When I was a kid, I was obsessed with Power Rangers, Ronin Warriors, VR Troopers, Ninja Turtles, Beetleborgs, and pretty much any super-powered team with colored outfits. Among them were the Warriors of Virtue.
The Warriors of Virtue was a movie that critics and audiences alike universally hated. With a budget of $35m and a Box Office gross of a measly $6m, it is safe to say that the film was a financial disaster. And yet child-me loved the crap out of this film.
The story follows a disabled boy named Ryan who ends up in the mythical land of Tao where he is tossed right in the middle of a conflict between the kangaroo-like Warriors of Virtue and an evil warlord. You know, that old schtick.
- Yee, the Warrior of Metal and Virtue of Righteousness
- Yun, the Warrior of Water and Virtue of Benevolence
- Lai, the Warrior of Wood and Virtue of Order
- Chi, the Warrior of Fire and Virtue of Wisdom
- Tsun, the Warrior of Earth and Virtue of Loyalty
I think child-me loved that they all had unique colors, attributes, and abilities that represented their even more unique personalities. However, being a child doesn’t mean that you know what quality is, and while this movie was fun for me back then (I had a Yee, Warrior of Metal action figure), some film critics had less than positive things to say about it. In fact, one critic, Kale Klein of the Carlsbad Current-Argus, allegedly got so “physically distressed” during the film that he vomited during an initial screening. Yikes.
Can’t say this movie made me vomit, but adult me agrees that it is certainly a terrible film. SO bad, in fact, that not even Netflix, Hulu, or any other major streaming service opted to pick it up. Instead, if you actually want to stream it, you have to head over to Tubi or Vudu to watch it. Vudu I have heard of, but never Tubi. Sounds fake.
The WoV had some lousy acting, lousy effects, but something about kangaroos flying around on wires doing martial art stunts and using ridiculous gimmicks to take down enemies always made me reflect fondly on this movie. Even though I have to convince myself more and more that none of these things were cool.
But get this- despite being a box office bomb with terrible reviews, it still got a sequel in 2002. ‘Warriors of Virtue: The Return to Tao’ came out in October 2002 and was directed by one of the co-writers of the first film. Warriors of Virtue: The Return to Tao didn’t fare well with audiences either, scoring only a 33% on Rotten Tomatoes and no critic reviews.
And for some reason, a significant plot element to the sequel saw that the kangaroo-like Warriors evolved to appear as humans, likely because they knew this film would suck and opted to go for some cheap wigs and face paint instead of giant furry suits.