At the beginning of the 20th century, China is in a state of crisis. The country is split into warring factions, the citizens are starving, and recent political reforms have made matters worse, not better. The ruling Qing Dynasty, led by a seven-year-old emperor, and his ruthless mother, Empress Dowager Longyu is completely out of touch after 250 years of unquestioned power. Huang Xing has recently returned from Japan, where he has studied the art of modern warfare. When he finds his country falling apart, he feels he has no choice but to pick up the sword.
When a man shoots another with a bolt action rifle, the sound of the empty cartridge hitting the floor can be heard. The bolt had not been cycled, so the empty cartridge can not have been ejected from the rifle. See more »
The goal of revolution isn't death, but to change fate. Young people are sacrificing themselves for the revolution, so that the living can lead better lives.
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Historically interesting, but not a great movie
Made to coincide with the centenary of the original event, 1911 REVOLUTION is a film that celebrates China's rise from the tyranny of the Qing dynasty into the modern era. It's an unashamedly patriotic movie, with clear-cut heroes and villains, and one that seeks to portray a politically complex situation in a massive country, on an international scale, in the space of two hours. The resultant film is an educational ride and historically interesting, but one that falls down when it comes to the basic facets of movie-making.
The film tries to be both a gutsy war film dominated by explosive battle sequences and a compelling political epic, featuring scenes from both sides involved in the revolution. Unfortunately, the editing is quite choppy and the battle scenes, although technically proficient, end up disappointing as you're left wanting more. Characterisation is virtually nil; Jackie bags the best role as the rebellious leader and has a few great action scenes, but everybody else feels like a player in a historical drama, never really coming to full life as they should. There are lots of familiar Chinese actors in various parts, but none of them make much of an impact here.
It's a shame, because there's a film with a similar focus, set five years previously, called BODYGUARDS & ASSASSINS, and I found it absolutely spellbinding. That movie manages to mix in the political intrigue and dramatic backdrop of the situation while at the same time telling a rollicking, action-packed storyline filled with melodrama and excitement. Yes, it was silly and over the top in places, but I'd rather that than this slightly stuffy and occasionally lifeless production that fails to engage the senses along with the intellect.
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