The Warlords

2007  |  Putonghua  |  35mm  |  Color  |  127min  |  Chinese Subtitle

Director: Peter Ho-Sun Chan.Scriptwriter: Xu Lan, Chun Tin-nam, Aubrey Lam, Huang Jianxin, Jojo Hui, Ho Kei-ping, Guo Junji, James Yuen.Cinematographer: Arthur Wong.Editor: Wenders Li.Art Director: Yee Chung-man, Yi Zhengzhou, Pater Wong.Music: Chan Kwong-wing, Peter Kam, Chatchai Pongprapaphan, Leon Ko.Sound: Sunit Asvinikul & Nakorn Kositpaisal.Action: Ching Siu-tung

Cast: Jet Li, Andy Lau, Kaneshiro Takeshi, Xu Jinglei

Producer: Andre Morgan, Huang Jianxin, Peter Ho-Sun Chan.Production: Morgan & Chan Films.World Sales: Media Asia Distribution


An epic tale of brotherhood lies at the heart of Peter Chan’s period blockbuster, as three warriors are drawn together during the Taiping Rebellion before amorous liaisons with a woman threaten to tear them apart. With an A-list cast and top-flight production values, Chan enhances his character dynamics with bolder, louder action and drama, whether plunging audiences into chaotic battles or ominously observing betrayals brewing in the shadows

Date:   24/4 (Monday)

Time:   7:30PM

Venue:   HK Science Museum Lecture Hall

Free admission for all screenings. Tickets are available to public on-site 30 minutes prior to each screening on a first-come, first served basis. Limit to one ticket per person.


I’d done my fair share of romantic dramas, so when the opportunity arose for a new film, I decided to introduce a new element—action. Communicating with action directors has never been my strength because I wasn’t familiar with the language of action choreography. We asked Ching Siu-tung to return to the basics, so there’d be no fancy wirework. Along with Jet Li, everyone was on the same page and was excited by the prospect of doing something new. We used to let the action choreographer take care of the action scenes, so they were never written in detail. But for this film, we talked through everything and put it on paper, turning each discussion into a fresh draft. We had more than a dozen of them by the end, with a 10-minute action sequence taking up 20 to 30 pages of the screenplay. We analyzed every single action scene the same way we would analyze a dramatic scene. Even when we created the war sequences, we made sure that each character’s position and state of mind are distinctive. As a result, Ching’s job became much easier. Whenever I work with Yee Chung-man, he would often provide me with ideas about the overall tone of the film before the script was even written. This factor alone makes him my most important partner in collaboration. As an art director, he not only sets the tone with his art direction but also sets the mood for the actors once they’re in full costume. The costumes provided such a vivid texture that the cinematographer and I, upon seeing them, knew exactly what to shoot. The Warlords’ greatest selling point is its realism. I had to constantly convince them that I’d be able to deliver a sensational experience grounded in reality—something that would have an impact on the audience not by relying on extravagant spectacles but by moving them with something they’ve never seen before. Inspired by the dramatic factor of Blood Brothers (1973), this film engages audiences with meticulously crafted characters, conflicts and relationships. Once they’re hooked, there’s no need for embellishments. It’s only when the plot fails that the audience looks for visual distractions to fill the void.

Peter Ho-Sun Chan Film Art, Issue 318 (December 11th, 2007)