Film stars Lau, Li, Kaneshiro

Hong Kong helmer Peter Chan wrapped shooting on his $40 million epic “The Warlords” this week and the war pic, which features three of Asia’s hottest male leads — Andy Lau, Jet Li and Takeshi Kaneshiro — is slated to bow in December this year.

Pic is the biggest production in China this year, and also features rising mainland actress Xu Jinglei. “The Warlords” is a meaty tale of brotherly betrayal, revenge and murder set in China driven by civil war in 1860 during the Taiping rebellion (1851-64).

The story has been told before, notably in Chang Cheh’s “The Blood Brothers” in 1973. Chan, who won plaudits for the musical “Perhaps Love,” says the Hong Kong movie was an influence but denies “The Warlords” is a remake, and changed the name from “Ci Ma” to avoid comparisons.

“Shooting has finished, everything was fantastic, no complaints, despite the bad weather in northern China. We had four solid months of shooting,” said long-time Chan collaborator Andre Morgan. China’s state-run China Film Group is backing the pic, as is Hong Kong’s Media Asia.

Post-production will be divided between Hong Kong, L.A. and Bangkok, where the laboratory is sited, and pic is expected to be released on December 13, simultaneously in most of Asia, except for Japan where it will screen later.

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