I know India makes the most movies of any of the major movie making countries, and I must say quantity is not always the quality, behind India we have good old North America Hollywood with their movies being churned out. Asian makes its share of movies and for a population of over 2 billion people the make very few movies per capita but every once in awhile a movie comes along that you wish everyone would see, "The Warlords" is one of these movies.
First the Canadian short film which in this case is Zero by Jace Junggru Kim which was an entertaining animated film about vengeance and can vengeance ever be stopped and if it can't would this ultimately be the end of the universe. It fit well with the feature we were about to watch.
The Warlords a movie my daughter was less than thrilled about viewing and I told her just watch the first 15 minutes and if she didn't like it then she could leave and shop. Well from the opening scene she was hooked and thoroughly enjoyed the movie. Jet-Li from the "Hero" and "Fearless" teams up with Andy Lau of the "Infernal Affairs" and "House of the Flying Daggers" and Takeshi Kaneshiro of the "House of the Flying Daggers" for an epic movie based on actual historical accounts of Chinese history. This is becoming a trend in Chinese movies, basing movies on actual historical events and in this case it works well.
Jet Li portrays Pang, a Chinese soldier who falls in with 2 brothers who have any army of thieves and after some persuasion Pang convinces them to join the regular Chinese army. Under Pang's leadership they are successful in campaign after campaign until they are becoming somewhat of a political embarrassment to a rival general. The movie does not hold back on the battle scenes and they are shot with graphic violence and grand scale of battle.
It is a nice change to see action stars given the opportunity to stretch their acting skills and all three leads in this movie do that showing a range of talent and that is what makes this movie so much more than just an action movie. In the end it shows how politicians, control countries and how even the most idealistic of people can be corrupted. The violence in this movie is brutal but is only a small part of the movie and the premise of the movie is the strength of bonds between friends and brothers and weighing that against the good of the many.
This is a movie that I highly recommend to everyone and the real shame is it will most likely never get a wide distribution deal. The story goes that shortly after the film was completed the director and producer got into a huge argument and each are blocking the other from a major release of the movie.
A true shame.
Here is the link to the trailer and if you get a chance check out The Warlords