Writer/director Sngmoo Lee delivers a strange film that mixes sword play, assorted circus people, murder, revenge and a cute baby girl.
Korean actor Jang Dong-Gun is Yang, a master martial artist and swordsman who fights an entire sect of flying hooded killers. He slays them all, except for a baby girl he finds hidden in a basket.
He takes the baby and heads off to find a more peaceful life for himself and the orphan. He ends up at an odd western ghost town. The place consists of a few dilapidated buildings and a giant broken down ferris wheel at the end of its one street.
The town is filled with circus performers who wear their full makeup and costumes as they try to rebuild their circus. Clowns, the bearded lady, and the town drunk (Geoffrey Rush) wander in and out of scenes, which adds to the absurdness of it all.
The town had been destroyed by an evil Colonel (Danny Huston) who killed the family of the pretty resident tomboy (Kate Bosworth). She burned his face with hot oil and can't wait for his return so she can finish the job.
Yang hangs up his sword, plants flowers, opens a laundry and hopes to settle down to live quietly with his ward - but, this wouldn't be a martial arts film if everything remained quiet. Not only can he count on a visit from those pesky flying ninjas, but also the nasty Colonel.
Lee uses two different types of fight scenes. The beginning battle has CGI assassins and as Yang's sword comes into contact with them, blood flows out in slow motion and seems to disappear in thin air. Later, the action is live and severed body parts appear everywhere.
Mr. Dong-Gun is an impressive newcomer, even though he has little dialogue, he has presence on the screen. Hopefully he'll have better material for his follow-up.