A Battle of Wits

Watch A Battle of Wits

  • R
  • 2006
  • 2 hr 13 min
  • 6.7  (4,387)

A Battle of Wits is a historical action-adventure film set in ancient China, directed by Jacob Cheung and released in 2006. The film stars Andy Lau as the hero Ge Li, a skilled warrior and strategist who is recruited to defend the small city of Liang against the onslaught of the Zhao army, who are led by the formidable General Xiang Yanzhong (played by Korean actor Ahn Sung-ki).

The movie is based on the well-known Chinese novella “Bingjian”, written by writer Gu Long, which depicts the story of a military strategist who utilizes his wits and battle-hardened experience to defend a city against an overwhelming enemy force. The story is set in the Warring States period of Chinese history, a time when powerful states were constantly vying for control of territories and resources.

As the film opens, we see General Xiang and his army marching towards Liang, a small city situated in a valley that is surrounded by mountains on all sides. The residents of Liang are farmers and craftsmen who have never faced a military threat before, and they are understandably panicked.

The ruler of Liang, King of Liang, seeks the advice of a wise man who lives in the mountains, hoping that he can provide some solution to their dilemma. The wise man recommends that the King of Liang send for Ge Li, a military strategist who is renowned for his tactical skill and ability to outwit his enemies.

Ge Li, who is shown to be a bit of a rogue, is initially reluctant to take up the task but is persuaded by the offer of a large sum of money. He arrives in Liang and immediately assesses the situation. He realizes that they cannot hope to win against the Zhao army in open combat, so he decides to implement a strategy of deception and misdirection.

Ge Li’s plan involves digging an extensive network of underground tunnels that will allow the defenders to move around undetected and launch surprise attacks on the enemy. He also employs other tactics such as camouflage and false retreats to lure the enemy into traps. The battle scenes are well choreographed and visually engaging, with tense moments of suspense building up to the climax.

As the battle progresses, General Xiang becomes increasingly frustrated by Ge Li’s tactics, but cannot find a way to counter them. He becomes aware that Ge Li has a weakness, and tries to exploit it by using threatening tactics against the civilians of Liang.

The film does a good job of portraying the desperation of the defenders of Liang, who are constantly on the brink of defeat. The story is also dotted with moments of humor and levity, mainly provided by Ge Li’s mischievous character.

The movie is also visually impressive, with the cinematography capturing the lush greenery of the valley as well as the grim realities of battle. The sets and costumes are intricate and detailed, and the props and weaponry look authentic.

Overall, A Battle of Wits is an entertaining and engaging film that successfully balances action, drama, and humor. The performances by Andy Lau and Ahn Sung-ki are outstanding, and the supporting cast also does an excellent job. The film is a well-crafted blend of historical epic and martial arts adventure, and is definitely worth watching for fans of the genre.

A Battle of Wits
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 13 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (4,387)