Thursday night I saw the Chinese b.o. juggernaut The Warlords, Peter Chan’s breathless $40 million period action epic starring Asian megastars Jet Li, Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro as three blood brothers who fight for the imperial army, which won best film and best director at the Hong Kong Film Awards and the Golden Horse Awards. While the mayhem slows down occasionally to allow some dramatic exposition and a pivotal romance with Jinglei Xu, the movie slams through one bloody battle after another. The three leads are terrific, especially Li, who is a fierce marvel in action, and a powerful, emotive actor.
The Warlords is already available on VOD and opens in theaters April 2. Here’s the Apple trailer (YouTube is on the jump).
I was slightly underwhelmed by this film compared to John Woo’s sweeping historical epic Red Cliff, at $80 million the most expensive movie ever made in China, which is now on DVD in both the two-part, five hour and condensed two-and-a-half hour versions. That is a must-see, one way or another.