I guess this is Communist China's version on Patton. So instead of being epic and exciting it's epic and long windedly boring. Not that it's not entirely worth seeing. There are a few moments, but you have to add your own jokes, like an MST3K flick.
Like the sound effects. They have the same cocking sound for every bolt action rifle, which wouldn't be too bad, except it sounds like a lever or pump action instead. That along with the sound of empty casings being dropped for fully loaded bullets, as well as spent casings, and a ricochet, that seems to be lifted directly from the Rainbow Six video game, used from everything from ricochets to cannons going off completely take you out of the film worse than every grenade in a Chuck Norris movie exploding with a big gas fireball.
There are other things, like the "Go Pee" scene. Jackie Chan is leading one, of many, battles in the film and a Vicker's or Maxim type machine gun overheats and seizes up. He tells the soldier to pee on it. Not that this didn't happen, but he pees on the jacket of the water cooled gun, not in it. Not sure that would have worked for long and it would have been tough to keep a line of soldiers constantly urinating on it in the middle of a battle. And speaking of jackets, poor Jackie Chan has to lead a couple of battles without a uniform. And it seems like as soon as he gets one he gives it away to his politician friend before he even sets foot off the boat.
That's another thing. Every ship in the film looks like a CG shot from Titanic. It's almost like this movie was made with a kit. Every sound and visual effect has a sameness to is. It's almost comical. Did I say almost? It IS comical. Almost as funny as the leader of the communist revolution begging the heads of the "Imperialist Bank" for money to help end Capitalism. Yep, that happens.
So, if you want to see Jackie Chan direct and star in a War Epic sprinkled liberally with comically bad effects, that lots of speeches, and the most propaganda shots since the Battleship Potemkin, this is the movie for you. Otherwise it's a little like the Chinese film industry's attempt to make the Last Emperor from the other side. So despite lots of battle scenes, rather than being exciting, its a bit tedious. So while I feel I understand their attempt to escape oppression better, they seem to have only succeeded in trying to legitimize the new repression, and in making a epically long winded film that would rival and political speech.
And speaking of speech. Jackie Chan has a very uncharacteristically gruff voice when speaking Chinese. Though it fits fine with the tough military officer character he plays in the movie, it makes it all the more surprising and funny when he speaks English and it's the same Jackie Chan from the V-8 commercials on TV.
Goes good with The Last Emperor, 55 Days in Peking, The Sand Pebbles and or Reds.