This is definitely a film that history buff will enjoy moreso as the name Warring States Period was derived from the Record of the Warring States, a work compiled early in the Han Dynasty. The date for the beginning of the Warring States Period is disputed. While it is frequently cited as 475 BC, 403 BC, the date of the tripartite Partition of Jin, is also considered as the beginning of the period. Its not a bad film, but with all of the epic films coming from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan I’m forced to wonder how this film was chosen to get a release in the US- on the same day as its release in Asia. The Warring States Period was an era when regional warlords annexed smaller states around them and consolidated their power. The process began in the Spring and Autumn Period, and by the 3rd century BC, seven major states had emerged as the dominant powers in China. I could be wrong of course simply because it just may have been done cheaply, but the feel seems to match TV drama at times.
In one reign he falls in love with a girl, general of the army and destined to marry the emperor, in the other he is betrayed and imprisoned by his old friend, also a military strategist and in love with the same girl too. He succeeds to escape and lead the first reign to victory, but in the end he will kill himself. The movie seems to have been done in a hurry, sometimes things happen too fast and you feel like you’re missing something in the plot. Luscious to look at, a little hard for those of us unfamiliar with the history to follow. The performance by the actor playing Sun Bin was annoying – alternating between simpleton and military genius. The performance as so distractingly poor that it tainted the whole movie. The fighting scenes are intended to be epic but they often result confused and so not exciting. It’s not a good movie, but not the worst of its kind. There’s a plenty of better Chinese movies, so it remains a mystery why it was distributed in the West.
As in any feudal system there was a danger that power would become decentralized. The multi-state system itself was created when the Zhou king lost power to his nobles. The action sequences seem wildly scaled down despite being massively huge with the result that they are epic to look at but not particularly exciting (I won’t go into the dullest chariot race I’ve ever seen with the chariots moving at different speeds in different shots) The other problem I have is that the film seems to be larger than the confines of the story. There were times when I had the sense that I was missing something.
What starts out promisingly enough is ruined by the rapid fire editing that have me a headache. The ingredients sound attractive, but The Warring States is laced with problems. Also, if you needed a final nail in the coffin, I read that the varied nature of The Warring States’ pan-Asian cast (comprised of Chinese, Hong Kong, South Korean and Japanese actors), which was a big pre-release issue for Memoirs of a Geisha, seems to have elicited no particular outcry here. Good Grief. Avoid this movie at all costs.This busy attempt at merging large-scale CGI action filmmaking with outsized historical drama is unremarkable.