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 »
During battles, the horses fall down without being hit. Clearly they were tripped by wire. 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 »
For an international film that came out in 2007, this has to be one of the best cinematographic films I've seen in a while. It felt like it was Hollywood produced and filmed in 4K. Directing was spot-on, and all casting was excellent, including the massive amount of extras. My only issues is the writing; this Chinese historical drama was full of sweeping montages, dramatic battle scenes and rhetorical blood oaths, but its dramatic gravitas was lost amongst a convoluted plot and a very weak love triangle. Nevertheless, it was gratifying and entertaining. A solid 8/10 from me, the majority of my rating for the cinematography.
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