I just watched this DVD that I checked out from my local library. I was surprised that this film's rating is so low, Some of the Hollywood movies which have higher ratings are actually no better than this one. Therefore, I am rating it a 10. I didn't plan to write a comment, since there is only one bad comment, therefore, I am compelled to write down my review. I don't know anything about the director, but his skill is just as good as Steven Spielburg. I am very impressed. This truly is an epic war film. It is a pity that not many people have seen it.
There are not many people in the west knew about the eight years of anti-Japanese invasion war which happened in China during world war II, that is probably the reason why this film's rating is so low on here. After all, if you are not interested or don't know much about that part of history, then it would be hard for you to follow through.
The sound quality is very good if you have home theater system. And the score/music is excellent, it has the typical Hollywood epic war film taste if not better. That is very impressive. I have seen quite a few Chinese war films before which typically have some mediocre scores, but this one has the best score so far. When one sees soldiers got killed by the Japanese invaders with that dramatic music in the background, it makes one want to cry.
And the special effect is excellent, it is as good as "Saving private Ryan" if not better. You can see human body parts being blown away, a live Japanese soldier being forced to jump into the fire, a person crushed by a tank, people got cut by sharp knives, etc.
The cinematography is also excellent. The actors were also very good. I am very impressed by the short appearance of "Tony Leung Ka Fai", he is an Hongkong actor. He has never experienced what it was like during world war II in China, but his performance was solid. It made you believe as if he was really one of the officers in the communist army. I don't think that he has ever lived in mainland China for a long time, but he knows how to act as a mainlander. And his performance in the film called "Changhen ge" was also very good. He is such a versatile actor. The other actors were also very good, they let you forget that they were just acting, such as "Wang Wufu" as the Chinese leader "Zhu De". I was very impressed by the speech which he delivered at the beginning of the film. Unlike those typical Chinese communist propaganda, it actually sounds real, and elicits deep emotions from the audiences.
Almost all the previous anti-Japanese movies made from mainland China always concentrate on telling the audiences how good the Chinese communist party was, how its army was fighting hard against Japanese invaders while the kuomintang (nationalist) army was trying to run away from the enemy. This movie is different, it actually showed some heroic nationalist officers. Some of the kuomintang officers actually look normal, don't have the typical evil looks that you normally see in mainland Chinese movies. Also it has very few cliché. There was only one which an communist army officer got killed during a battle.
One minor thing, one of the soldiers guarding in front of "Zhu De"s room looks too cute, he looks more like a pop star instead of a soldier from a small rural town. His lips look so red, teeth look so white. Then Zhu De put the soldier's hands inside of his jacket to warm the soldier's hands, that seemed very fake.
Of course, most of the film is concentrated on telling audiences how brave the communist army was, it spent very little time on how the nationalist army was fighting their part of war. However, it actually had a scene of which a nationalist army commander fighting with other soldiers in the front line until he was killed. That kind of historical fact was never included in any mainland Chinese movies before. So that is a big improvement. Now that the Chinese nationalist party is only active in Taiwan, and due to their limited resources, they can never make an epic movie like this. I only hope that maybe one day when the communist party of China will no longer be the only political party in China, then someone can make another big epic movie such as this that will tell the other side of story of how the nationalist army fought during the eight long years of war against the Japanese invaders.
I typically don't write very long reviews, but this one truly touched my heart.
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