For those not familiar with the Taiping Rebellion, the Taiping were the largest internal threat to the Manchu Qing dynasty prior to social and cultural upheavals that toppled in the early 20th century (I recommend Jonathan Spence’s God’s Chinese Son for more detail). The Taiping Rebellion was a massive social movement/armed insurrection led by a man named Hong, a ne’er-do-well who repeatedly failed the governmental exams. Hong might have continued to languish in obscurity, except for the fact that he became convinced that he was Jesus’s younger brother, and forged an army out of the Hakka minority in Southern China. Hong was a certifiable nut, but his armies had some great successes in the mid-1800s, and eventually captured Nanking and made it their new capital. Of course, the whole thing ended horribly.
Peter Chan, not known for his historical epics, is basing his new film, “The Warlords,” on this historical incident. The new film stars Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau, and Jet Li as mercenaries with a complex relationship of brotherhood and betrayal during this chaotic period. If the plot sounds at all familiar, it’s because it’s based on the same source material as Chang Cheh’s Blood Brothers, with Chen Kuan Tai, David Chiang and Ti Lung. For those who haven’t seen Blood Brothers, I strongly encourage you to check it out - it’s one of Chang’s best works, and possibily Ti Lung’s best performance.
::: “Warlords” a departure for Hong Kong filmmaker
Filed under: Movie News and Movie News: Hong Kong and People: Andy Lau and People: Jet Li and People: Takeshi Kaneshiro and Movie News: China and People: Peter Chan