After a mysterious chest opens a gateway through time, teen gamer Jack is transported to an ancient empire terrorized by a cruel barbarian king. Jack will need all of his gaming skills as he battles to defeat the barbarian, protect a beautiful princess, and somehow find his way back home.
Directed by: Matthias Hoene
. Starring: Mark Chao
, Ni Ni
, Dave Bautista
, Sienna Guillory
, Uriah Shelton
, Francis Ng
, Ming Xi
, Kara Hui
, Zha Ka
, Ron Smoorenburg
, Tianyi You
, Lijie Liu
, Dakota Daulby
. Music by: Klaus Badelt
this thing was partially written by Luc Besson, but you would never guess it from the ridiculously incompetent mess the plot is. We have seen a hundred similar movies already where the protagonist is whisked away from our world to a fantasysci-fi setting so they can become the prophesied hero and save the day. Enter the Warrior's Gate does this in a generic fantasy-land vaguely based on ancient China... vaguely, because it never uses the interesting mythology associated with it.
Our main character is Jack (Uriah Shelton), who is making a God of WarMortal Kombat blend fighting game with superb graphics in his free time at home, while helping out his single mother by temping at a grocery store. Because sure, that's how high graphic games are made, by one teenager, not by a huge team of programmers and designers and testers... Jack hangs out with his nerdy friends while being the best player in his own game (duh) as the Black Knight. However, his skill attracts the attention of a wizard in a distant dimension, who thinks he is the cliche Chosen One to kill the villain and save the princess. So after getting an ancient pot from his boss, one day Jack awakens with a sword pointed at his throat, courtesy of Zhoo (Mark Chao), the princess' no-nonsense martial artist bodyguard (because that's the way to recruit someone whose help you need). The super stereotypical Princess Su Lin (Ni Ni) details the plot - evil barbarian warlord Arun (Dave Bautista) wants to conquer her lands and marry her, and she asks the fabled Black Knight for help. The movie tries to portray Su Lin as a badass warrior princess while she gets shown our world and goes through the cliche antics you see in every such movie (like eating ice cream and shopping in a mall), but it really doesn't work since she is soon kidnapped and spends the rest of the movie like Princess Peach in a Mario game.
Jack reluctantly follow Zhoo to the other dimension through the pot to save the Princess. The movie tries to be funny and Zhoo's plan is so ridiculously direct ("Fight our way in, kill the villain, save the princess, fight our way out") it could be a parody of cliche video game plots, but sadly they take it dead seriously. The rest of the movie's running time is spent with intercut scenes without any transition of:
-Zhoo and Jack fighting various enemies at random while getting on each other's nerves due to their differences
-Arun trying and failing to woo the princess he is forcing to marry her, and engaging in unfunny repeated jokes with his main henchman about executing people who bring him bad news.
A useless wizard also shows up here and there to speed up the plot and teleports out whenever he could actually help our "heroes". I put that in parenthesis, because... they aren't really heroic. One example, they try to cross a bridge which is blocked by a stereotypical witch brewing something in a cauldron. She refuses to move and points out they need to respect their elders. Their answer? They repeatedly prod and push her until they straight up attack her and Jack sets her ablaze and kills her. I played plenty of RPGs to know that was a catastrophically failed random encounter...
After encountering man-eating nymphs (WTF?) who turn into tree-creature dryads, and two short scenes of the heroes bonding - with Zhoo teaching Jack martial arts by showing him ONE move to always open hits with outstretching his arms, and Jack teaching Zhoo to swim - they finally get to the enemy camps... And Zhoo's plan to get in is to surrender. They are about to be executed, escape, get recaptured and then Deus Ex Machina wizard guy saves them, with Jack suddenly being able to do kung fu moves on wireworks like in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon... without any practice.
Jack and Su Lin get catapulted (you read right) to a bamboo forest and Jack fights and super easily kills Arun there... aaaaand CUT, we go to a scene of Su Lin being crowned. Wait, you mean the giant barbarian army just shrugged and went home after their leader was killed? Seriously?
You'd think the movie was over, but nope, 10 more minutes of pointless subplots are resolved - Jack kisses the Princess he has known for like half a day, gets chased by the royal guard because this is punishable by death, despite him just saving the kingdom, and then Zhoo relents and lets him go because he learned during the movie not to be uptight with rules. Jack returns to Earth, finishes his home-made game one afternoon (seriously), gets it published and becomes rich, and one day finds Su Lin in earth clothes in his room who decided to spend some time there and hang out with him. The End.
The movie is a mess, the main plot is threadbare but the movie finds every excuse to deviate from it with pointless, never followed up subplots, like the witch, or the quickly abandoned training scene. How about this as an example - in the final battle Jack uses the wizard's magic powder on the main henchman, only to have it grow him to ogre size. Aaaand... they have a brief battle and Jack escapes. They never face the guy again and it is never resolved.
The humor is atrociously bad, and forced. The main characters are cliche and boring. The CGI is OK sometimes (like with the dryad-like nymphs) and terrible in other cases (like the ogre-sized henchman). The fight scenes are well choreographed, but repetitive - I often spotted Jack fighting the same guy again and again in the crowd whom he already defeated 5 times.
Overall, don't bother watching this, it is not even enjoyably bad, just bad. There were way better "fantasy setting people cross over with current day Earth" movies made in the eighties and nineties, even Masters of the Universe or Beastmaster 2 was better.
Review by bbshockwave from the Internet Movie Database.