'The Warlords': Good Battle Scenes, Lame Love Story

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Warlords, a good but not great film, depicts the Chinese civil wars in the 1800s. My own preference in these flicks about ancient Asian warfare is to watch the movies showing the Japanese Samurai who held sway long, long ago before the age of gunpowder. The locales and uniforms are more exotic, and the personal stories are more interesting.

The three principal characters in The Warlords include General Pang (Jet Li), Elder Brother (Andy Lau), and an aide to the latter, Jiang Wu-Yang (Takeshi Kaneshiro). Pang is a general in the armies of the Dowager Empress. We meet him as the sole survivor of a battle, his entire army having been betrayed by another general in the same army who stood by as he and his men were slaughtered.

Elder Brother is the head of a village. The partisans take up arms to obtain food for the inhabitants to prevent them from starving. It's a long story, but ultimately the three men take an oath binding them as blood brothers. Lian (Xu Jinglei) is a woman who becomes the lover of both Pang and Elder Brother.

The best parts of the film are the battle scenes; the least interesting is the love story. Pang, who is only concerned with victory, is cruel. Elder Brother is virtuous and decent even to his enemies. Wu-Yang is only interested in keeping the three men together even if means eliminating Lian. Some reviewers extolled the movie excessively while others demeaned it too much. I think it is worth seeing but not one that must be seen. The original Seven Samurai is still the best.

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Ed Koch was mayor of NYC from 1978 to 1989. He's credited with restoring fiscal stability to the city and creating affordable housing. He's also a film buff. More

Mayor Koch saved New York City from bankruptcy and restored the pride of New Yorkers during his three terms as mayor from 1978-1989. He restored fiscal stability by placing the city on a GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) balanced budget. He created a housing program that provided more than 150,000 units of affordable housing and created New York City's first merit judicial selection system. Prior to being mayor, Mr. Koch served for nine years as a congressman and two years as a member of the New York City Council. He attended City College of New York from 1941 to 1943. He was drafted into the Army his last year of college and served with the 104th Infantry Division. He received two battle stars and was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant in 1946. He received his LL.B. degree from the New York University School of Law in 1948 and began to practice law immediately thereafter. He is currently a partner in the law firm of Bryan Cave LLP and hosts a call-in radio program on Bloomberg AM 1130 (WBBR). Mr. Koch appears weekly on NY1 television and is the author of ten autobiographical books.
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