Even as Will Smith battles for his life in I Am Legend, the film is set to fight it out with Hong Kong action epic The Warlords for box office supremacy in Asia this weekend. Who will win? Will and his dog will have to come from behind because The Warlords is already ahead. Variety reports that the film "rampaged across Asia in its six territory day-and-date" premiere on Thursday.

Compared to the US, the numbers may be small, but everything is relative: $1.77 million on opening day in Mainland China, plus $1.22 million in receipts from sneak previews on Wednesday. Preview and opening day audiences in Hong Kong added $215,000 to the take, while the picture also did well in wide release in Singapore ($119,000) and Malaysia ($54,300). The Warlords also launched in Thailand on Thursday, in Indonesia on Friday, and will expand to Taiwan on December 28. Meanwhile, I Am Legend premieres in Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan this weekend, according to Variety, and is expected to do well "given the foreign appeal of Will Smith and the offshore appetite for action."

The Warlords stars Jet Li, Andy Lau, and Takeshi Kaneshiro in a film that director Peter Chan says was inspired by his watching Chang Cheh's Blood Brothers as a young boy in 1973. He told Yvonne Teh of BC Magazine that when he revisited it as an adult, he felt that the movie was "too simple for today," so he "started digging into history and into the background of the period of the Taiping Revolution where 70 million people were killed in a matter of 14 years." Early reviews have been positive with some reservations (The Visitor at Twitch) and no reservations (Stefan at Twitch). Sounds like Jet Li's record paycheck has been earned. Too bad we don't have any word on a North American distribution deal.