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114 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An elegant surprise
I started watching this one expecting a historical military drama. 'Battle of the Warriors' delivered that beautifully. It centers on the mysterious stranger who arrives just as the city is about to be over-run, and rallies a defense against a marauding army tens of times their size - a trope that works as well in classical China as in the American Wild West. Starting...
Published on January 9, 2010 by wiredweird

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent but there is better
I've recently got hooked on watching foreign epics/martial/war films and have to say out of all the ones I have watched so far this film was a little lack luster. The battle scenes seemed poor quality like something was missing when I compare it to movies like Redcliff or Three Kingdoms. As far as plot goes it is pretty well done but in my opinion The Warlords does...
Published 23 months ago by DArkpurity


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114 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An elegant surprise, January 9, 2010
This review is from: Battle of the Warriors (DVD)
I started watching this one expecting a historical military drama. 'Battle of the Warriors' delivered that beautifully. It centers on the mysterious stranger who arrives just as the city is about to be over-run, and rallies a defense against a marauding army tens of times their size - a trope that works as well in classical China as in the American Wild West. Starting there, it offers exciting battles, humble heroism, intrigue, and all the rest that makes for quality entertainment of this kind. All of that comes through in sets and costuming with historical credibility, even though I can't vouch for literal accuracy. This isn't in the "flying swordsmen" genre, but a brilliant one of its kind.

This movie's pleasant surprise comes its major premise, an actual bit of Chinese history that many Westerners might not know. The mysterious stranger is a Mozi - a follower of Mo Di, an actual philosopher and leader from the Warring States period. His school centered their beliefs on universal brotherly love, something subversive in a Confucian society with rigid hierarchies of loyalty and affiliation. Rather than simply preach this doctrine, Moists fought for it. Their armies defended weaker city-states against unjust invasions by others in a policy of militant pacifism that might be unique in history. I know of no other movie that mentions Mo at all, so this one performs the worthwhile service of bringing this sage to Western attention.

If you want costume drama with plains darkened by swarming armies, with dramatic sieges and flaming attacks, with effete rulers undermining the commanders in the trenches, and with a near-subliminal hint of romantic interest, give this one a shot. But, while you're at it, remember that Mo was real even if this story's events weren't, and is well worth knowing.

-- wiredweird
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Story and Good Cinematography!!, December 30, 2009
By 
Flash (Cleveland, OH USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Battle of the Warriors (DVD)
I like some of the more recent warfare/martial arts foreign movies as much for the cinematography as I do for a good storyline. After all, it's nice to experience the imagery and action of a beautiful film to go along with processing the information of the story from the English subtitles. (Note: As a rule, I don't watch foreign movies with the English overdub turned on. I prefer to read the subtitles.) Movies that come to mind are Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon, House of Flying Daggers, Hero and The Warrior. This movie, Battle of the Warriors looked really good from the stills that I had seen and the story concept of countering a siege with wits and savvy appealed to me. In it's basic essence, thats what this movie is about, a kind of thinking-man's warfare from the point of view of both the beseiged and the invaders. Additionally, there are a few subplots involving 1) choosing to love, 2) the high human cost of war and 3) the ignorance/arrogance of the ruling class.

And at the end of the movie, I was very pleased with the story, probably even more than the cinematography. Don't expect non-stop action as there are several interludes that deal with setting up the armies/defenses and the strategies involved. Also, this movie isn't over-the-top in it's brutality, despite the eventual battle scenes. Overall, my opinion is that this is pretty solid movie and I would recommend it to intelligent audiences.
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Almost Kurosawa!, December 20, 2009
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This review is from: Battle of the Warriors (DVD)
If you're into Oriental art flicks, I would recommend a DVD called "Battle of the Warriers"
"Battle" certainly ranks, in my opinion, right up there with "Ran" or any of Kurosawa's or Ichikawa's films. Although lacking Kurosawa's camera work, I would have mistaken it for his if it had been in black & white. It's made in Hong Kong but much more western in style (more Japanese??) than most of the stuff coming out of Hong Kong or Beijing.
The movie is in Chinese but subtitled in English.
The story takes place in China 2300 years ago & is about a city that is the way of a large advancing army. The Army must take the city in order to proceed. The city hasn't much in defense & asks a clan of defense specialists, the Mozi, for help. They send one little guy. This guy, Ge Li, puts a whole new spin on being an army of one. Not because he's a killer but because he's a professional, knows what he's doing, & understands all of the consequences. If we had this guy in Afganistan, the war would have been over long ago.
The story is taken from a video game. Probably the only good conversion of a video game to full blown movie I've ever seen. The first half is battle and the preparations for them. The 2nd half has as much action but gets pretty heavy into the philosophy of war as well. One of those "Gotcha" movies that makes ya stop & think later about what was said.
This movie is excellent at all levels and would be enjoyable for just about every one although the violence might be a bit much for the younger kids. But not overboard with the blood & guts as so many movies are these days.
I recommend this movie enough I'm gonna buy a copy & add it to my collect. Well worth a watch.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pacifism with an edge, December 10, 2010
By 
thepete8 (Naperville, IL) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Battle of the Warriors (DVD)
A martial arts movie that is more battle epic than hand-to-hand combat, Battle of the Warriors takes place in China almost 2500 years ago. My Chinese history is a bit - er - dusty, but the movie does a great job of laying out the background. This is a wartorn time, and the city of Liang is about to be besieged by an army that has to steamroll through it to get to their real military target. Raw deal.

Enter Ge Li (the amazing Andy Lau), a Mozi that the slimy king of Liang has begged to come protect the city. How can one man defend a city against an army? With brains, strategy, and cunning psychology. While there are plenty of battles in this movie, the real core of Battle of the Warriors is the planning - the game of chess - that takes place between the invaders and Li as each side plots their next move or parries that of the opponent. I've never seen a war movie that is so much about the tactical planning of war, and it was fascinating. Of course this focus means the movie is a little slow at times, but I was never not interested. The battle scenes are really creative and the tactics devised by each side to attain their objectives are amazing. I even recognized tenets I remember reading in The Art of War surface in Ge Li and his adversaries' thinking, which was awesome!

In addition to masterful battle scenes, Battle of the Warriors also has tremendous cinematography, wonderful acting, and great costumes and sets. There's even a tragic love story thrown in. As affecting as the love story was, I'm glad they kept it at the subplot level. I generally find it a weakness when a martial arts film lets a love story get too front and center; this one is kept on the backburner where it belongs and it adds spice rather than getting in the way of what the movie is really about.

The main theme of the film is how war only creates more and deeper conflict, a sentiment Andy Lau's Li actually verbalizes in one of the final scenes. This theme is illustrated very effectively in the way different characters become mistrustful, turn on one another, and backstab or even destroy each other (sometimes unintentionally) as a result of the conflict they are trying to win. This theme is also given life by the fact that Ge Li is a Mohist/Mozi. Of course, this piece of the story will be a bit unclear for some viewers. For example, about half way through the movie a character accuses Ge Li of always talking about 'universal love'. Huh? The guy never said a word about it up to that point! As far as I recall, anyway.

This piece of the movie relies on a bit of historical backstory that is probably obvious to Chinese audiences. I had to look it up. The Mohists apparently were militant pacifists during this wartorn time. They were master strategists who defended people from large armies as a means of thwarting military ambitions, and there's some religious/philosophical underpinnings to their beliefs that are generally distasteful to anyone in a position of power. As such, to defend the city Li does not launch attacks. His work is all defensive, yet very much aimed at prevailing. In this case, the goal is outlasting an army that can't afford the effort and losses of a long siege. Li's defenses are cunning, powerful, and deadly enough to daunt even a battle-hardened army. In short, he's not the kind of pacifist who gets his way by sticking flowers in the barrels of guns. He's someone you do NOT want to be stuck attacking!

I enjoyed Battle of the Warriors, and I'd recommend it to martial arts buffs who are okay with no hand-to-hand combat epic flicks and will have some patience for the few times the plot demands it. And thanks to Dragon Dynasty for bringing another great martial arts movie to US audiences!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars EPIC BATTLES, STORY, AND CHARACTERS, December 8, 2010
This review is from: Battle of the Warriors (DVD)
BATTLE OF THE WARRIORS

I have always been a fan of the epic battle movies from medieval times to the classic Asian battles like the one in this film. This film now called "Battle of Warriors" is one really good movie, it has all any one could want in a film. The epic battles and fights, romance, political thriller, and strong characters are all wrapped into one. The movie originally titled "Battle of Wits" is based on a novel of the same name, and a Manga series, which had been based on the novel. Starring the ever great Andy Lau and directed by Jacob Cheung this equals out to be one good flick.

In 370 B.C. China was in turmoil being split into seven nations and such, also known as China's Warring States Period. One of the smaller states is being attacked and that is Liang, The nation of Zhao is trying to invade them with an overwhelming amount of solider, classic outnumbered Alamo like story. Faced with this impossible task Liang decides to send for the help of a Mozi or Mohist [look em up]. Known for their defensive and tactical skills one man is sent and his name was Ge Li [Lau], at first the King of Liang is upset that only one man was sent but soon he realizes that this one man is more than worthy of the job.

Has the battle draws closer Ge Li not only is given full control of the military but he starts to win over the people. Of course in doing this he is only doing his job but the King starts to think otherwise. Someone gets in his ear and lets the King know that the people are putting all their faith into Ge Li, taking influence away from the King. What is a King to do when he is falsely lead to think one thing over the other, take action of course.

Andy Lau leads an excellent cast in this wonderful film with a great performance, not only does he make the man more than likable but he also makes you believe that this character can win a war. Fan Bingbing plays his romantic interest in the film and does a great job as well. Siu Ho Chin is great here as well as a general that takes Li's side over the King, the King of course is played wonderfully by Zhiwen Wang. Si Won Choi [also a Korean pop star] plays the King's son in this film and does a great job. Of course from the other side is the invading Zhao commander Xiang Yan-zhong played perfectly by Sung-kee Ahn. I love the chess match here in this film between his and Lau's characters, the meeting was a favorite moment of mine.

Director Jacob Cheung and DP Yoshitaka Sakamoto did a great job with this film as the camera keeps moving and the shots are excellent. The story is great and full of actual characters and the battles are fun as one would expect. As I am sure you can tell that I enjoyed this film, I always have. I always loved the film and then Dragon Dynasty released here in the states in a special edition, I love it even more. The making of feature is excellent and shows a lot of behind the scenes and as always the commentary from Bey Logan is really insightful.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Among The Best Of The Big Asian Historical Epics, September 30, 2012
By 
Stephen B. O'Blenis (Nova Scotia, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Battle of the Warriors (DVD)
In Ancient China, war looms between two major kingdoms. As the more aggressive of the two begins to sweep down toward its rival, a much smaller kingdom stands squarely in the path of the invading army. With that army decided that it'll simply steamroll this smaller, weaker kingdom while it's at it, the small kingdom puts out a call for help, desperately hoping that someone - anyone - will come to its aid before it's pulverized. And answering that call comes forth, not an army like hoped for, but a lone Mozi warrior (Ge Li, played by Andy Lau). That's the setup for Battle Of The Warriors (Mandarin title - Mo Gong; also known internationally as "A Battle Of Wits").

This is based on actual events, as are quite a few of the big Chinese epics, but this one is apparantly a bit closer to what historians figure really happened than some. Of course, going back this far it's hard to be certain about all the particulars, and there Is room in movies for artistic licence. But, even without knowing as much about Asian history as I maybe should, it makes the movie all the more interesting knowing that the Mozi (also called Mohi - a dialect difference, I think) were for a time a real force in the ancient East. They were basically this brotherhood of philosopher/warriors who would try and come to the aid of anyone in need, whether from bandits and criminals or from invading aggressors. (I'm basing this primarily on the movie, although I have heard the name 'Mozi' elsewhere) They would naturally be received well by the besieged party, but in addition to their stance against aggressors, there were other parts of their beliefs that got them in trouble with a lot of powerholders. They believed in things like equality and 'universal love' and weren't big fans of the feudal system that has a ruler at the top of a land, then a small group of nobles, then citizens and finally a lot of peasants or even slaves. So this wasn't received that well by some of the rulers, especially the more tyrannical ones who ruled over the less benevolent set-ups. The central kingdom the lone warrior comes to aid is itself eager for Mozi assistance, but its rulers are disturbed by some of the Mozi creeds, and rather uncomfortable with the abrupt popularity of the Mozi among the general population of the kingdom.

Along the spectrum of the Asian historical epics, there are highly stlized ones with lots of fantasy flourishes and almost superhuman warriors (like the great House of Flying Daggers) and then there are ones where the combat is much more geared toward realism, like The Warlords (also great). Battle Of The Warriors is much closer to the latter, so there's no way that one lone warrior is going to stand against an entire invading army. But that's not what Lau's character brings to the table. Although a great fighter, what he really brings is a master's flair for tactics and longterm strategy, and the intention to train and lead an entire city in how to turn back a vastly more numerous force.

The movie really goes into all the strategy, the shifting alliances, the motivations - both honorable and dishonarable - of various characters (and sometimes both within the same character), and the large backdrop of different kingdoms's bids for power. When it does get into the battles themselves, it certainly doesn't skimp there either. Great production and visual imagery, in-depth plot, tremendous action sequences, and Lau's Ge Li character makes an ideal protagonist for this type of movie. A must see for fans of Red Cliff International Version - Part I & Part II, White Vengeance, War of the Arrows and the like.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an excellent piece of Chinese ancient epic, November 29, 2010
This review is from: Battle of the Warriors (DVD)
Oddly, this movie was based on a Japanese graphic novel that bases its story on the ancient Chinese Zhou dynasty about 2300 years ago. The author of the graphic novel apparently knows a lot of about ancient Chinese history because many reviewers and Chinese scholars think this novel is accurate in depicting the period in China. So historically speaking, this movie is also historically accurate, for the most part. A bit of background first. When the Zhou dynasty was first established, the emperor wanted to thank those who contributed so much to the cause by awarding land to various generals and also to his own family members. As time goes, these "land lords" became more and more independent and the land they ruled became "states". They all had their own courts and armies. So initial political struggle aimed to gain favors from the Emperor eventually became an arms race and then civil war, which lasted about 400 years. During this time, various states fought each other and allied with others. The alliance was broken and new ones formed. The whole thing went on and on until one finally finished off all the others and became the ultimate ruler of all China. This guy would be Shi Huang Di, the guy who built the Great Walls of China and gave China its name (his state was Chin).

At the time, the size of a state can range from Texas-like to city-states. The size depends on the size of the land that was originally assigned to the land lord based on his contribution in the war that established the Zhou dynasty, as well as how successful the follow lords were in annexing lands. At the beginning the dynasty, there were hundreds of states. Eventually, most was annexed by powerful states. At the end, there were only six left and they fought to become the one and only. So the movie is actually depicting a period when the bigger states were still in the process of eating up all the small ones. In the movie, the attacking army is from a state the size of California and the city depicted in the movie is the only property of the defending state. So you can imagine why the defenders panic so much.

I like this movie because it is one of the few that actually shows wars as an intelligent event. While most of the war movies we watch these days, namely Hollywood blockbusters, depict wars like a bunch of savages hacking each other to death, this movie shows how both sides form strategies and counter their opponents' strategies. I also like it because this movie keeps the romance to the absolute minimum.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ancient Times Strategy Warfare, September 16, 2013
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This review is from: Battle of the Warriors (DVD)
This is a war film that tends to focus on the strategy side of things rather than big battles. It's based on a Japanese manga series. Andy Lau stars as a Mozi warrior who attempts to bring leadership in the buffer state city of Liang. They lie in the path of a massive Zhao army.

The directing and story telling keep you engrossed, and the characters are likable. The camera work is good, and the action sequences are well filmed. It was also not too extreme on the violence. It's noticable that there was a lower budget, but they didn't fail to get the most out of it. With a good amount of anti-war message in the film, you get an idea for Mohist beliefs. The score was done by Kenji Kawai also responsible for the 'Seven Swords' score.

The Dragon Dynasty DVD features commentary and a nice, long 50 minute 'making of'. Mandarin and English are the selectable language audio tracks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A pretty good movie!, December 18, 2009
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This review is from: Battle of the Warriors (DVD)
I rented this through Netfix with hardly and idea of what it was about. Turned out to be a pretty good movie. Closet thing I can say to what it reminded me of was the ending of Kingdom of Heaven! The Zhao army is en route to conquer some large city or province, can't recall, and has to first take over a smaller city that stands it it's way. The majority of the movie is the army besieging the smaller city! I enjoy those ancient warfare flicks so this was right up my alley!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a smart fighter flick, March 29, 2010
This review is from: Battle of the Warriors (DVD)
this is a downright decent movie this is more about strategy then actual fighting, the relationships being the characters are easy to read and the story is quite enjoyable, without revealing too much it involves a stratgist and how he goes about helping out this fort, your find yourself drawn in by the fantastic camera work one of those rare gems if you will it has a nice combination of both action and drama not very fast paced but not slow either, considering this is more around the intellect of mozi and the application of his plans its pretty understandable a good plan times time to execute and it allows you to see the plan from start to finish and understand and appreciate the intellect of mozi
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Battle of the Warriors
Battle of the Warriors by Chi Leung 'Jacob' Cheung (DVD - 2009)
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