Plot: Superstars Jet Li, Andy Lau, and Takeshi Kaneshiro star in this grand and gritty tale of war, romance, and brotherhood in 19th-century China. Based on Chang Cheh's Blood Brothers, the film features action choreography from Ching Siu Tung (Hero) and impressive, large-scale battle scenes befitting of the big screen. Jet Li gives the most compelling dramatic performance of his career, departing from his previous image to embody a complex, morally torn character. Also starring acclaimed Mainland actress Xu Jinglei (Confession of Pain), The Warlords is one of the greatest cinematic events of 2007, and Hong Kong has answered its call with record box office numbers.
It's a heroic tale of three blood brothers and their struggle in the midst of war and political upheaval.
«With “The Warlords” you do get a plethora of epic battle scenes that will probably draw its share of oohs and aahs. Jet Li should also be commended for his convincing portrayal of a complicated and ultimately ruthless character. The story itself was a tad cornball, while the love affair lacked from the beginning. The attractiveness of the movie doesn’t reside on the cerebral level but more from the guts. Ultimately, “The Warlords” is mostly an entertaining film that should sell a boatload of tickets, popcorn, and cokes. »
«In many ways, The Warlords feels like Hollywood-style Hong Kong filmmaking, in that it uses scale, CGI, and strong, but expected drama to create a predictable experience. There's emotional complexity in the characters and their conflicts, but it's all rather rote, and possesses little or no surprise. Intermittent voiceover from Takeshi Kaneshiro is used to force-feed lessons and observations, and there isn't much to be gleamed beyond what's put out there on the screen. A total of eight screenwriters (Aubrey Lam and James Yuen, among them) are credited on The Warlords, making the end credits resemble the written-by-committee crawl you might normally see attached to a Hollywood film. This is a large, impressive production, but The Warlords is dwarfed by its own sense of commercialism. It's got big stars, grand production values, overwrought drama, predictable conflicts, and even a China-safe aversion to tougher themes. This is an easily digestible and very impressive-seeming motion picture, but the ability to impress beyond the expected just isn't there.»
«A remake of sorts of Shaw Brothers' Ci Ma some 35 years ago, Peter Chan has brought to us a worthy Chinese epic movie with lavish production values, and one deserving of being called a magnificent effort. And yes, this deserves a watch in seeing who's actually playing who, and with a stellar cast to boot, I don't see why not. Highly recommended!»
«Despite that, and even with a perf by Lau that develops some real heft in the middle going, "Warlords" is still Li's movie, seemingly justifying the reportedly huge chunk of the budget that went toward his fee alone.»
«Such is the skill of a good storyteller like Chan: It doesn’t matter when the tale is set in; a fine filmmaker will have the power to affect you emotionally amidst all the wham-bham action of things.»
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