7.1/10
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34 user 67 critic

The Children of Huang Shi (2008)

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About young British journalist, George Hogg, who with the assistance of a courageous Australian nurse, saves a group of orphaned children during the Japanese occupation of China in 1937.

Director:

Roger Spottiswoode
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jonathan Rhys Meyers ... George Hogg
Radha Mitchell ... Lee Pearson
Yun-Fat Chow ... Jack (Chen Hansheng)
Michelle Yeoh ... Mrs. Wang
Guang Li Guang Li ... Shi-Kai
Ji Lin Ji Lin ... Horse Rider
Matthew Walker ... Andy Fisher
Anastasia Kolpakova Anastasia Kolpakova ... Duschka
Ping Su Ping Su ... Eddie Wei
Imai Hideaki Imai Hideaki ... Japanese Officer
Seiichiro Hashimoto Seiichiro Hashimoto ... Urbane Japanese Officer (as Sciichiro Hashimoto)
Shinichi Takashima Shinichi Takashima ... Hostile Kempetai Officer
Xing Mang Xing Mang ... Young Communist
Ruixiang Zhu Ruixiang Zhu ... Japanese Officer II
Yuelong Fang Yuelong Fang ... Rou Ding
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Storyline

People thrown into an unexpected and desperate situation discover their capacity for love and responsibility. A young Englishman, George Hogg, comes to lead sixty orphaned boys on a journey of over 500 perilous miles across the snow-bound Liu Pan Shan mountains to safety on the edge of the Mongolian desert. And how, in doing so, he comes to understand the meaning of courage. During his journey, Hogg learns to rely on the support of Chen, the leader of a Chinese communist partisan group who becomes his closest friend. He soon finds himself falling in love with Lee, a recklessly brave Australian nurse whom war has turned into an unsentimental healer on horseback. Along the way Hogg befriends Madame Wang, an aristocratic survivor who has also been displaced by war, who helps the young Englishman, his friends and their sixty war orphans make their way across mountain and desert regions to a place of safety near the western end of the Great Wall of China. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

War made them orphans, one man made them legends

Genres:

Drama | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some disturbing and violent content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site | Official site [China] | See more »

Country:

Australia | China | Germany | USA

Language:

English | Japanese | Mandarin

Release Date:

13 June 2008 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Los niños de China See more »

Filming Locations:

Chedun Studios, Shanghai, China See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$55,760, 25 May 2008, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$1,027,749, 12 October 2008
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

About 10,000 extras were hired. See more »

Goofs

When Hogg photographs the Japanese soldiers rounding up the Chinese civilians from the first floor window overlooking the scene, many of the shots, and the black & white prints later produced by the Japanese officer are clearly taken with a telephoto lens. Hogg's range finder 35mm camera was not fitted with a telephoto lens. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
George Hogg: Shoot some hoops?
Andy Fisher: No thanks. I have to save my strength, I'm getting married on Tuesday.
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Soundtracks

Ji Wei Qia Qia
Written by Min Yao and Di-Yi Chen (as Di Y Chen)
©1955 EMI Music Publishing Hong Kong
All Rights Admin & Licensed by EMI Music Publishing Australia Pty Ltd.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Nutshell Review: Escape from Huang Shi
15 April 2008 | by DICK STEELSee all my reviews

So the posters have Chow Yun Fat's mug splattered in the center and given top billing. However, this is actually Jonathan Rhys Meyers' vehicle as he plays the central character of George Hogg, an Associated Press reporter who smuggles himself into Nanjing pre-WWII and witnessed the atrocities of the invading Japanese army. Inspired by a true story, this is about the life of Hogg as he takes it upon himself to do whatever he can to save a group of orphans he gets set up and acquainted with.

What of Chow? His Chen Hansheng, a communist fighting against the Japanese, gets relegated to supporting appearances, to give us some brief history lessons on the uneasy alliance between the communists and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists, as they only link up with each other to fight a common enemy when it conveniences both parties. You would come to think that, from the trailers, this is gonna be quite an action packed movie with Chow leading his group of merry men to do battle against the Japanese, but the movie employs a "fight another day" stance, and the central plot has nothing to do with that too.

And pairing up in the same movie after their Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon stint is Michelle Yeoh, only this time, they don't get to share any scene together, and worse, Yeoh's role as a rich merchant Mrs Wang gets severely diminished. No doubt it is clear that the prospects of uniting Chow and Yeoh together would bring in curious crowds who can't wait to savour the opportune moment, but alas they happen to be just the side dishes.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, joined by Radha Mitchell, fresh from her battle with a beastly crocodile, takes on leading man status, as the reporter who finds himself thrusts into Huang Shi, and into the enclave of 60 male orphans, living in filth, and without hope. Strongly encouraged to stay behind and take care of them, he becomes the reluctant and unwilling teacher, but slowly wins over the hearts and trust of the children, and hence begins a fairy tale like environment that seemingly is remotely away from the war in China, except for the enemy planes flying overhead serving as a reminder.

However, it's soon that they find themselves between a rock and a hard place, with the Japanese inching closer, and the Nationalists wanting to possess their land for their use, as well as to conscript those boys into warfare. Not wanting that to happen, Hogg packs them all up, and so begins the journey proper as per what the title says.

The events that unfold are just plain sailing without any tension involved, nor any excitement built up. It just flat-lines its way through beautiful environments of mountains and plains, coupled with treacherous snows and sandstorms, but otherwise, it seemed that their 1000km trek looked quite peanuts. What's more amusing here though is how the Chinese cast look so much more comfortable speaking English - I thought Chow has improved by leaps and bounds, but Meyers and Mitchell really sounded very off in their Mandarin diction, that you'll find it quite ridiculous that the parties they speak to, can understand them totally. Brownie points have to be given for their courage to speak, and give the language a go, though again it could be playing to character as one cannot master the language in such a short period of time.

At the end of the day, this played out more like a simple account of an event that had happened (of course again with artistic license taken), and the documentary-styled interview segments at the end while the end credits play, affirmed what happened and gave us some insights into Hogg's character, much more that what the film had portrayed. While the alternate title might seem to involve the Children quite a bit, only a few were given names and faces, and even fewer given personalities. Similar to movies like Schindler's List and Hotel Rwanda where the ability of one man helped save many, but this one lacked that crucial emotional punch.


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