Set in China in the 1860's during the Taiping Rebellion, the story is based on the assassination of Ma Xinyi in 1870. Loyalist General Qingyun is the only survivor of a battle with anti-Qing rebels. He encounters a starving village, whose inhabitants engage in banditry to survive, where he is nursed back to health by the attractive Liansheng. With his strength regained, Qingyun impresses one of the village bandit leaders, Jiang Wuyang, with his fighting skills. Wuyang introduces him to his "big brother", who also happens to be Liansheng's husband, Zhao Erhu and Qingyun begins to assist them with their raids. Qingyun convinces his two new comrades to form a loyalist army unit to fight the rebels and feed their own people. The three men swear a blood oath. Their stunning military successes impress the governing powers, but as Qingyun's influence begins to grow, they soon fear him. The political and emotional stakes will be tested, leading to differences between the blood brothers.Written by
The film was originally titled "The Blood Brothers". Director Peter Chan said it was influenced by the late Chang Cheh's 1973 film "The Blood Brothers", which is itself based on a famous high profile assassination of a local governor in 1870, but denied that it is a remake. He also decided to change the title to The Warlords in order to avoid confusion. See more »
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 »
Cuts were required to the UK version to remove all sight of animal cruelty (horses being made to fall forward onto their necks), in accordance with the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937. See more »
Perhaps the quality of this film becomes most apparent when compared to other productions of similar genre. My experience of watching Three Kingdoms has become a fading memory on a dusty shelf after I watched Warlords. It's the kind of movie that reminds you that there are websites where one can review movies, and doesn't let you rest until you tell others about it.
Essentially, Tau Ming Chong is a tragedy, making a steep turn into the dark closer towards the end. It may be a bit on the heavy side, but by the time you realize that, the movie has already sucked you in completely.
An excellent acting team led by Jet Li makes sure that everything else is just frosting around the cake of well developed characters. That's not to say that the frosting is inferior. This movie has everything going for it: choreography, special effects, sound and story. It has a something for everyone, although Warlords is definitely a boys' movie, full of hardcore violence, brotherhood issues and politics. The story is raw and keeps the mind occupied with some of its steeper turns.
If you liked movies like Troy, chances are you'll enjoy it's much darker Eastern family member Tau Ming Chong, possibly one of the best movies ever created.
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