Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale is one of the most impressive Taiwanese films I’ve ever seen and one of the best acquisitions that Well Go USA has released in the U.S. thus far. The films revolves around the indigenous tribes living in Taiwan, that get attacked by the Japanese occupation in the early 20th Century. The Japanese have come to enslave them and utilize the resources on the island, in order to continue their goal of uniting all of the Asian nations under the flag of the rising sun. A young Seediq warrior named Mona Ruado (Da-Ching) tries to fight, along with his other tribesmen, but fail to get rid of the Japanese. From here, we jump 20 years into the future and an older Mona (Lin Ching-Tai), who is now the chief of his people, that have been forced into slave labor. After a conflict arises with a lowly Japanese officer interrupting Mona’s son’s wedding, Mona decides that enough is enough and begins to revolt against the Japanese in order to free his people. Full of intense action, impressive cinematography and a story of a people that demands to be told, Wei-Te-Sheng’s Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale is an amazing film that should be seen.
From the very opening of the film, we are introduced to a level of violence and intensity that many films would stray away from, but gives Warriors an edge. Warfare and violence at that time was very much brutal and the fact that the film doesn’t stray away from this fact shows Wei’s dedication to the story. All of the shooting locations are just absolutely stunning, with vast forests, an incredible recreated village and various rivers and waterfalls that just really fill the film with a great sense of atmosphere. The camerawork during the battles is reminiscent of Hollywood’s exploits in the war genre and showcases the epic scope of the film. Masanobu Ando and Minoru Matsumoto add a complexity, with their roles as two Japanese officers, that show the dealings with these people weren’t just one note. They bring out human aspects to reinforce how war affects both sides very much and to see it in this film made me feel like Warriors wasn’t just trying to show only the side of the Taiwanese, but of all people affected in this occupation.
The Blu-Ray disc of Warriors of the Rainbow boast some pretty impressive video, audio and some great special features. With an AVC encoded, 1080p video transfer with a 2.34:1 aspect ratio, the film just oozes beauty off the screen. If there was any particular issue I had, it would be that so many of the surroundings and scenes look so good, that when an element of CGI shows up, it sticks out like a sore thumb. The DTS-HD 5.1 audio track is right on par with the video track and sonically, does the film justice. Whether its the immersion of the film, through the use of ambience or the various gunshots and use of other weapons, the soundtrack of Warriors is one of the best one’s I’ve heard on a Blu-Ray disc. There’s also a 30 minute making-of that really shows the hard work that went into creating this masterpiece. Everything from getting the funding to the weather issues in shooting on location, this peak into the crafting of the film is just as interesting as the film itself.
Overall, while I know that there’s a longer cut Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale that’s four hours long and does much more justice to the source material, I can easily say that 150 minute version is still worth your time. Highly Recommended!