With a cast of thousands, spectacular battle scenes, Shakespearean-style rumination on the corrupting influence of power and a story of love and loyalty played with dramatic intensity and martial arts fury, The Warlords reigns as the Asian super-production for the new millenium. All revolves around the tragic fate of General Pang (Jet Li), whose noble intention to bring peace and stability to late 19th century Qing Dynasty China turns into vaunted ambition for personal power and glory. Pang is joined by two bandits who become his sworn blood brothers. Zhao (Andy Lau) and Jiang (Takeshi Kaneshiro) help Pang’s rise to power, carrying out impossible campaigns for the Qing court, defeating Taiping rebels and conquering cities. Along the way, Pang becomes attracted to Zhao’s wife (Xu Jinglei) and massacres prisoners whom Zhao had promised to protect. The brotherhood collapses in a spiral of betrayal and death. Jet Li delivers an impressive performance as the flawed hero who ignores his conscience in a blind drive for worldly success. Lau and Kaneshiro, major stars in their own right, hold their own admirably in the action sequences and emotional life of this historical drama. As in Perhaps Love, director Peter Chan establishes both the style and the rhythm of the film with masterful visuals. His camera sweeps and swoops over a panorama of action, moving in tight on the dilemmas of love and duty. And the political import of the Qing aristocracy’s disdain for the General, even as he does their dirty work, resonates long after the fighting is over.
North American Premiere. Sponsored by Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office.
Official Website: http://fest08.sffs.org/films/film_details.php?id=98
Added by sagemane on April 13, 2008