The good stuff
Warlords is an awesome film about three beardy men with balls taking their little army to conquer nations, but failing to keep in control over their own friendship.
Chan's attempt is definitely a good start, sporting high production values, a classy and stylish atmosphere and a strong mix of varied genre elements.
Peter Chan's musical is a prime example of classic and modern influences reinforcing each other. The musical numbers mimic the heydays of Hollywood musicals, but the romance, the editing and Peter Pau's cinematography lift the film way above its peers. Easily one of the best musicals I've seen so far.
Peter Chan's latest film is part sports feel-good, part Chinese propaganda. It's a little disappointing to see that's the direction he's been going in lately, then again he's hardly the only director who has chosen this path. For what it's worth though, considering the sentimental mess Leap could've been, it's not all that bad.
The film focuses on China's women volleyball team, more particularly the role Lang Ping played in its success. From being one of the players that brought them their first international success, to ending up coaching them back to former glory years later, Leap picks out the key moments in Ping's career.
Li Gong plays is a surprising choice for the lead, but she does a commendable job. The games are pretty exciting and Chan doesn't always go with the most obvious choices, but the film's underlying motives are a little too obvious and 2 hours is quite long, even though there's quite a lot of ground to cover. It's certainly not as bad as it could've been, but Peter Chan can do so much better.
Commissioned anthology that was made to lift the spirit of Hong Kong during the SARS epidemic. The who's who of Hong Kong cinema participated, but the result is a little uneven. Not too surprising considering the exterior motives behind this anthology, and there are a couple of worthwhile entries, but overall it's probably best to lower your expectations when watching this.
Worthy but flawed
Not quite as good as the cast & crew may suggest. With 2 Tony Leungs in front of the camera and Peter Chan helming the film, my expectations were just a little higher, but in the end this is a decent romantic comedy with some proper laughs and passable drama. It's clearly filler material, but it's really not that bad.