The Warlords

13 Apr

Title: The Warlords
Year: 2007
Director: Peter Chan
Writers: Xu Lan, Chun Tin-Nam, Aubery Lam, Huang Jian Xin, Jojo Hui, He Jiping, Guo Jun Li, James Yuen
Starring: Jet Li, Andy Lau, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Xu Jinglei
MPAA Rating: R, sequences of strong violence
Runtime: 126 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 7.2
Rotten Tomatoes: 61%

Yes, this is a 2007 film, but it only got a U.S. release in 2010, so I’m counting it for the year’s reviews. The film is outstandingly large in scope, and the epic battle sequences are extremely well done, the main one actually being over 20 pages of detailed descriptions in the script, but I found myself not really enjoying the film outside of those battle scenes, yes, it is also a personal drama of male bonding, but at that level I thought there was just something missing.

Jet Li’s performance is quite good though, he’s the main star of the film, playing General Pang, the only one who survived a massacre that killed his whole unit and a man that carries with him a dark secret. Li earned a paycheck of $15 million for this part, which accounted for over a third of the movie’s budget, the excessive paycheck being attributed to the fact that having him cast guaranteed an international release, which is a good enough reason I would say, though I doubt this one will captivate audiences that much this side of the globe.

Pang is apparently a man with visionary ideas, and he gets two bandits to align with him via a blood oat to battle the rebels but years pass and Pang’s idealism seems to be gone and the bandits start to show mistrust towards him.

Yes, the scope is fuckin’ epic, not only do the battle scenes look great but they feel great as well, we connect with the characters whilst they’re in battle, unfortunately, even though the acting is solid and the story of the bonding is nicely told, I just didn’t feel myself connecting to them in the story as much as I did to in the battles.

Grade: C+

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One Response to “The Warlords”

  1. dangerousmeredith April 23, 2010 at 12:50 am #

    I actually DID find myself connecting to them. I thought the acting was outstanding from the whole cast and I got very involved in the characters’ stories. This is a dark film and, despite Jet Li’s presence, not really a martial arts film, so, like you, I wonder how much popular appeal it will have in the West. I agree with you – the fight scenes were very well done.

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