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Tony Chiu Wai Leung,
This is an epic drama of the conflict between the Nationalists and Communists post WW2 in China and subsequent escape to Taiwan.
The good points. The story is engrossing. It doesn't try to cram too many characters in like some other epic Chinese historical dramas. There are several distinct stories that that involve the viewer. A Taiwanese doctor (Takeshi Kaneshiro) and his Japanese girlfriend (Masami Nagasawa), a Nationalist general (Huang Xiao Ming) and his upper class wife (Song Hye Kyo), and a humble soldier (Tong Dawei) and the nurse turned prostitute he loves (Zhang Ziyi). The production values are high and cinematography is good. Zhang Ziyi as the nurse acts convincingly. The movie shows the senseless tragedy in fighting a civil war just after WW2.
The bad points The battle scenes are way too exaggerated and this hurts the story. The explosions and fireballs are just too Tarantino huge for the 1940s. The romances are a too coy and cutesy and the some of the romantic dialog is painfully bad that it's comical. Zhang Ziyi and Takeshi Kaneshiro act well enough but some of the other acting is below par. Huang Xiao Ming Song is too preening that it is comical especially with the aviator sunglasses. Song Hye Kyo has this wistful look that belongs in Korean soap operas. The subtitles are small and in white so they can't be clearly read sometimes.
Overall it's worth a watch for the epic sweep that covers a tumultuous time in Chinese history not often shown on film. Have to wait till next year for the conclusion and ship sinking.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful.
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