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by Tony Medley
Run time 118
All through this
long, boring, convoluted, confusing, feeble attempt at an historical
epic, I kept thinking about Serge Eisenstein's long, boring, convoluted,
confusing feeble 1938 attempt at an historical epic, Alexander Nevsky,
which was a Soviet Communist propaganda film, trying to latch onto the
13th-Century Russian hero as an early Communist. I didn't think that
Jackie Chan would be involved in a Chinese Communist propaganda film,
but there it was in the final graphic at the end of the movie that says
that the Chinese Communist party is "following the spirit of Sun Yat-sen."
Talk about ridiculous! Sun Yat-sen was for free elections, a democrat.
The Chicoms run a brutal dictatorship; freedom is discouraged, to put it
politely. This raises a troubling question, to wit, is Jackie Chan a
supporter of the Chinese Communist dictatorship?
aside, this is a horrible film. It starts with a scrawl that is supposed
to explain what is going on in China in 1911 as a setup for what
follows. But the scrawl is in white and the background is in white,
resulting in a scrawl that is impossible to read. It goes downhill from
there, like being filled with innumerable unidentified battle scenes.
What battles we're watching is never told, and they appear throughout
the film like clockwork.
Worse, there are
long scenes of Jackie, who plays Revolutionary leader, co-founder of the
Kuomintang and the Republic of China, and Yat-sen confidant Huang Xing,
and other characters in the film looking and thinking. There's one long,
almost interminable surrealistic scene of Jackie walking down a bunker
with no sound but the audience can see battle mayhem occurring all
around. What battle is this? Where is it? What's the point of the
battle? No clue. But Jackie keeps walking and the camera keeps zooming
in on Jackie's face apparently to reflect that the man can, in fact,
All the actors
seem to have graduated from the Sean Penn school of acting because there
are lots of crying scenes, but nary a tear. Many scenes are actually
Zhang Li, Chan has a credit as "General Director." He should rethink
this and have his name taken off the credits. Maybe they can loop
someone in to play his character. This will do his reputation no good,
although there's not really much to harm here because he has a string of
rotten movies to his credit.
(Winston Chao) is shown as basically a Chinese doctor living in San
Francisco whose only contribution to the Revolution was to go to Europe
to convince the European banks to not give a huge loan to the Qing
Dynasty for the ostensible purpose of saving their railroad, but would,
in fact, be used to defeat the Revolution. That's a calumny.
doesn't deserve all the time it would take to point out all its flaws.
Suffice it to say that it's an embarrassment to all involved. Sun
Yat-sen and his revolutionaries deserve much better than this clumsy
agitprop. In Mandarin.
October 3, 2011