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Cao Cao's Powers From Netflix's Dynasty Warriors Explained

Some of the "Dynasty Warriors" games have been worse than others, but with nine main games and a veritable horde of spinoffs, few can deny that the franchise is pretty successful. In fact, the latest thing to bear the name is no video game at all, but a live-action movie that brings the games' loosely history-inspired characters, flamboyant costumes, and amazing combat to Netflix.

The "Dynasty Warriors" movie focuses on an incident known as the Yellow Turban Rebellion, which introduces the viewers to some of the game series' most significant characters, and puts generals Liu Bei (Tony Yang), Zhang Fei (Justin Cheung) and Guan Yu (Han Geng) on a collision course with the dangerous enemy general, Lu Bu (Louis Koo). Amidst this all, a young, ambitious Cao Cao (Wang Kai) makes plans of his own, and ultimately, embarks on a quest to unify China through conquest. 

The movie version of Cao Cao is clearly a young, ascendant version of the legendary general, and as such, a significant portion of his powers go unexplored. Nevertheless, the film makes it clear that the character is no slouch when it comes to either fighting or scheming — and a deeper dive in his history makes it clear that he has far more in store. Here are Cao Cao's powers from Netflix's "Dynasty Warriors" explained.

Cao Cao is a master tactician who can handle himself in a fight

As anyone who has played a "Dynasty Warriors" game knows, virtually every named character in the franchise is able to mow down entire armies by themselves. Cao Cao is no exception, and he's able to compliment his eloquent, yet destructive swordsmanship with various supernatural attacks. As befits his seemingly cold, calculating nature, he's often associated with the ice element. 

Though Cao Cao's more than capable of controlling — and, if necessary, disposing — a large crowd by himself, his most dangerous weapon is still his mind. The Han warlord has a laser-like focus on pacifying the land at any cost, and views himself as a bit of a hero. Unfortunately, he's pretty much the only one, at least in the initial entries of the game series, in which he's depicted in a villainous light. This fits Cao's characterization in the 14th century novel, "Romance of the Three Kingdoms," which the franchise is based on. However, Encyclopedia Britannica notes that the real Cao was an incredibly skilled tactician, politician and military leader, and the later games have drawn influence from his more valorous historical reputation. 

Young though he may be, the "Dynasty Warriors" movie version of Cao Cao is clearly closer to the later games' complex character than the rather one-note baddie he's sometimes depicted as. As such, you're effectively looking at an impossibly strong and skilled warrior with magical abilities, an unparalleled knack for leadership and tactics, a strong vision — and, if his real-life counterpart is any indication, an army of a million or so soldiers at his disposal. In other words, Cao Cao is not the kind of guy you want to cross.