I’ve found I have a knack for finding hidden, semi-popular, well-constructed, impressive, awkward, popular, revered, and/or questionable movie gems.
A handful have conjured up in my brain over the past few days that fit this description, such as: fire ice (1983), Help! I am a fish (2000), Tom Sawyer (2000), wizard (1977), Rock & Rule (1983), Titan AE (2000), espionage (2019), Firedrake: The silver dragon (2020), Gen 13 (1998), Forever my love (1962), Little Nemo (1992), Capture the flag (2015), Justin and the Knights of Valor (2013), Babes in toy land (1997), We are back! The Story of a Dinosaur (1993), Starchaser: The Legend of Orin (1985), the dragon nest Movies (2014 & 2016), Dinotopia (2005) to name a few.
Enter the warrior gate definitely falls into one or more of the above categories.
I was on Netflix and venturing onto the screen to see what’s there when I suddenly found it Enter the warrior gate and saw Dave Bautista’s name in the cast list. You could only guess my surprised facial expression that day. I think I laughed a little.
For those who may not know, Dave Bautista is a former WWE wrestler-turned-actor. He began his brawler career in 1999, competing in WWE events from 2002-2011, 2014 and a final run in 2018-19. People know him best for his acting role as Drax the Destroyer in the Guardians of the Galaxy Movies and Trent DeRosa in Escape Plan 2: Hades (2018) as well Escape Plan 3: The Extractors (2019).
The second escape plan Film wasn’t that good according to Rotten Tomatoes. 8th%! Ha! I almost fell out of bed in anger. Regardless, he tried. Bautista is one of the few wrestlers who have performed as CM Punk, The Rock, John Cena, Paige, Roman Reigns, Big Show, The Miz and so on that I can remember.
While reading Enter the warrior gates outline, it reminded me of another film I haven’t seen with a similar theme, in which a white boy is transported to ancient China, the forbidden kingdom (2008) states. Apparently, Bautista’s film was seen as a rip-off.
However, Enter the warrior gate is a 2016 Sino-French action-adventure fantasy film in which Bautista plays the antagonist named Arun the Cruel, the Terrible, the Terrible, the Wretched. But they call him “Arun the Cruel” for short. Who wouldn’t want to see this movie just out of curiosity because of that name? Unless it’s just me…
The synopsis reads as follows: “An avid gamer is magically transported to ancient China where he must become a warrior in order to save the princess from an evil warlord.” Of course, given the synopsis, it shows interest. hmm?
I didn’t realize it at first, especially after watching this movie 5 times, but now I understand why this movie got 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. Uff. It’s like half of it is good and the other half is questionable. That makes the 100%. Before anyone feels the need to throw a tantrum at a defenseless tree, listen to me. It’s not that bad.
Do you want the good or the bad parts first? I figured I’d soften the blow by starting with the angry parts, the bad ones, from which I deduced why the film fired bullets at its own boat and sank. Because it floated just fine… for a moment, but a moment is all it takes.
Let me be blunt. Bautista’s character, Arun, was hardly an antagonist. Very underutilized. He goes into the dumpster fire. He’s supposed to be the… I don’t think so king is the right word, says the leader of his fearsome band of barbarians. Only he wasn’t.
There were times when I felt like I was watching someone who was given the script two hours before the film was shot and now they have to work with what they have. Arun was not cruel, terrible, terrible, or wretched in a way that should have complemented the character rather than contradicted it. It’s almost as if Bautista didn’t bother adding some effort.
I suspect it was a temporary misdirection by the crew because their version of an antagonist is wrong for this film. They could have tried to make us understand why Arun is the way he is. Why does he rob and plunder? His need to become emperor to take over the capital, why? Means to his end would be nice. It can’t just be about power – they didn’t say…
It also didn’t help when I saw Su Lin and Arun side by side and knew he was forcing her to marry him and the age difference was staggering.
For me, Bautista’s acting skills are unbalanced, he’s good in some places and then completely fails in others. What about it?
Amazingly, he wasn’t the only one whose character was a bit off from me. His barbaric army was not even remotely intimidating. You’re not brutal enough. They seemed more confused and lost to me than funny. It’s like they don’t know we’re not in rehearsals anymore. We’re filming now.
You cannot give a person such a name and give them little to no accuracy. That’s impolite.
Want to know what else is rude? The killing numbers are not credible. There is a scene that has struck me every time I have watched this movie where Arun, his right hand man Brutus and the army arrive at a village to mark what it is they have made their own . money, food, slaves.
One of Arun’s men tells him that they have few slaves as they only have 26. Arun orders Brutus to kill the man responsible for the slave trade, but mistakenly eliminates the wrong cousin. And during that execution, or lack of executions, the budget was clearly not going to make dead people appear dead.
Blood was badly needed.
They really thought I wouldn’t notice the sword Brutus uses to kill him once the camera zooms out of the man’s face Not going through his abdomen, but instead between his right arm and his waist, completely missing the target. wha—?
I was stunned. I felt gassed. No words can describe this except how embarrassing it must be for the crew. Holy Christ!
There was something else that was inadequate, the setting. We’re in ancient China, so why haven’t I seen more of it? I think the film could have benefited more from making sure it hits the two hour mark. It would have made some room for additional storytelling for Arun, Jack, Princess Su Lin, the Wizard and maybe even Brutus. If it was going to be really great, the crew should have expanded their work a bit better.
Like that bizarre scene where they turned Brutus into a 3D CGI behemoth was a terrible choice to start with.
Also, I thought her goal of giving the main character Jack a friend who’s amazingly forgettable was a big deal, what the heck? Hector is the guy’s name. He wasn’t there to help Jack when he was being bullied, nor was he part of the adventure to China.
As I recalled his existence, I thought, why was he here? Overall, an unnecessary and irrelevant character. With or without him, the story would have been the same.
I want to say I feel the same way about Jack’s slightly wacky mother, Annie, who also felt absent. It hit Hector’s character too much. But what Hector and Jack didn’t have was a connection, while Annie and Jack did as mother and son. It wasn’t long before we had to jump back in time, but in the small amount granted to us, they made this relationship wholesome.
To deepen the theme of relationships, the exchange between Arun and Brutus is amusing. Her gags depicting superiority and the manner of communicating with the most trusted officers were well done. The scenes I laughed at the most were when Brutus eliminates the wrong person and Arun has to give a signal that Brutus doesn’t understand.
Jack and Zhao’s friendship is also in full swing. Jack elaborates on his bully to someone who has traveled through a crate, which is certainly developing into a common point of view. Zhao teaches Jack an important lesson in combat maneuvers while Jack teaches the warrior how to swim. Win, win.
If the film had taken the two-hour route, those friendships would have been more nurtured and filled. But we can’t always get what we want, especially when it makes sense.
Uh oh oh, that one scene got me cackling too much, and then Arun tells us about his most loyal animals: horses. They were fed and cared for only by his hands, hence Jack, Princess Su Lin, and Warrior Zhao’s failed attempt to escape.
Arun says: “You [his horses] are more loyal than all my men. They would die for me,” and I replied softly, “Well, that’s unfortunate for them, they didn’t ask to be sacrificed like bacon on a grill.” These poor creatures don’t know what they’re doing. Such a shame.
At first glance, it seems like I’ve delved into the technicalities of this conversation, but I really meant it when I said it’s not that bad. I like it. The design for the characters is amazing but feel free to look at it.
Although a little shaky, the story of a gamer boy learning to have more faith in himself to stand up to his bullies, venturing through a time travel box to save a soon-to-be empress from a goddamn evil warlord and paying off his debts pay. Inspirational…if they include the changes I just said.
At the very least, we get a fake Santa Claus beard, a wig, and heaps of silliness known as wheezing.
Enter the Warrior Gate (2016)
|Directed by:||Matthew Hoene|
|Written by:||Luc Besson, Robert Mark Kamen|
|Pour:||Mark Chao, Ni Ni, and Dave Bautista|
|Duration:||1 hour and 48 minutes.|
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