Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Jet Li returns in The Warlords
Jet Li continues to prove he can act. Lets forget about the embarrassing turn in last year's War. He has said he knew it wasn't working on the set. Anybody watching the movie knows he was phoning it and cashing the check. What did War buy him time to do? well he returned to china and made a little bad ass film co starring Andy Lau called The Warlords.
Much was made in the press about how this was not a fighting role for Li. It maybe true that he does less fighting than acting in this one, but it would be false to give the impression he didn't use his Wushu skills.
The Warlords is directed by Peter Chan. Last year saw the American release of his stylized overblown Wuxia pan fantasy film The Promise. I enjoyed this film that all the grand color and imagery of Hero but was muddled by an embarrassing loony tunes-ish scene with some of the worst CGI I've ever seen. Chan struck back with this film hard.
It is brutal war film that follows three blood brothers on several back breaking military campaigns in china around the time guns first appeared. It tells the same story as the Shaw brothers film Blood brothers but this movie has more in common with Saving Private Ryan. Jet Li has said he took this project because he was tired of seeing "killing made beautiful." Well Jet it's pretty ugly here.
The battles are well done, several cringe worthy scenes would've had a deeper impact on me if I hadn't seen the new Rambo recently. And there lies my only complainant. The DVD I rented at Movie madness seemed to be cropped just perfectly so several times the violence was hidden. I can't believe the filmmaker intended this.
Either way as a pure Kungfu movie fan I was thrilled. As a Jet Li fan even more so. Lets also not forget the gut wrenching performance of Andy Lau.
Also last week Randall, Bru-Dawg and I rented an amazing new Hong Kong gangsta film called Exiled. It was directed by Johnnie To and it was not as brutal as Election. That being said I enjoyed this one even more. It was heartfelt loving tribute to Italian westerns set in Hong Kong. How can you go wrong?