Action, Adventure, Drama
23 September 2011 (China)
19 March (UK)
Directors: Jackie Chan, Li Zhang
Stars: Jackie Chan, Bingbing Li, Winston Chao and Jaycee Chan
Marking Jackie Chan's 100th film (or 110 on IMDb... Maybe excluding his early bit part roles?) is 1911 Revolution. Jackie Chan not only stars but also co-directs this historical war drama which is based on the founding of the Republic of China when the Qing Dynasty was finally overthrown by the nationalist forces led by Sun Yat-sen
I have to be honest, I don't know a lot about Chinese history or the revolution. I wasn't even sure exactly what the Qing Dynasty was. But this film also acts as an educational documentary as I now understand the history a little better... Watching the film still left me slightly confused, as I am sure a lot of other Westerners will be.
Jackie Chan plays Huang Xing and shares the screen time with Winston Chao who plays Sun Yat-Sen. To explain it in a simple way, Sun Yat-Sen is the revolutionary leader, and Huang Xing is his military commander. He will lead the greatly outnumbered rebel army against the Emperors Royal Forces in a bloody battle that will change everything!
Rush Hour 4
Right from the start you realise this isn't like any other Chan film you have witnessed. A few minutes into the film and Jackie Chan almost loses 2 fingers and the scene that follows is just as brutal. The Battle scenes are realistic and bloody, they pull no punches on showing the casualties and result of war, bodies are shot and blown up frequently. If you don't like films with war violence then this isn't for you as the body count is high!
The costume designs and sets are extravagant, especially any of the scenes set with the Empress and the Qing Dynasty whose sets and costumes look historically accurate and lavish. 1911 looks impressive and you can immediately tell it has a big budget, which it does, $30 Million USD which is extremely high for a Chinese film. The money pays off with the glossy looks and high end cinematography.
Costumes are top notch!
The problem with 1911 Revolution for me is that there is too much going on! It's almost like 4 different stories put together to make one film which is full of action and drama. All of this makes it a little hard to take in and follow. However there is some other aspects to capture your attention and draw you in such as the love affair between Jackie Chan and Li Bing Bing's character. Jackie Chan also has 1 realistic fight scene in the film so the original Jackie Chan fans can be happy, it's also a nice break from the history lesson.
In conclusion, I think 1911 is an average film, but not as good as it could have been. It has many strengths and is definitely worth a watch. Strangely, this film seems like it's more likely to appeal to fans of historical documentaries rather than Jackie Chan fans, which maybe he was going for. I like the way Jackie Chan is taking his career and I'm enjoying these serious roles, I take my hat off to him for making this film, but I thought Little Big Soldier was a better film.
1911 Revolution is available everywhere now on DVD and Blu-Ray.