The Warring States (2011) Poster

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Dull epic romance is awfully generic
dbborroughs22 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Epic story of two military strategists both in love with the same woman.

Its an epic action/romance filled with lots of crashing armies, tons of computer generated images, freeze frame action sequences and a sense that that it was done on the cheap by TV people. I could be wrong of course simply because it just may have been done cheaply, but the feel seems to match TV drama at times.

The action sequences seem wildly scaled down despite being massively huge with the result that they are epic to look at but not particularly exciting (I won't go into the dullest chariot race I've ever seen with the chariots moving at different speeds in different shots) The other problem I have is that the film seems to be larger than the confines of the story. There were times when I had the sense that I was missing something.

Its not a bad film, but with all of the epic films coming from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan I'm forced to wonder how this film was chosen to get a release in the US- on the same day as its release in Asia
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Historical account of the Warring period in China
haska71 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
If you are looking for a Hollywood style movie, then this is probably not the one for you. It is a typical Chinese drama but with some interesting notations. Like many Asian stories, this movie is told in a circular fashion. Most China movies contain very silly comedic scenes and this one is no different, at least initially. The movie progresses through a time period and is based on true historical account, and from what I have read online, is pretty darn accurate.'s_Art_of_War I didn't care for the war scenes or excessive violence, but there were some deeper underlying principals and prelates that the movie is trying to convey. I suppose you need to decide for yourself if this truly happens. Towards the end, I couldn't help but take an interest in the fate of the characters, but there were no surprises here as how it turned out or how people acted; although human nature as portrayed by the main antagonist,Pang Juan, and the Qi's main general, is rather harsh and cruel. Half of the movie is sad and depressing as the main character betrayed by his "brother", tortured, lamed, and then suicidal, goes from a cheerful disposition to a serious, reflective personality and loses the naive innocence he has. He eventually ends his life so he will no longer be forced by either country to continue in developing strategies for war. What makes this movie watching for me is the historical significance as it is not just an imaginary plot set in this time period but real events that have taken place.
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not so epic and not so good
modmax30 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
A lot of epic movies has been made in China in the last years, some good and some forgettable. This one falls into the second category. The story is about a strategist disputed between two Chinese kingdoms. Although intelligent, he is very naive. In one reign he falls in love with a girl, general of the army and destined to marry the emperor, in the other he is betrayed and imprisoned by his old friend, also a military strategist and in love with the same girl too. He succeeds to escape and lead the first reign to victory, but in the end he will kill himself. The movie seems to have been done in a hurry, sometimes things happen too fast and you feel like you're missing something in the plot. There's a lot of computer effects but they're not so good. The fighting scenes are intended to be epic but they often result confused and so not exciting. It's not a good movie, but not the worst of its kind. There's a plenty of better Chinese movies, so it remains a mystery why it was distributed in the West. Anyway, if you like the genre, you can take a look: surely you'll forget it soon after.
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Good movie but not for the Hollywood style-loving and shallow thinkers
Rizza Kho6 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I disagree with one previous comment made for this movie saying it is a nightmare. Surely that is a comment of an ignorant, Hollywood movie junkie who does not understand biographic movies with a bit of dramatic touch to it. The director's effort to make the movie a bit dramatic is enough for a typical Hollywood movie junkie to understand that the director is trying to give you guys a vivid description of sun bin's life and sufferings. Naked, not sugar-coated reality, is the difference of oriental movies from typical sugar-coated Hollywood ones. If you are the type of person who is not into logical, non-fiction, oriental movies and you are always after happy endings (boring), this movie is not for you. Clearly, it's not for the teeny little brain of the other guy there who commented "it's a nightmare". Anyway, overall good movie. There are missed-out parts like the face branding etc and the additional dramatic suicide of sun bin but yep, it's there for the little-brained ones like that "nightmare" guy who needs his Hollywood fix.
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One of the worst and the most terrible Chinese movies
rightwingisevil17 May 2011
OMG, what a terrible movie! I rarely found a Chinese movie so disgusting! The screen writer(s) should be sentenced to a life ban from writing any more screenplays, the director of this movie should also be banned from directing any new movie! Two of the major characters who played the pupils of the military strategy master are perhaps the worst mis-casting jobs ever done any existing casting agency. The dialog, OMG, is one of the worst and the most ridiculous dialogs ever written by a screenplay writer. I have noticed that this movie would be singled out in this year's Cannes Movie Festival to be reviewed. What a shame that Chinese would have picked such a lousy movie to participate this important movie festival, definitely an insult to both of the French and the Chinese. This is the movie that viewers/audiences should walk out of the viewing theater and to have a more meaningful and productive lives. Don's waste one minute or even one second on this horrible movie. I have walked out of the theater urged by my wife when we visited China recently. It's a nightmare!
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A Peculiarly Different Interpretation of History, that is as Nostalgic and Attractive as it is Interestingly Entertaining
For viewers expecting a history lesson from the onset, you might be disappointed, the opening of the feature, though bloody and action oriented at times, being reminiscent of stereotypical comedy. It isn't until much later, when the dramatic elements consume almost the entirety of the plot, that The Warring States is revealed to be a thought-provoking narrative, that remains with you long after the credits have rolled, the many tragedies depicted in the film reflecting how, after so many centuries, people continue to repeat similar atrocities.

From the beginning, the characters remain unchanging in their philosophies, the creators never forcing these individuals to be anything they are not, though at the same time, they are highly unrepresentative of historic fact. The costumes, so beautiful and elegant, could be one of the only accurate depictions the film manages to occasionally conceive, while the use of color adds, both vividly and morosely to the emotional climate exhibited in the scenes. The environments on the other hand deliver varying landscapes, from snow caped mountains, to tranquil forests and large, grassy knolls, making for some startling scenery.

The score is especially notable, its presence in a number of the scenes being beautiful and majestic, adding comfortably and favorably to the narrative's progression. The theme song, Wind, sung by Jing Tian, who I will happily discuss in broader depth later, is equally captivating in this regard. During the fight scenes, the music accompanies the intensity and brutality of these moments, which are as well choreographed as they are attention-grabbing, the blood that flows out from the many wounds fiercely articulating the horrors of the battlefield, whilst maintaining its visually entertaining influence.

Indefinably set during the fifth and third centuries BC, in which the states of Qi and Wei are disputing about territories and power, the film opens at its conclusion, with Sun Bin (Sun Honglei), gazing at the natural wonder stretched out before him, while reminiscing about the beauty of Tian Xi, a young woman he admires. Questions regarding why his thoughts dwell upon her at this moment, and where she might be, immediately grasp the viewer's attention.

There is no doubting the intellect of Sun Bin's character, who finds himself caught between the two states, each desperately seeking his guidance, who revere him for having been taught by strategist Sun Tzu, however, the interpretation provided by the actor and creators, seems remarkably contradictory. Continuously laughing and grinning, Sun is an ignoramus, with delusions of peace, which, in the period the film is set, is an unaffordable luxury. Tian Xi describes Sun as been 'such a fool', and how else would you describe a man who continues to refer to someone as their ally, even after they have horrifically tortured them? Resembling the Disney character Goofy for much of the feature, after experiencing great suffering, Sun goes from grinning in almost every scene, to wearing a long face while mumbling lines of dialogue, this stark contrast, strangely enough, making him quite a sympathetic individual.

Furthermore, this particular characterization, alongside lines such as 'time for suicide!' by assassins who have been discovered by the enemy, sometimes fails to inspire confidence in the characters, or the script. Alongside Sun moreover, is his blood brother Pang Juan (Francis Ng), who, in contrast with the lead, is interestingly constructed, equally employing jealousy, arrogance, friendliness and reason, developing an individual who, although antagonistic, has multiple interpretative sides to his character. His sister, Pang Wan'er (Kim Heui-Seon) however, though deserving additional screen time, is more sympathetic and compassionate, being one of the few characters who, like Sun, vies for peace.

Married to the Wei Emperor, Wan'er is frequently seen looking out for the interests of others, unlike so many of the male characters, who only ever look out for themselves. Although much of the narrative is comprised of male leads, the men are often seen in the rear of any confrontation, or hiding away behind the walls of their cities, the women on the other hand being capable, opinionated, and powerful, this description especially fitting with Tian Xi (Jing Tian), the future queen of Qi.

Although young, and potentially not quite as recognizable in contrast with the other leads, for the most part, Ms. Tian often appears to steal the show - she can act, she can sing, she can dance - is there anything this woman can't do? Always appearing elegant, even on the field of battle, where she is as graceful as she is athletic, Tian is as much a strategist as her male counterparts, professionally demonstrating talent with the dramatic elements of the film, a scene where she is in tears being especially powerful. On more than one occasion, Tian is provided unnecessary material, the likes of which the men are not subjected to, where she either inexplicably coughs, and during one scene forgets what she wanted to say, often appearing as a giggling, gamine, child, rather than the royal warrior she proves herself to be.

The romantic sub-plot, although in any other feature of similar genre may seem peculiar, never feels forced or out of place, instead capturing a gentle, child-like innocence that makes it appear so sweet and charming, granting the audience the ability to hope for a beautiful outcome. However, the anti-climatic conclusion, which leaves several questions unanswered, renders the film, which begins to speed up towards the end, feeling incomplete, as though there was more to be said, but it was instead silenced. Quite unlike many other Chinese features set within this period, The Warring States offers a strangely different, yet nostalgically captivating film, that may sometimes annoy and irritate, but will leave you quietly contemplating the touching narrative.
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