The Warlords

Film, Action and adventure
4 out of 5 stars
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It begins in the aftermath of battle. Lone survivor General Pang (Jet Li) staggers from the wreckage a changed man, vowing to conquer China and end centuries of bloodshed and infighting. For Western audiences, the popular rebirth of Eastern cinema has been eye-opening. This represents another peak in that development, taking a familiar lust-for-glory narrative and investing it with boundless energy and drive.

Side-stepping the cold-steel visual perfection of ‘Hero’ and the fairytale detachment of ‘Crouching Tiger…’, the film hews closer to ‘Spartacus’, revelling in gloriously directed slash-and-burn battle sequences as Pang and his bandit ‘brothers’ cut a gory swathe across the continent. But the film becomes more pensive and emotionally rewarding in the final act, shedding the mythic trappings and  becoming a tragedy, as our broken heroes learn the corrupting influence of  power.

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Release details

Cast and crew

Director: Peter Chan
Cast: Jet Li
Andy Lau
Takeshi Kaneshiro
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