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1911, also known as 1911 Revolution, is a China production which marks two special occasions: 1. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Xinhai Revolution, which Dr Sun Yat Sen over throws the corrupted Qing Monarchy, marking the two thousand years of monarchy control of China to an end. 2. This is actor and director Jackie Chan's 100th movie. What audience can see from 1911 is not only about how China has come to its way today from the past, but also witness how Jackie Chan is taking a new approach in the types of movie he is making.
Generally 1911 revolves around the few main characters: Chan as Huang Xing, the commander who lead his army to overthrow the Qing Monarchy, Winston Chao as Dr Sun, Li Bing Bing as Xu Zonghan, a revolutionist, who is also a good friend of Sun and Huang's lover, lastly with Joan Chen as Aisin Gioro Lungyu, the Empress who son is Puyi, the last emperor of China. The storyline of 1911 takes place around the last year of Qing Monarchy before the outbreak of Xinhai Revolution, where the story can be split into 2 parts: Huang leading the army to fight against the Qing army, and Sun gathering the support of the Chinese overseas through donations to fund the revolution, and stopping European banks from providing loans to Qing Monarchy. In the later part of the film, however, it falls on how Sun Yat Sen appoints Yuan Shikai, the Prime Minister of Qing Monarchy, as the first President of China Republic.
For those who are expecting Jackie Chan to create something new with his stunts and comical acts, they will be disappointed. 1911 marks Chan taking a serious role in his movie career by telling the remarkable chapter of the China history, which can be seen as another breakthrough after his role as a Chinese illegal immigrant paving a better life at Japan in Shinjuku Incident. (2009) As the director, he did not create any stunts or scenes of war for the sake of pleasing the audience who are seeing more action from him. War scenes are created to tell the pain people go through in a revolution, just as what was mentioned in the film, 'Revolution is not about death, but rather, paving a better future for the future generation.' The movie packs in plenty of details about the stages of the revolution, which provides a good reference for audience who do not have much knowledge about the revolution, and the aftermath of the founding of the Republic. However, those who are seeking action in the film will find 1911 a bore than something that entertains them.
While it seems that Chan is the leading character of 1911, the fact is Chao's role of Sun Yat Sen takes a heavier role compared to other leading role. This is the third time Chao reprise the role of Sun, which he did not disappoints audience who have watched his role as Sun in previous films such as The Soong Sisters (1997). While Chen's role of Lungyu could have been elaborated further, nevertheless it is a good try to see Chen taking one of the leading role, since it is not often she appears in a movie. We can see how Chen brings out the agony of Lungyu, after hearing from the officials in the imperial court on how King Louis XVI was executed by the French's during the French Revolution, hoping that both her son Puyi and herself will be spared from execution. It is also delighting to see Jackie's son, Jaycee, making a cameo appearance as a captain, together with Dennis To (Ip Man 2, The Legend is Born Ip Man) as a soldier fighting in the revolution.
In short, do not expect too much action and comical appearances from Jackie Chan in 1911. More rather, be entertained with a new role Chan wants to create, which is something that is worth looking forward to in his career.
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