"THE WARLORDS" should do a good job in satisfying those caring a lot less about plot and character depth than action. Set in the 1860s, "THE WARLORDS" opens with a brutal battle scene(there are plenty more to follow!), wherein General Qingyun is the only survivor, pulling himself out from beneath the bodies of those less fortunate. Finding refuge and being brought back to health by a peasant woman, he admits he only survived by feigning death. Upon meeting up with bandits in trouble for stealing, he convinces to join him and regaining pride within the ranks of the Qing army. After taking part in a disturbing ritual to convey their solitude and allegiance to aid one another, they embark on one suicide mission after another, each one successively more challenging than the previous one, but consistently coming out on top. However, it's not long before their allegiance to each begins to fall apart. Unfortunately, as their bond falls apart, so does the narrative to the film. The various reasons for the dissolution are melodramatic to the point of becoming unintentionally humorous.
Director Peter Chan's imagery and editing create some terrific battle scenes, however his pacing with regards to the rest of the drama is all over the place. The various sub-plots are convoluted, and while Chan dabbles with themes that appear to examine the horrors and futility of war, "THE WARLORDS" wallows in violence in a manner that exploits rather than criticizes it. It's not showing hypocrisy, rather, the whole film simply is an example unto itself.
MAGNOLIA has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this AVC MPEG-4 1080p blu-ray. Colors vary from scene to scene. At times, they are overly muted, and at others, brilliantly rich. Fleshtones veer towards an unnatural look in numerous instances. The battle scenes fare the best, where the contrast and balance of vibrant with muted colors, combine to create a gritty experience. It's an uneven, but acceptable transfer. Surely, not reference quality.
MAGNOLIA has provided a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix. It's an aggressive mix, with little in the way of subtle effects. Battle scenes showcase the calamity of close combat, utilizing bass and discrete effects to an intense degree. Dialogue is perfectly intelligible and balanced within layers of effects. Although the transfer defaults to an English dubbed mix, the vocal dubs are horrendous, so toggling through the main menu will be mandatory.
A variety of extras, including nearly a half-hour of deleted scenes, are included. Only the trailers are offered in full 1080p.