Forgotten Action Cinema: Warriors of Virtue

What sort of motion picture does director Ronny Yu decide to pursue after delivering his action classic “The Bride with the White Hair”? One centered around a band of deadly kung fu kangaroos, of course! “Warriors of Virtue” took quite the critical lashing when it arrived in theaters way back in 1997, and it’s easy to understand why. The film, a Chinese-American actioner that suffers from some seriously wonky acting, is one seriously jagged pill to swallow if you don’t have the stomach for cheesy family-oriented cinema. The story follows the adventures of a Ryan, a wimpy high school student whose physical disability prevents him from joining the football team. Like most cinematic athletes with access to crippled kids, the guys on the squad are quick to give him crap, going as far as to trick the poor kid into a particularly hazardous hazing ritual that sends him spiraling into another dimension. It’s here that Ryan discovers the titular Warriors of Virtue, a band of marital arts masters who also happen to be walking, talking kangaroos. Together the team will face the evil Komodo (Angus Macfadyen), a villain who seems hellbent on destroying the ‘roos. If you’re at all familiar with Yu’s style, then “Warriors of Virtue” and its bizarre action set pieces shouldn’t come as an enormous surprise. The use of slow motion does get a little old, as it’s incorporated into nearly every fight sequence in the film. By the end of the film. lessons are learned, dwarves are insulted, and our disabled hero earns some new friends. Sadly, the film is only available in the US in full screen format, which means you should expect lots of pan-and-scan tomfoolery. A sequel was crafted in 2002, a film I’m currently in the process of tracking down. If family-friendly kung fu is your thing, take a chance on “Warriors of Virtue”. Don’t be surprised if you love it to death.



About Todd Rigney

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Todd was raised on a steady diet of Hollywood blockbusters, late-night Cinemax programming, and USA’s “Up All Night,” which may explain why his taste in movies is more than a little questionable. When he isn’t providing news and reviews for Beyond Hollywood, he can be found lounging lazily on his couch, perched in front of his television, or dwelling in places where direct sunlight can be easily avoided. He's happily married, in his 30's, and totally badass. If you'd like to reach Todd, you can follow him on Twitter or send him email/scoops to todd (at) beyondhollywood.com.

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  • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

    Loved the movie as a kid but it definitely hasn’t aged well. In some ways it’s a precursor to “avatar: The Last Airbender,” “Forbidden Kingdom” was similar but much more serious and MUCH less cheesy. An update to this, where each elemtent is represented by a different animal instead of them all being Kangaroos. Never saw the sequel but I bet it was horrid.

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com Todd

      I only discovered this movie recently, so I feel like I’m a little late to the party. Still, I enjoy the film for what it is, though I do have a high tolerance for cheesy martial arts movies.

    • Ralph Renteria

      ther was a sequel?

  • X_p

    i gotta admit i saw this again recently and tho the nostalgia bug bit me… its kinda a chore to watch. as dedpool pointed out it hasnt aged well, the roos look terrible, the bad guy is orite but the whole thing wreaks of ninja turtle imitation. still tho… id be down to watch part two even if is worse.

  • Dante the Movie Maniac

    Todd, I must warn you. NEVER WATCH WARRIORS OF VIRTUE: RETURN TO TAO!! It is one of the worst films ever committed to celluloid. It is possibly the worst sequel ever made, yes even worse than HIGHLANDER 2. The movie is currently not available to in the US. How I managed to see i cannot tell you. But after I did I wish I hadn’t, it is truly too terrible for words! Nothing of what made the first film a guilty pleasure is in the second. Not Ronnie Yu, not the same actors, not even the Roos!

    Here’s a quick rundown of it to save you. Five years later Ryan is called back to Tao while he is in China for a martial arts tournament. Once he returns he discovers that the Roos now look human, a new evil warlord seeks to rule all dimensions, and the princess of Tao looks to him to save the day. If you are wondering how Ryan can be in a martial arts tournament, the Roos can be human, and when did Tao get a princess? Guess what this movie comes up with the lamest, cheapest ways possible to answer those questions. The movie rips off STAR WARS every chance it gets, Ryan gets a black sidekick whose more annoying than Jar Jar, and the fight scenes are worse than your average episode of HERCULES. Speaking of which WOV 2 has Kevin Smith (Ares on HERCULES) as it’s main villain. A short time after he finished shooting he died in a tragic accident. So this is literally a movie so bad it killed a man!

    I mean every word I say this movie is an absolute disaster, I hope it never gets released here in the US. Save yourself and abandon your quest. WARRIORS OF VIRTUE: RETURN TO TAO is not a movie worth finding. I have warned you.

    Dante the Movie Maniac,

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Dedpool

      …I’m stunned. You’ve even momentarily halted my morbid.curiosity to see this train wreck. I mean seriously. And I loved me some Kevin Smith. RIP. *sigh*
      Sent on the go!

      • Dante the Movie Maniac

        I salute you, you crazy nut! If you want to find it go to this website: http://www.kat.ph/.

  • Joelsadae

    I thought the first one was good it is alittle cheesy? But is way better then the second one and it sucks so mad I wish someone could re do that film and make it better and not silly but the first was good