelmingly negative reviews from critics. Film critic Kale Klein of the Carlsbad Current-Argus was so physically distressed by the film that he actually vomited during the initial screenings. On an episode of Siskel and Ebert, Gene Siskel voted thumbs down and described Warrior of Virtue as "Generic junk made for the international action market, a cheap hybrid of Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles." It currently has an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 11 reviews.
- The Doug Jones Experience - Doug Jones as 'Yee'
- Warriors of Virtue at AllMovie
- Warriors of Virtue at the Internet Movie Database
- Warriors of Virtue at Rotten Tomatoes