MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Jet Li stars in this epic story in the middle of the Taiping Rebellion of the 1860s in China. After surviving a brutal massacre, General Pang (Li) joins some bandits, become blood brothers and fight the oppressive army. However, as their power grows, so does their political discontent, which puts them and their positions in danger.
WHAT I LIKED
Hands down, the best part of “The Warlords” is the incredible epic feel to it. This film has real scope, showing fantastic battle sequences that rival Hollywood films like “Braveheart.” Jet Li expands his image from just a standard martial arts star (at least his American image) by becoming a more seasoned hero.
There are plenty of historical action films that are awesome to watch, and “The Warlords” falls in that category. Even if you’re not into the story, which tends to be a bit rote at times, any viewer can enjoy the scope of this movie.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Being a relatively sheltered American, I just don’t have the historical knowledge to give me a background for this film. I imaging that the Chinese audience could appreciate this film better from a story perspective. Otherwise, for me, it seems to be just a lot of fighting that eventually leads to corruption
Outside of the three “blood brothers” who make the focus of the film, there are plenty of other characters, and I tended to lose track of them at times. Still, the film runs less than two hours and didn’t fail to keep my interest.
The Blu-ray includes deleted scenes and some lengthy and in-depth behind-the-scenes features. Unfortunately, most of the bonus material is in Chinese. While subtitled, it can be a bit of a burden to watch. For those willing to sit through these, you have the multi-part “Making of The Warlords” featurettes, a 117-day production journal and “The Warlords: Behind the Scenes Special.” There is also the international trailer and one English-language featurette from HDNet: “A Look at The Warlords.”
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
People who love movies about epic military battles.