Directed by: Ross Boyask
Written by: Ross Boyask, Cecily Fay & Chris Regan
Starring: Cecily Fay, Joelle Simpson, Christian Howard, Merrilees Fay Harries, Will Brenton, Brendan Carr, Helen Steinway Bailey
Director Ross Boyask returns to the feature action fray with the post-apocalyptic fight action flick, Warrioress. Taking a slightly different route this time around (after his previous film: the brutal action crime flick Ten Dead Men), Warrioress sees Boyask and his crew aiming bigger despite what must had been a tiny budget. Regardless of this, Warrioress is crammed to the rafters with some wickedly choreographed fight action and an energetic performance from leading lady Cecily Fay.
In a post-apocalyptic world that’s one part Xena, one part Mad Max and another part crazy kung fu madness, two female warriors (Fay and Simpson) must travel the lands to an ancient site in order to fight to the death in a sacred tournament and fulfill an ancient foretelling. Forming a shaky alliance they face foe after foe on their journey to the hallowed land as an evil army, known as the Falonex, attempt to stop the two lady warriors from completing their mission. What follows is a seemingly unstoppable onslaught of martial arts combat as the feisty females decimate all those in their way.
While as mad as the above sounds, Warrioress delivers some fine fight action and is an excellent showcase for some impressive female fighters to strut their stuff. Utilizing some striking locations and crisp clean photography, Boyask and his team have created an impressive and distinct world for the characters to venture through: and all on a minuscule budget. Fay makes for a sprightly, sexy and super kicking heroine, carrying most of the picture on her tiny, albeit very strong, shoulders. Joellle Simpson is also good as her feisty, and taller, adversary cum friend and Helen Steinway Bailey makes a memorable impression as a thoroughly badass Falonex warrior determined to kick our heroine’s ass. The boys also get in on the action with Christian Howard cutting some cool moves while Ten Dead Men star Brendan Carr is an absolute hoot as a manically laughing bad guy out to make trouble for the freedom fighting females.
Due to its budget the film’s constraints, non-surprisingly, do show through sometimes. The tone occasionally veers towards taking itself a little too seriously (the dialogue a little cringe worthy on occasion) but is always reigned in by the mood being lightened or the wickedly fun fight action kicking in. Arguably the film gets better as it goes long, the second half really switching into high gear as the action mounts and the threat towards the protagonists increases. In addition, the pace rarely drags as the action continuously ramps up the entertainment value.
Boyask, Fay and their crew of fighters and choreographers deliver the goods in terms of fight action, topping even the good work they did on Ted Dead Men. Fay is an excellent fighter and the tight and varied choreography of the fight scenes makes Warrioress a terrific action film. From two blistering face-offs between Fay and Steinway Bailey (both excellent fighters and stuntwomen having worked on the likes of Prometheus and Snow White and the Huntsman), to a raid on a Falonex base and to (arguably the best fight scene) the girls taking on a group of groovy ninjas, the fight action is crisp, fluid and full of energy. Boyask knows his action and piles it one here delivering some very satisfying martial arts action.
While some may be surprised that Boyask has gone the fantasy action route after the hard hitting crime action of Ten Dead Men (and his earlier flick Left for Dead), Warrioress is nevertheless a fun ride, a great vehicle for Fay and, well, just a well mounted and immensely enjoyable action flick. The conclusion sets proceedings up for a potential sequel, which wouldn't be a bad thing: though I would like Another Ten Dead Men first.