Warriors of Virtue

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Warriors of Virtue
Warriors of virtue.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Ronny Yu
Produced by Ronald Law
Dennis Law
Christopher Law
Jeremy Law
Patricia Ruben
Screenplay by Michael Vickerman
Hugh Kelley
Starring Angus Macfadyen
Mario Yedidia
Marley Shelton
Chao-Li Chi
Doug Jones
Music by Don Davis
Cinematography Peter Pau
Edited by David Wu
China Film Co-Production Corporation
Law Brothers Entertainment
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (USA)
Entertainment Film Distributors (UK)
Release dates
  • May 2, 1997 (1997-05-02)
Running time
101 minutes
Country United States
Budget $35,000,000
Box office $3,277,084

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 suffers a disability to his leg, preventing him from trying out for sports and is instead a waterboy to the school's football team. He has a crush on a girl at school, but it happens to be quarterback Brad's girlfriend, which earns him ire from the popular kids. Ryan is an avid comic book reader and dreams of adventure, hiding his depression over his leg from his mother. One day, Ryan meets with Ming, the owner of his favorite restaurant, who gives him a manuscript of Tao, representing the five elements; Earth, Fire, Water, Metal and Wood, and advises him to live no matter what his physical limits are. That night, Ryan and his best friend Chucky are met by Brad and his friends who want to initiate them with their group. They are led to a water plant where Ryan must cross a narrow pipe to sign his name on a wall on the other side. Ignoring Chucky's warnings, Ryan attempts to do it. But a water pipe opens up, throwing Ryan into the water.

Ryan wakens in a forest and is attacked by strange creatures, he is rescued by a strange creature from the lake and runs, realizing that his leg now works. He meets Mudlap, a diminutive creature who leads him to Elysia. Upon hearing about the manuscript, which Ryan lost in the earlier attack, she decides to take him to Master Chung, once there, he also meets four of the warriors; Lai, the warrior of Wood; Yee, the warrior of Metal; Tsun, the warrior of Earth; and Chi, the warrior of Fire. He learns that the warrior of Water, Yun is no longer with them after something happened that drove him away. Ryan assumes Yun has the manuscript. Ryan is told of Kemodo, a man obsessed with eternal youth who is killing the land by drying the Life Springs of Tao in order to stay young, and that their home is the last of the Life Springs. Hoping the manuscript holds an answer, Ryan suggests finding Yun. Ryan is captured by Barbarocious, one of Kemodo's servants and is rescued by Yun; he manages to convince Yun to return to his home, but discovers that he does not have the manuscript and assumes Kemodo has it. Kemodo, however is unable to read the manuscript, as the pages come up blank for him, he suspects Ryan; the newcomer who brought the book would be the only one who can read it, a thought that Master Chung also has.

Yee, Chi and Yun leave to recover the book while Lai and Tsun remain behind. Ryan is tricked by Mudlap into General Grillo's capture, but Master Chung rescues him. Meanwhile, the other warriors fall into a trap set by Kemodo and discover Elysia had betrayed them for Kemodo and narrowly escape a deadly trap. They realize that their friends are in danger and return to their home. Kemodo faces Chung and kills him as Ryan escapes, but Ryan is quickly captured and taken to Kemodo's palace, where he discovers Elysia's betrayal and she informs him that Yun had accidentally killed her brother in a battle, forcing her to turn against him. She and Kemodo try to get him to read the book, but he realizes he is unable to. Kemodo loses his temper at this and tries to strike Ryan down, he is stopped by Elysia, who is then killed by Barbarocious. In retaliation, Kemodo kills Barbarocious as well and Ryan escapes his capture. Having become unhinged, Kemodo challenges the warriors to one-on-one combat, dividing himself into five Kemodos and taunting each warrior as he faces and defeats them one at a time. Ryan discovers an inscription that appears to him in the book, which gives him a clue on how the Warriors can defeat him. He sacrifices himself, to weaken Kemodo's power and tells the others to combine their powers to purify him. Kemodo becomes good again, with no apparent knowledge of his actions and is forgiven by the warriors. Ryan lays, apparently dying from his injuries and Yee speaks his name, talking for the first time in many years.

Ryan is suddenly back at the water plant as before, ready to walk across the pipe. Realizing desparation to fit in is what led him to this moment, he changes it by agreeing with Chucky's concerns and leaving. Brad is cornered in when the water rushes in like before, trapping him by the graffiti wall. His anger turns his friends against him, and everyone leaves Brad for the police. Ryan apologizes to his mother for an earlier argument, and that night when he goes to bed he offers to tell his dog about Tao.


Voice cast[edit]


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.[1] 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.[2]


A second film titled Warriors of Virtue: The Return to Tao was released on October 22, 2002. It was directed by the first film's co-writer Michael Vickerman with Nathan Phillips replacing Yedidia as Ryan Jeffers along Nina Liu as Amythis, Shedrack Anderson III as Chucky and Kevin Smith (his final role) as Dogon, a villain bent on taking over our world and Tao.

Third film is the works with Phillips returning Jeffers.


  1. ^ Pragasam, Andrew. "Warriors of Virtue Review (1997)". The Spinning Image. Retrieved 2010-02-21. 
  2. ^ Warriors of Virtue on Rotten Tomatoes Accessed on June 21, 2010

External links[edit]