When I was in college we had a Bad Movie Club. We would find bad movies on Netflix and riff on them while watching. But there were those rare movies that were so weird/fun that we would wind up saying “Wow, I actually liked that movie.” Enter The Warrior’s Gate is one of those films.
The movie is about a teenager Jack Bronson (Uriah Shelton) who is sucked into a mythologized ancient China to rescue a princess (Ni Ni) from an evil barbarian king (Dave Bautista). Jack’s new warrior ally (Mark Chao) agrees to teach him the art of Kung-Fu and in exchange Jack will teach him the art of breakdancing.
Much of the film’s entertainment value comes from the jaw-dropping disregard for the plot having any internal logic.
Jack’s wacky Chinese boss gifts Jack an heirloom that’s been in his family for centuries because…?
Jack’s hard-working single (yet attractive) mom can no longer afford the mortgage but can fund her son’s video game addiction and an impromptu shopping spree for an inter-dimensional princess.
Jack has a romance with said princess who’s clearly twice his age.
Jack learns to be a Kung-Fu genius in the course of one week in magic China and uses his new found skills to…beat-up high school bullies.
The stuff mentioned above was cheesy but in an endearing way. The true weak elements in the film come from the fights being just “ok.” Which is a shame because there are clearly some strong martial artists in the film. The climatic battle felt cut short while the epilogue runs on for too long. There was also an awesome wizard who needed way more screen time.
The film is legitimately funny. Especially Dave Bautista’s take on the barbarian king. Each scene will leave you either laughing at the movie or laughing with it. The concept is too ridiculous not to crack a smile. I also commend the film for committing to its weirdness. The jokes poke fun at the ridiculous situations but are never meta or self-deprecating.
The costumes, sets, and overall art direction are beautiful. I’m a sucker for limited color pallets and The Warriors Gate makes great use of contrasting red with blue and gold. This is a B-Movie that acts like a B+ Movie.
Enter The Warrior’s Gate is a teenage boy power fantasy, but with charm. If you liked movies like the first Transformers and the Scorpion King you can get on board with the movie’s camp. If you thought the movie looked stupid just from the trailer, don’t waste your time. Enter The Warrior’s Gate is very cheesy, but hey so is pizza, and sometimes you just want to order a pizza.