In the year 1850, the suffering of the Chinese people
under the corrupt rule of the Qing dynasty set the stage for
the Taiping Rebellion. General Pang Qing-Yun was badly defeated
in a battle against the rebels. Jiang Wu-Yang takes Pang in
and shows him to Zhao Er-Hu. After a Qing troop pillages Zhao’s
village, causing devastation, Pang convinces Zhao and his
bandits to join the Qing army. Jiang agrees to the proposal
under the condition that he joins their brotherhood. With
the help of Zhao, Jiang and their bandits, Pang establishes
his power in the name of countering the Taiping rebels. As
his forces grow more powerful over the years, he is soon corrupted
by his hunger for power. As a result, the brotherhood collapses.
Pang’s ruthlessness and his desire for Zhao’s
wife, leads inevitably to his murder of Zhao…
“The Warlords” is a hard movie to follow through.
This is not to say it belonged to the arty-farty genre in
fact it brutally explored the ugliness of mankind and the
pretentious of brotherhood that some audience might find hard
to swallow in the end.
you urge that “The Warlords” is a generic man-battle-man
war movie is akin to giving a slap on director Peter Chan’s
face. The result of Chan’s first attempt in doing a
period piece is remarkable. Partly he is aided by a strong
crew including a team of at least five credited screenwriters,
top action choreographer Tony Ching Siu-Tung and also not
forgetting the three attractive male leads, Andy Lau, Jet
Li and Takeshi Kaneshiro.
gave one of his best performances in recent times as the loyal
but hot-headed Zhao Er-Hu. Playing against Jet Li’s
ruthless Pang Qing-Yun, both actors convincingly shake off
their prior images to drawn us into their inevitable onscreen
fates. The binding between the hypocritical Pang and melancholic
Zhao is the main drawing powers of the movie. Japanese/Taiwan
heart-throb Takeshi Kaneshiro with his unrecognizable layers
of whiskers has to resort to playing a less than memorable
role as the duo’s gullible younger brother, Jiang.
a doubt, this is a strong masculine movie, set in a period
where thief, rebellion and war brutality is common. Chan knew
his strong points are not in the action department, he is
well-known for romance weepies and comedies from his discography.
Thus with the assistance from Ching, Chan showed us all the
atrocities in the movie’s one and only breath-taking
battle sequence in the halfway mark which will set your adrenalin
shot and production value on par with any Hollywood outputs,
“The Warlords” is a marvel to watch and the gripping
relationship between the sworn brothers will left you tanked
in sadness. When it’s hard to let go of some fictional
onscreen characters, you know Chan at his end have once again
successfully master his craft.
This Code 3 disc contains the Trailer, TV
Spots and a Photo Gallery which
feature the movie stills and also Andy Lau/Xu Jinglei in their
glory during their Singapore promotional tour. You can see
our coverage of it too. We advise you to skip the Highlights
if you haven't caught the movie as it’s pretty spoilerish.
Spanning over 55 minutes, the Making Of feature
is spilt into several short chapters and intensively covered
the action choreography, script-revisions, cast and crew interviews,
make-up effects, costume designs and cinematography. An excellent
behind-the-scenes feature you shouldn’t miss.
contains only the Mandarin track accompanied by a strong Dolby
Digital 5.1 transfer, the sound here is faultless but an alternative
Canto track might be better. The visual quality is excellent
though you must bear in mind that the movie is meant to be
gritty and dirty.
Review by Linus Tee