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The Warlords (2007)
"Tau ming chong" (original title)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 20,849 users   Metascore: 70/100
Reviews: 60 user | 101 critic | 16 from Metacritic.com

It's a heroic tale of three blood brothers and their struggle in the midst of war and political upheaval. It is based on "The Assassination of Ma," a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) story about ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
General Pang Qingyun (as Lianjie Li)
...
Zhao Erhu (as Dehua Liu)
...
Jiang Wuyang (as Wu Jincheng)
Jinglei Xu ...
Xiaodong Guo ...
...
Zongwan Wei ...
Bao-ming Gu ...
Kuirong Wang ...
Bo Zhou ...
Zhaoqi Shi ...
Yachao Wang ...
Xiao Yun Wang ...
Fu
Peng Guo ...
Ailei Yu ...
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Storyline

It's a heroic tale of three blood brothers and their struggle in the midst of war and political upheaval. It is based on "The Assassination of Ma," a Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) story about the killing of general Ma Xinyi. The story was filmed by Zhang Che in 1973 as The Blood Brothers. Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Action | Drama | History | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sequences of strong violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

| |  »

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

12 December 2007 (China)  »

Also Known As:

The Warlords  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,073 (USA) (2 April 2010)

Gross:

$128,978 (USA) (14 May 2010)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (international)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Up to 500 stunt horses were used. See more »

Goofs

25 minutes into the movie, the curse word "gou ri de" (literally: dog, Japanese, of) was used. The expression means "Japanese dog" which originates from the Japanese invasion during World War II. The movie takes places in the 19th century, so the expression had not come about yet. See more »

Quotes

General Pang Qingyun: to Zhang Wen-Xiang: Let them eat. It's their last meal
Zhao Er-Hu: But I promised to spare their lives!
General Pang Qingyun: Winning is all that matters in war!
Zhao Er-Hu: A man who breaks his word is a beast!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Films of Fury: The Kung Fu Movie Movie (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Warrior Willing to Kill for Peace
17 July 2009 | by (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – See all my reviews

Looking at the list of writers involved in this project, it is a fraking miracle that this film is as good as it is. While it is no The Banquet, it is a solid historical epic which features the most layered and complex performance of Jet Li's career.

Loosely based on the Shaw Brothers' 1973 film The Blood Brothers as well as the life and death of General Ma Xinyi, this is a tragedy in the Greek or Shakespearean sense. Jet Li plays General Pang Qingyun, a general of the Ching army whose command is slaughtered by the Taiping rebels while Pang's allies the Ho Army watch and do nothing.

Injured, delirious and with no one left to command, Pang is nursed back to health by a beautiful woman who turns out to be the wife of Andy Lau's bandit leader Zhao Er-Hu. When the Ho Army raids Lau's village, steals their supplies and kills one of his men, Jet Li convinces Er-Hu and his lieutenant Zhang Wen-Xiang (played by Takeshi Kaneshiro) that if they join the Ching Army they will get the respect, money and guns necessary to protect themselves and their village. Pang, Er-Hu and Zhang swear a blood oath to stand together with death as the penalty for oath-breakers.

This starts Pang on his quest to save his country from itself, building an army from the unwanted, the poor, the brigands. In the process, Pang must fight Imperial politics as much as the enemy Taiping rebels. Each step along the way, Pang has to barter away a little piece of his soul to achieve victory, with Zhang reacting with hero-worshipping approval, while Er-Hu becomes increasingly disgusted.

The down side to working with a star of Jet Li's caliber is that in every role he is Jet Li, bringing with it his quiet heroism and idealism. This film turns that drawback into an advantage by casting Jet Li as a man who does increasingly villainous things for the purest of motives. Like a Chinese Robespierre, Pang is trying to build a free, united China on a pyramid of corpses.

The film that The Warlords reminds me of the most is John Ford's The Searchers.

Like The Searchers, The Warlords starts with a massacre. Both films feature characters who leave their homes on an obsessive quest that seems impossible and takes them years to complete.

John Ford uses John Wayne's iconic, heroic status and subverts it, as the obsessive quest slowly destroys Wayne from within. Jet Li's character in The Warlords follows the same arc, beginning his quest with idealistic purity and finishing just inches from total madness. Both men succeed in their quests, Jet Li's Pang in saving his country, Wayne's Ethan Edwards in rescuing his niece, but in both cases their quest is ultimately futile, because what they saved was the reality and what they wanted to save was an ideal. Both men end their films framed in a doorway that they can no longer cross, because their journeys have turned them into men of war who have no place in the world of peace on the other side of the doorway.


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