Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Battle of Wits star Andy Lau

The Battle of Wits picture Andy LauChina Daily new update film The Battle of Wits starring Andy Lau is filled with magnificent battle scenes, martial arts and dazzling effects-but it's also a film without real heroes and it carries a potent anti war message.

For their magnificent battle scenes and dazzling techniques, it would be easy to compare Hong Kong director Jacob Cheung's latest film "The Battle of Wits" with the Hollywood Trojan War epic Troy.Battle" opens in cinemas nationwide today.However,director Cheung is not trying to create a Chinese version of"Troy"in this historical drama but to convey ancient Oriental philosophy, wisdom and a universal message of peace.

"Super hero movies are a popular genre for Hollywood filmmakers but are not that common in the Asian cinema," says director Cheung. "It took me 11 years to prepare and make the film."The 47-year-old Cheung looks more like a mild and low-key scholar who has deep passion for profound Chinese culture than a movie industry figure. As a director and producer, Cheung has enjoyed remarkable success in the past decade.

His films, including "Beyond the Sunset" (1989) and "Cageman" (1992), have won many prizes, such as the Hong Kong Film Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay."The Battle of Wits" is an adaptation of the popular Japanese comic"Mozi's Assault"by Mori Hideki.Set in China's Warring States Period (476-221BC), the film recounts how Ge Li, disciple of the famous philosopher Mo Tzu, helps the small Kingdom of Liang fight off invaders from the powerful Kingdom of Zhao.Hong Kong star Andy Lau teams up with mainland actor Wang Zhiwen and South Korea's Ahn Sung-gi and Choi Si-won in this US$15 million production."This is the only film I am presenting this year," Lau says with a laugh. "You can see how much the story appeals to me."

Mainland's veteran actor Wang Zhiwen also vividly portrays Emperor Liang, in a performance that is another highlight of the movie."Emperor Liang is not merely a fatuous governor," Wang says."He just doesn't want to lose what he already possesses. The psychological crisis leads to his selfishness, ferocity and the ambivalent doubting character."Though the movie seems to have almost all the commercial and entertaining elements, director Cheung refuses to compromise his filmmaking just to cater to the market in China.

I really want to tell modern people that there is no real hero in battle and express my anti-war opinions," he says.The Battle of Wits" will premiere nationwide today in China.It will be shown in Chinese with both English and Chinese subtitles of China.

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