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The Warlords
BLU-RAY disk
07.19.2010 By: Jason Adams
The Warlords order download
Director:
Peter Chan

Actors:
Jet Li
Andy Lau
Takeshi Kaneshiro

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
During Chinaís Taiping rebellion of the 1860s, a surviving soldier joins forces with two thieves, forming a pact as blood brothers to fight the enemy and free China. But after a years of victory and camaraderie, jealousy, ambition and of course a woman come between them.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
As a big fan, I like to think I stay on top of Asian cinema. So how is it possible that I never heard of a brand new action movie starring Andy Lau (INFERNAL AFFAIRS), Takeshi Kaneshiro (HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS) and Jet Li (CRADLE 2 THE GRAVE)? Not to mention I thought Jet Li was done with kung fu movies and Chinese epics? Well, turns out THE WARLORDS was actually released in China in 2007 as BLOOD BROTHERS, a title which Iíd heard of and makes much more sense than the generic American moniker.

WARLORDS is a historical drama first and a decent action movie second. Parts of it are intimate character pieces, while others portray a beautifully shot epic thatís rich in detail and scope, from elaborate period costumes and weapons to massive battle scenes. One major sequence involves tons of extras (no CGI bodies or stunts here!) and is beautifully staged with action that is impressive and easy to comprehend. Itís nothing that you probably havenít seen before, but itís hard not to appreciate something of this magnitude thatís well executed. The film is quite violent in parts, not shying away from the brutal and futile horrors of war, but thereís also a lot of battle strategy and planning which I personally found interesting.

I was entertained throughout and I donít think Jet Li fans will be disappointed with THE WARLORDS, as he gives a good performance that shows off his acting chops as much as his karate chops. (The man is pushing 50 but he still hasnít lost his touch.) Lau and Kaneshiro are both solid, but neither has as meaty a role as Li and only get a few moments to shine.

The film starts a little fastóbefore you know it theyíre ďbrothersĒ swearing allegiance to each other, even though it seems like they just metóand the pacing feels a bit slow at the end. I also thought the romantic subplot was lame and confusing. Thereís a girl who comes between two of the main characters, which should be key, but she doesnít have much of a character or role. That was really the only serious dramatic opportunity missed, and overall, I think that fans of Asian films will find this worth at least a rental.
THE EXTRAS
Deleted and Extended Scenes: Thereís about an hour of extra stuff between standard and high-def, with some good stuff that fixes my concerns with the rushed beginning and empty romantic subplot. Iíd say a good chunk of stuff belongs in the filmís original cut, which is about 15 minutes longer (and available in Asian markets).

Behind The Scenes: A collection of short featurettes on various aspects of the production, from the actors and filmmakers to the action and horses. Thereís not much depth to any of them, but all together you feel like you got a pretty wide breadth of knowledge.

117 Days: A Production Journal: At over half an hour, this video diary is a great first hand look at life on the set (better than the previous featurettes) and some honest concerns from the actors.

BTS Special: 20 minutes of generic PR fluff with cast and crew sucking up to each other.

Trailers.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
THE WARLORDS boasts a start studded cast of Asian cinema greats and offers a nice mix between a serious story and epic action. I donít think itís going to blow anybody away, but fans of Chinese movies will want to take a look, as it features Jet Li in something thatís actually good.

Extra Tidbit: At $15 million, Jet Liís salary was a third of the filmís budget.
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