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Warlords also known as “The Warlords,” “Tau ming chong,” “Ci ma,” “Les seigneurs de la guerre,” “Los señores de la guerra,” “O kyriarhos,” “Tou ming zhuang,” “Warlords,” “Warlords—Irmãos de Sangue,” “Warlords: Irmãos de Sangue,” “Wladcy wojny”

MPAA Rating: R-Rating (MPAA) for sequences of strong violence.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan

Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
War Action History Foreign Drama Remake
2 hr. 6 min.
Year of Release:
2007, 2009
USA Release:
May 23, 2009 (festival)
April 2, 2010 (3 theaters—NYC/LA)
DVD: June 29, 2010
Copyright, Magnet Releasing click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Magnet Releasing Copyright, Magnet Releasing Copyright, Magnet Releasing Copyright, Magnet Releasing Copyright, Magnet Releasing Copyright, Magnet Releasing
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Magnet Releasing

About murder in the Bible

Death in the Bible

Final judgment






Bandit / Robbery


Food shortage, famine


VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Featuring: Jet Li (General Pang Qingyun), Andy Lau (Zhao Er-Hu), See all »
Director: Peter Chan, Wai Man Yip
Producer: Applause Pictures, Beijing Jinyinma Movie & TV Culture Co., Beijing Poly-bona Film Publishing Company, Chengtian Entertainment, China Film Group, See all »
Distributor: Magnet Releasing

First of all, I just want to state that from a technical aspect this movie was phenomenal. The acting was well done, the cinematography was incredible. I was especially impressed with Jet Li’s portrayal of General Pang Qingyun. Li brought a whole new perspective to Pang. I was, also, impressed with the fine acting accomplished through his co-stars, Andy Lau (Er-Hu) and Takeshi Kaneshiro (Wu-Yang). The story was complex, yet entertaining.

Objectionable Material

Though this movie was great from a technical aspect, this is not a movie I can recommend to Christians.

Violence: This movie is rated R for “sequences of strong violence,” and rightfully so. This movie contained various scenes of soldiers being stabbed with spears, human blood splattering everywhere, decapitated body parts (which are also covered in blood), beheadings, a couple scenes where we see starving, injured villagers, and also scenes of pillaging and chaos. One of the Brothers is whipped. There are scenes of people being shot by guns and arrows. There are, also, a couple knife battles. Lastly, there is a scene where a soldier holds up a decapitated head in the air at the end of a batlle.

Sexuality: The sexuality was mild. There are a couple scenes where General Pang is seen in bed with a woman (Lin), and there is also reference to two women supposedly being raped.

Profanity: Suprisingly, the language was kept at a minimum. There is one instance of d***.

Morals/Spirtiual Lessons

As I sat through this movie, I questioned whether there was a moral to this story or whether I could draw any lessons from a Christian standpoint. There’s an old saying that “power can corrupt good people.” This is true of General Pang. At first, his conquests, along with his Brothers', were for freeing his people from the bullying of the Taiping people. However, as the movie progresses, we see that his motives change, even to the point of betrayal. As Christians, when God has given us authority, we must not abuse it as General Pang did. We must also show mercy and forgiveness to those who are under our authority.

In short, I cannot recommend this movie to any Christian. My advice is to heed the R-rating and stay away from this one. While the technical aspects (such as the lighting, the cameras, the acting) were phenomenal, it does not make up for the multiple occurrences of brutal, graphic violence throughout this film.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

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Movie Critics
…a meaty drama of friendship, ambition and betrayal… Laden with gritty action, but with an emotional undertow that carries the drama even through its weaker moments…
Derek Elley, Variety
Jet Li delivers a magnificently shaded performance as General Pang… A potent mix of war, wuxia and male bonding, “The Warlords” uses a large canvas—the Taiping Rebellion in 19th-century China—as the backdrop for a small personal drama. …
Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times
…director Chan strikingly conveys not only the enormity of wartime casualties but also the insignificance of life in times of conflict. … passably intense but too monotonous to deliver more than a mild hack-and-slash high. [2/4]
Nick Schager, Slant Magazine
…More impressive than enjoyable, with a mile-wide streak of melodrama. …
Kim Newman, The Times of London
…overlong, melodramatic movie, set in 19th-century China and loosely based on real events. … features gargantuan battles, a well-staged knife fight in the rain, fireworks and a few beheadings. The rest of the time is taken up by a schmaltzy story… [1½/4]
V.A. Musetto, New York Post