Warlords, The

China (2007), 126 minutes
Starring: Jet Li, Andy Lau, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Xu Jinglei
Reviewer: Jeremy Silman
Genre: Drama, Martial Arts
Rating: 4.5

For those that aren’t into heavy martial arts, keep in mind that Jet Li won a best actor award (for Warlords) at the Hong Kong Film Critics Awards. In other words, we’re talking about a huge epic that’s visually stunning and magnificently acted.

Of course, there are fight scenes with Li at its center, and when he gets the chance to show his stuff (no special effects or wirework needed) you’ll see him as a consummate martial artist. There isn’t a lot of this in the film, but what little there is will make you more than happy.

Set in the 1860s, the movie revolves around three men who take an oath of brotherhood. All have lofty ideals, hoping to drastically change the landscape of China. But, as their power grows, desire, ego, and the lust for even more power grows with it. Clearly, this is a recipe for tragedy, and tragedy is what you’ll get. In many ways heartbreaking, the ride is intense but oh so beautiful.

When you compare garbage like Braveheart to a piece of art like The Warlords, you begin to see the huge differences between Western and Asian film. The amazing sets, the epic nature of the battle scenes, and the opulence of the costuming is enough to leave your mouth gaping in awe. Don’t believe me? Check out Warlords and decide for yourself.