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Band B and of of Brothers Brothers Jet J et Li, Andy A Lau d Takeshi Taakeshi and Kanesh h o fight hi hir fight i ht Kaneshiro way through through their way thee T aaiping Taiping rrebellion eb bellion in â€˜The Warlordsâ€™ Warlor a dsâ€™ 0 0G@716/@2D=<0CA/19 G @ 7 1 6 / @ 2 D= < 0 C A /1 9
STIMAT STIMATES TE ES o off tthe he b butcherâ€™s utcherâ€™s b bill ill disagree: d isagree: tthe he Taiping Taiping rrebellion ebellion off tthe mid-1800s killed 20 orr o he m id-1800 8 sk illed 2 0o maybe humans. m aybe 550 0 million million h umans. Clearly, was Earthâ€™s bloodiest war. C learly, iitt w as E arrthâ€™s b loodiest ccivil ivil w ar. Without delving history W ithout d elving iinto nto tthe he h istory ttoo oo muchâ€”Iâ€™m non-Chinese m uchâ€”Iâ€™m a n on-Chinese sspeaker peaker ssorting orting drastically partisan tthrough hrough d rastically p art r isan ssummings ummings upâ€”a off tthings u pâ€”a ccouple ouple o hings ccan an be jjudged. udged. Firstly, Firstly, in in the the golden golden hindsight hindsight of of Mao Mao Party, was protoaand nd tthe he P arty, tthe he rrebellion ebellion w as p rotoheld property ccommunist, ommunist, ssince ince tthe he rrebels ebels h eld p roperty out iin n ccommon ommon aand nd ccame ame o ut aagainst gainst polygamy binding. p olygamy aand nd ffoot oot b inding. â€œâ€œPerhaps Perhaps next uprising Europe may depend tthe he n ext u prising iin nE urope m ay d epend more on what now place m ore o nw hat iiss n ow ttaking aking p lace iin n tthe he Celestial Empire other C elestial E mpire [[China] China] tthan han aany ny o ther political wrote Karl Marx eexisting xisting p olitical ccause, ause,â€? w rote Ka arl M arx Secondly, Hong Xiuquan, aatt tthe he ttime. ime. S econdly, H ong X iuquan, may have been off tthe he rrebellionâ€™s ebellionâ€™s lleader, eader, m ay h ave b een o dubious hee w was d ubious ssanity, anity, ssince ince h as ssubject ubject tto o prophetic dreams which God him p rophetic d reams iin nw hich G od ttold old h im he, Hong, was Jesusâ€™ brother. tthat hat h e, H ong, w as Je esusâ€™ llittle ittle b rother. Beware divinely when B eware tthe he d ivinely iinspired nspired w hen tthey hey have h ave gguns. uns. Making Making a film film about about a civil civil war, war, Chinese Chinese orr o otherwise, what half o therwise, iiss aalways lways ttricky: ricky: w hat h alf will heroism, tthe he aaudience udience w ill cconsider onsider h eroism, tthe he other half will base Gone o ther h alf w ill ccall all b ase ttreachery. reachery. G one With Wind proves W ith tthe he W ind iiss tthe he eexception xception tthat hat p roves Thalbergâ€™s Law: No Civil War picture T halbergâ€™s L aw: N oC ivil W ar p icture eever ver made dime. Peter Chanâ€™s The m ade a d ime. P eter C hanâ€™s T he Warlords, Warlords, produced war a ssumptuously umptuously p roduced yyet et ggritty ritty w ar movie, might bee aan m ovie, m ight aalso lso b n eexception. xception. IItâ€™s tâ€™s a
4756B7<5B@7= 4 756B7<5B@7= Andy Andy LLau au ((left), leftt)), Jet Jet Li Li ((center) center) aand nd T Takeshi akeshi K Kaneshiro aneshiro sstar tar iin n â€˜â€˜The The W Warlords. arlords.â€™
rousing m rousing martial artial drama drama of of the the brotherhood brotherhood off three who o three generals generals and and the the woman woman w ho became b ecame tthe he wedge wedge between between them. them. Left Left for for dead dead after after a four-day four-day battle, battle, Imperial Gen. Li) tthe he Im mperial G en. Pang Pang (Jet ( Jeet L i) ssurvives urvives byy p playing b laying possum possum iin n a burnt-out burnt-out city. city. A woman, Lian llone one w oman, L ian ((Xu Xu JJinglei), inglei), rrescues, escues, Pang. ffeeds eeds aand nd beds beds the the traumatized traumatized P ang. Lian Lian had h ad jjust ust rrun un away away from from tthe he man man in in her her life, bandit Zhao life, a b andit chieftain chieftain named named Z hao Erhu Erhu (Andy (Andy Lau). Lau). In In the the morning morning aafter fter this this oneonenight Pang Lian meet night encounter, encounter, P ang and and L ian m eet tthe he banditâ€™s Zhao banditâ€™s party. party. Z hao never never learns learns aabout bout the night hee intends the stolen stolen n ight of of love; love; h intends tto o send send Pang on way. Pang o n his his w ay. Thatâ€™s Th hatâ€™s when when a different different division division of of the the Imperial Imperial aarmy rmy sshows hows up, up, led led by by Pangâ€™s Pangâ€™s evil evil rival, rival, who who ssat at out out the the battle battle as as Pangâ€™s Pangâ€™s men men were This were ccut ut tto o pieces. pieces. T his marauding marauding general general raids banditâ€™s raids tthe he b anditâ€™s camp. camp. After After the the thieving thieving soldiers soldiers withdraw, withdraw, Pang Pang urges urges the the bandits bandits to to join join the the eemperorâ€™s mperorâ€™s aarmy rmy aass a way way of of surviving surviving tthe he times. times. Pang, Pang, the the bandit bandit Zhao Zhao and the filmâ€™s narrator, Zhang (Takeshi and the filmâ€™s narrator, Zhang (Takeshi
Kaneshiro K aneshiro o off R Red ed C Cliff), l fff)), join lif join in in a three-way three-way oath brothers. o ath to to ffight ight ttogether ogether as as b rothers. The Th he battles battles continue continue the the filmâ€™s f ilmâ€™s postpostaapocalyptic pocalyptic lookâ€”itâ€™s lookâ€”itâ€™s a ggritty ritty modern modern war with Thereâ€™s more hitw ar w ith ttrenches. renches. T hereâ€™s m ore h itaand-run nd-run aaction ction iin n tthe he eearly arly ssequences, equences, as as Pang, Zhang Zhaoâ€™s militia on P ang, Z hang aand nd Z haoâ€™s m ilitia ffalls alls o na Taiping T aiping ssupply upply cconvoy onvoy ffiling iling tthrough hrough tthe he bear ccanyons: anyons: be ar ttraps raps ssnatch natch their their horsesâ€™ horsesâ€™ llegs, egs, aand nd tthe he ffighters ighters sslide lide down down from from tthe he ccliff liff ttops ops tto o ffinish inish tthe he sslaughter. laughter. The The Warlords Warlords isnâ€™t isnâ€™t quite quite bursting bursting with with comedy, comedy, but but there there is is some some dark dark humor humor in in the the staging staging of of Pangâ€™s Pangâ€™s meetings meetings with with the the civil civil authorities. authorities. Pang Pang and and the the throneâ€™s throneâ€™s servants servants negotiate negotiate at at shouting shouting distance distance across across the the cityâ€™s cityâ€™s concrete concrete courtyard, courtyard, like like neighbors neighbors yelling yelling at at each each other other across across a street. street. Itâ€™s Ittâ€™s strange strange that that director director Peter Peter Chan Chan didnâ€™t didnâ€™t show show us us the the story story from from the the point point of of view view of of the the bandit bandit Zhao: Zhao: in in trusting trusting the the authorities, authorities, he he risks risks the the most most and and has has the most to lose; he goes noble as his wellthe most to lose; he goes noble as his well-
born b orn rrival ival ggoes oes iignoble. gnoble. The The Warlords Warlords is is directed directed with with admirable admirable momentum, minimal m omentum, intelligence intelligence and and m inimal borrowing b orrowing from from Kurosawa. Kurosawa. The The realistic realistic ssides ides of of war war are are balanced, balanced, as as are are the the glory glory aand nd tthe he sshame. hame. The The ssense ense of of the the busted busted ttrust rust between between generals generals reminds reminds one one of of ssomething omething director director Claude Claude Autant-Lara Autant-Lara once wrote. o nce w rote. In In movies, movies, he he suggested, suggested, â€œthe â€œthe â€˜â€˜comradery comradery of of warâ€™ warâ€™ is is presented presented with with iincomparable ncomparable deceit deceit as as a â€˜â€˜brotherhoodâ€™ brotherhoodâ€™ . . . false a fa false brotherhood brotherhood . . . that that I challenge challenge absolutely, absolutely, having having some some true true sense sense of of brotherhood, brotherhood, of of its its nature nature and and of of its its ends. ends.â€?
THE THE WARLORDS WARLORDS (R; (R; 110 110 min.), min.), directed directed by by Peter Peter Chan, Chan, written written bbyy Chun Chun Tin Tin Nam, Nam, et et al., al., photographed photographed by by Arthur Arthur Wong Wong and and starring starring Jet Jet Li Li and and Andy Andy Lau, Lau, plays plays Wedâ€“Thu Wedâ€“Thu at at the the Nickelodeon. Nickeelodeon.
Published on May 6, 2010