The Warlords

The Warlords

Infobox Film
name = The Warlords

image_size =
caption = The theatrical poster
director = Peter Chan
producer = Peter Chan
Andre Morgan
writer = Xu Lan
Chun Tin-Nam
Aubery Lam
Huang Jian Xin
Jojo Hui
He Jiping
Guo Jun Li
James Yuen
starring = Jet Li
Andy Lau
Takeshi Kaneshiro
Xu Jinglei
music = Chan Kwong Wing
Peter Kam
Chatchai Pongprapaphan
Leon Ko
cinematography = Arthur Wong
editing = Wenders Li
distributor = flagicon|Hong Kong Media Asia Distribution Ltd.
flagicon|China China Film Group
released = flagicon|China 13 December, 2007
runtime = 127 min.
country = China (including Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China)
language = Mandarin (linguistics)
budget = US$40 million
website =
amg_id = 1:431538
imdb_id = 0913968

"The Warlords", previously known as "The Blood Brothers" (zh-stp|s=投名状|t=投名狀|p=tóu míng zhuàng), is a 2007 Chinese/Hong Kong martial arts/drama film directed by Peter Chan and starring Jet Li, Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro. The film was released on 13 December, 2007 simultaneously in most of Asia, except Japan.Coonan, C. [ "Chan's 'Warlords' wraps"] , "Variety", 2007-03-30. Retrieved on 2007-04-02.]

The film is set in the 1860s, during the Taiping Rebellion in the late Qing Dynasty in China.


The film is set in the 1860s, during the Taiping Rebellion in the late Qing Dynasty in China. The story, based on an unresolved crime in 1870, tells of three sworn brothers (played by Jet Li, Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro) who are forced to turn against one another due to the harsh realities of war and political intrigue.

The beginning of the film shows defeated army general Qing Yun wandering aimlessly after his entire army was slaughtered. As he collapses from exhaustion, he is found by a girl named Mi Lan who nurses him back to health. Once he regains his strength, Qing Yun meets the bandit Wu Yang, who is coming back from a successful loot. Wu Yang notices the general's boots Qing Yun is wearing and attempts to kill him. Qing Yun, however, fights back and overpowers him. Wu Yang is awed by Qing Yun's fighting skills, and decides to introduce him to his elder brother, Er Hu, and asks him to join them. Er Hu masterminds a raid on a military convoy in order to steal badly needed food and supplies. Qing Yun participates in the battle and kills the convoy's leader, causing the remaining soldiers to surrender. This act impresses both Wu Yang and Er Hu and they allow him to return with them to their village. There, he finds Mi Lan, who is revealed to be Er Hu's wife, and they begin an illicit affair.

However, the bandits' raid doesn't go unnoticed. After an attack on Er Hu's village by the Qing military, Qing Yun convinces the gang to join the army and help the Qing government fight instead. That way, the bandits will be able to protect themselves better and get paid. Er Hu and Wu Yang are reluctant at first, and only agree after the three brothers sign a "Death Contract". When Qing Yun returns to his superiors, they are at first reluctant to accept him after his previous failure. However, Qing Yun quickly proves himself in battle, inflicting heavy casualties on a numerically superior force. The Qing generals promote Qing Yun, who leads the other brothers and his armies on multiple conquests. Soon, Qing Yun's arrogance leads him to make another bet with the generals, boasting that he can capture Suzhou and Nanjing. Fearing Qing Yun's growing power and influence, the Qing lords decide to deny Qing Yun valuable reinforcements and food supplies. Without support from the generals, Qing Yun's attack on Suzhou devolves into a year long siege, with both sides suffering. Desperate, Er Hu goes inside the city to negotiate with the official ruling Suzhou. The official realizes that the siege is making his people suffer, so he lets Er Hu kill him and surrenders the city on the condition that the soldiers defending the city be freed. Moved by the official's sacrifice, Er Hu agrees to the terms, but Qing Yun has different ideas. He can't take the soldiers prisoner because his army is critically short on food supplies, and he doesn't want to risk letting them roam free in fear of them regrouping and attacking again. Instead, he executes all of the captured soldiers, which enrages Er Hu. Er Hu considers deserting, but Qing Yun manages to convince Er Hu to stay on at least until they can take Nanjing.

Qing Yun's campaign to take Nanjing is a massive success, but dissent still remains within his ranks. Er Hu takes control of the military's accounts and gives out the soldiers' pay without authorizations, which angers Qing Yun and the Qing lords. This event, coupled with his attempted desertion, leads the Qing lords to believe that Er Hu is too dangerous to keep alive. They then convince Qing Yun to arrange for Er Hu's assassination. Some soldier tell Er Hu that there is a plot to kill Qing Yun and he goes off to try to avert Qing Yun's assassination. Meanwhile, Wu Yang discovers Qing Yun's affair with Mi Lan and catches wind of Er Hu's imminent assassination. Believing that Qing Yun wants Er Hu killed over Mi Lan, Wu Yang murders Mi Lan in an attempt to rob Qing Yun of a reason to kill Er Hu. This plan fails, however and Er Hu is killed before Qing Yun hears of Mi Lan's death. Finally, due to Qing Yun's military successes and popularity, the Qing government decides to appoint Qing Yun as a governor. The Qing lords, fearing that Qing Yun is growing too powerful, arrange for his assassination. As Qing Yun makes his way to his appointment, Wu Yang attacks him, blaming Qing Yun for Er Hu's death and accusing him of doing terrible deeds in the past in order to benefit himself. In order to honor the "Death Contract", Wu Yang declares that he must kill Qing Yun. As the two brothers fight, an assassin takes aim at Qing Yun and shoots him at the same time Wu Yang stabs him in the chest. Qing Yun dies and Wu Yang is left all alone, only to remember the day he, Er Hu, and Qing Yun first bound themselves to the "Death Contract".


*Jet Li as Pang Qing-Yun
*Andy Lau as Zhao Er-hu
*Takeshi Kaneshiro as Jiang Wu-Yang
*Xu Jinglei as Mi Lan
*Liang-Jie Vorgs Jin "Ryan Torda" as Young soldier


The film was originally titled "The Blood Brothers" (zh-st|s=刺马|t=刺馬). 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. (Note that there is another Chinese film with the English title "Blood Brothers" released in mid-2007.)

When asked why he chose to move away from his familiar turf of romance films, Chan said that "The Warlords" is actually not a martial arts film at its heart, though it contains elements of the martial arts. He added that he had made a wish to make a film depicting men's affections after watching John Woo's 1986 film "A Better Tomorrow" over twenty years ago, and has now finally gotten the chance. [Unknown. [ "Peter Chan steps away from romance"] , "CCTV", 2006-12-25. Retrieved on 2007-04-03.] His goal is thus to "lead [his] audience to reclaim [the same kind of passion] " as in "A Better Tomorrow", which he said is lacking in recent films. [zh icon Unknown. [ "A visit to the shooting of Warlords"] , "Sina Entertainment", 2007-03-16. Retrieved on 2007-04-03.]

Shooting began in early December 2006 in Beijing. Many outdoor scenes were shot in Beijing, Shanghai and the town of Hengdian in Zhejiang province. [zh icon Unknown. [ "Blood Brothers begins shooting in Beijing"] , "Nanfang Daily", 2006-12-05] . Retrieved on 2007-04-03.]

The film ran into copyright troubles on 19 March, 2007 when Chinese artist Wang Kewei filed a lawsuit against the film company for using his work in the promotional artworks without his consent. Wang claimed that in a short promotional video shown during a press conference held on 11 December, 2006 in Beijing, the film company used ten pieces of his work with minor alterations. The film company has not given an official response. [zh icon Unknown. [ "Warlords in copyright troubles"] , "Beijing Morning Post", 2007-03-20. Retrieved on 2007-04-02.]

Production of "The Warlords" officially wrapped up on 28 March, 2007. [zh icon Unknown. [ "Warlords wraps up, to be released simultaneously across Asia before New Year"] , "Beijing Morning Post", 2007-04-02. Retrieved on 2004-04-02.] Post-production work was divided among Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Bangkok.

Awards and Nominations

27th Hong Kong Film Awards

* Won: Best Film (N/A)
* Won: Best Director (Peter Chan)
* Won: Best Actor (Jet Li)
* Nominated: Best Actor (Andy Lau)
* Nominated: Best Original Film Score (Chan Kwong-Wing, Peter Kam, Chatchai Pongprapaphan, Leon Ko)
* Won: Best Cinematography (Arthur Wong)
* Nominated: Best Film Editing (Wenders Li)
* Won: Best Art Direction (Yee Chung-Man, Yi Zheng-Zhou, Pater Wong)
* Won: Best Costume and Makeup Design (Yee Chung-Man, Jessie Dai, Lee Pik-Kwan)
* Nominated: Best Action Choreography (Ching Siu-Tung)
* Won: Best Sound Design (Sunit Asvinikul, Nakorn Kositpaisal)
* Won: Best Visual Effects (Ng Yuen-Fai)

See also

*Suzhou Massacre POW Incident


External links

* [ Official site]
*imdb_title | id=0913968 | title=The Warlords

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