Movie Review: The Woman King


As with all movies like “The Woman King” that involve many scenes of intense hand-to-hand combat using swords and other weapons. Anyone who sees this film will admire the work that went into training all of the actors to both be able to pull off the necessary believability during the fight scenes, but also to make sure that nobody gets badly hurt or killed. Even while using swords and other weapons that are not real, there can always be a mishap along the way while shooting so many intense scenes and the inevitable multiple takes that are necessary with all action movies. The choreography of the fight scenes in this movie are almost as real and well produced as those in “Braveheart”, released in 1995.

The star of The Woman King is Viola Davis in probably the only intense action movie role of her career. This is the story about women warriors in West Africa in 1823, who train young women to be the best soldiers. Their story is about one thing. If you want peace, especially within an African tribe in 1823, then you can only achieve that with strength by aggressively defending your tribe by killing all enemies before they can kill you. This has been a harsh life reality for centuries. Complacency or passivity will get you killed.

There are many very impressive scenes of hand to hand combat, mostly with swords in this film, especially with a young warrior named Nawi, played by newcomer Thuso Mbedu along with Nanisca played by Viola Davis. The screenplay is simple and very well told, with a surprise side story that provides a very well done emotional ending. This is one of the rare times when I have heard the audience I was in applaud at the end.

I agree with the very high Rotten Tomatoes ratings of 94% and the audience rating of 99% and highly recommend this film.

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