IF you are unaware that Emperor Hadrian formed an alliance with China in 120 AD then you haven't seen this remarkable epic film made in Malaysia.
CLASH OF EMPIRES is a action-packed drama tracing Hadrian's attempt to create a civilization based on Hellenistic principles stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific by means of a marriage between a prince of Rome and a princess of the Han Dynasty.
The Emperor dispatches a golden haired Roman Patrician named Marcus Caprenius to a rendezvous with Princess Meng Li Hua on neutral ground in Malaysia half-way between Rome and China.
But when Caprenius's fleet is shipwrecked in Goa, India, he is forced to seek the help of a Malaysian scoundrel called Merong, who claims to be a descendant of Alexander the Great.
In Malaysian history, Merong was the true-life founder of Kedah, one of the principal states of modern Malaysia, and his name is revered but shrouded in myth and legend.
In the film, Merong's efforts to bring Meng Li Hua and Caprenius together run afoul of Garuda tribes led by an evil shaman who has equipped himself and his henchman with amulets making them invincible.
The shaman raises storms to battle the Chinese and Roman forces and confronts them with an invincible army.
Merong, calling on his Greek heritage, uses mirrors to create an ARCHIMEDES HEAT RAY which incinerates Garuda naval vessels and even some of the sailors.
But the evil shaman blots out the sun, making the mirrors useless. Just when things literally look darkest, reinforcements arrive in the form of a combined Roman-Chinese naval flotilla to save the day.
Merong fulfills his destiny as founder of a noble Malay nation, and the alliance between Rome and China is sealed by matrimony.
Romance, martial-arts fight scenes and lots of CGI effects made this film a big-budget blockbuster in Malaysia. It is definitely the most arcane film you are ever likely to see about Hadrian ... who even makes a brief cameo at the beginning of this trailer:
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