|Primary Audience:||Ages 10-15|
If you’re still into comic book fantasy, but too old to admit that you like watching the “Power Rangers” on Saturday mornings, this movie was created for you! It is targeted at gradeschoolers and early jr. high kids, especially action-loving boys. Unfortunately, it will appeal to most young children.
In a strange mix of normal drama, “Star Wars” style creatures, and “Power Rangers” comradery, “Warriors of Virtue” is unique. It combines special visual effects, humorous tension, eastern/Hindu-like religious elements and a couple of special relationships (mother/son and girl/boy) to communicate its central message: preserve life, don’t take it. Unfortunately, that nice sounding message is all but lost amid the myriad martial arts fight scenes.
In a nutshell, the story is this: Ryan, a pubescent latchkey child who literally limps through life with a painfully obvious leg brace, is starved for the attention and acceptance of his peers. He succumbs to peer pressure and accepts a stupid/dangerous dare from a popular bully. The dare is spitefully designed both to humiliate and initiate him into a suburban “gang”, but something goes wrong and Ryan finds himself transported to another world. He emerges in a beautiful swamp in the land of Tao. He soon learns that an evil tyrant in this mystical world is selfishly using up all the energy from the “life springs” in order to keep himself young. Only one lifespring remains, putting the survival of the world in doubt. Young Ryan eventually overcomes all odds with the help of a Star Wars-type Obi-Wan character and 5 kangaroo-looking, “kung-foo” fighting good guys (the Warriors of Virtue), plus an all-important ancient manuscript.
“Warriors of Virtue” falls short in the virtue department, and in most other departments as well. Yes, the costuming is elaborate and top-notch, and the martial arts fight scenes are enjoyable to youngsters. But the weak story and poor exhibition of true virtue will sweep this movie into discount theaters and low-price video release very quickly.
Because most parents probably will not pre-screen a movie such as this, but are likely to allow their children to view it, here are some words and expletive terms that you may hear your children repeating more frequently: fart, woosey (2x), God!, sucker, Sh*t happens (4x), A*s, go to hell.
Year of Release—1997