"The Warrior's Way" is one hot mess of a movie.

It has the best cinematography of the year, hands down. It has ninjas, clowns and cowboys doing battle.

It's a fever dream of a flick that blends Sergio Leone's spaghetti-Western action with Asian-style "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" mysticism and Federico Fellini's imagery. Oh, yes, and I can't omit Sam Raimi's "The Quick and the Dead," nor the look and feel of the HBO series "Carnivale."

Jang Dong-gun plays The Greatest Warrior In the Whole Wide World, who has slain all the members of a rival clan except for a weeks-old baby. He can't bring himself to kill her, so he takes her with him as he continues his travels.

Even as he is being hunted down by his own clan, the Sad Flutes, he takes off to the Wild West, where he arrives in a desert town with the members of a traveling circus and is befriended by a fellow known as Eight Ball (Tony Cox, "Bad Santa"). The brutal Colonel (Danny Huston) preys on these folks, riding into town with his henchmen and killing a few people for sport (not to mention what he does with the young women).

The warrior, known now as "Skinny," decides that he will fight the psychotic, powerful Colonel, even though he knows that his own clan will arrive soon to try to dispatch him.

Skinny, with the help of Lynne (Kate Bosworth), learns to manage a laundry, where he makes a living. In return, she asks that he teach her how to throw knives.

It is not an exaggeration to say that the visuals are stunning. From breathtaking sunsets to blood-drenched battles and sepia-toned backgrounds in which flowers bloom brightly, every scene is incredible to see. This is likely the only film in which you'll see clowns and ninjas take each other on in a swirl of dust.

The music, which is as intense and vibrant as the visual palette, ranges from opera to the "Sailor's Hornpipe."

Jang is the perfect actor to portray the handsome, stoic warrior. Bosworth is effervescent as the woman whose heart is softened by the mysterious stranger.

The bizarre plot sometimes loses its way. Still, this is an above-average tale. Particularly if you're a fan of manga (a Japanese style of cartoons and comics), Westerns or cinematography, you'll find something eye-catching here.

 

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