Saturday, 4 May 2013

Quick Punch: Revolution or movie pollution?

Hello to anyone who still here, waiting for new article – to be honest I was having troubles getting the right inspiration (that includes one nasty boss and a haystack of bad news), lack of initiative and my mind being occupied by storm clouds. Anyway, whining aside I’ll try to redeem myself giving you my next look over one movie, which I want to forget as quickly as possible and throw it away on the garbage dump like some irritating stone in the shoe.

When some actor is making his 100th movie, you’d probably expect some grand in scale and production piece, which might not be a masterpiece but would possess some qualities to entertain the crowd and fans alike. Here the situation was a bit different – when I’ve heard the title and the subsequent explanations and plot points it became clear that I’m facing a sad movie and ever more sad Jackie Chan as a general of the Great Revolution in China, when the last dynasty was overthrown and the country started new way of progressing and teaching how to apply republic rules in one society which had only one ruler to admire. A revolution and its major points and purposes might be good for any society which demands change and new hopes for the better, but here it smells of Propaganda all the way and to make things even worse the release date of this movie matches with the anniversary of the Revolution in China (100th movie of Jackie Chan – 100th anniversary) thus providing the Communist Party with mighty shield against any negative comments from the “bad” capitalists out there, by putting the blood crusting face of Jackie on a battleground. Clever marketing that is. 

"Where is my bottle?!!? - in search of something dear...
Well, as the Monty Python gang would say:”Get on with it!!!” – I’m going to try and give you more details on this picture, where I saw one big bubble ready to burst and stain my screen with patriotic feelings, flags in the wind, grim determination, deaths and sacrifice for a better world. But for a better movie – sadly this is one of the worst examples in Chan’s career and I don’t get his recent obsession of standing next to party leaders and supporting them in whatever cause they might make proclamations to the public. The plot is quite straight forward and do not provides for any twists and surprises whatsoever – the path of Sun Yat-sen of preparing the world and China for the new revolution and that of Chan (playing on of his generals), on their quest for saturation of the audience with speeches, battle cries and ultimate “Revolution Wins!” sign at the end of the movie.

"...and there we were surrounded by three monstrous trolls..." oops wrong story
 The whole plot was easy to follow (it even had a explanatory sequences after each long scene), the battles were tedious and unispiring, the emotions were only two kinds, the brave determination in eyes, and the loss of dear beloved people… All the characters were displayed as one-sided only, no other feelings were allowed but he above mentioned, the overall feel which dominated was that the Revolution is the GOOD and the rest who opposed were the BAD – choose your side and then Fight! (Round One). It was a pain to watch Jackie in his next drama role – he was way better as such character in Shinjuku Incident, Heart of Dragon, Crime Story even in recent Karate Kid, but here he is simply used as name to generate more interest and audience to see his 100th movie (as the sign on the front says). The whole scenario was going quite plain and quite simple from the beginning, after short gun battle (which was pretty quick) I was introduced to boredom and cliché dialogues, from time to time a few battle scenes, Jackie rolling in dirt and yelling commands to the soldiers, and after several speeches of Dr. Sun the movie ended. 

I guess there is no singing in the rain...
Oh – there was one 30 seconds action sequence with no relation to the main plot – Jackie simply throw some hands and legs towards imperial spies (not Stromtroopers) in a secluded place on board a ship and that’s it – why I was treated to such abomination I do not know. They should’ve been better without it. Let Jackie embarrassing himself without showing that he can put a 30 seconds fight into a utterly useless movie. It’s Pathethic… And I’m angry on myself for expecting something different here while the whole movie screams: I’m the Voltron of Propaganda – all who see me must obey!!! It’s completely forgettable experience for me and my brain – that was the only good thing about this movie at all.

The Empress and the Advisors - new remake
 If you’re into history lessons and like any revolutions watch it, but otherwise stay away from it – it won’t broaden your sight or change your mind and implant great ideas for liberation of the poor and weak – leave that to the Communist party in China, they will free us all. At least they are better than the comrades in North Korea – we are talking serious business here. What else I can say for this movie – it is sad, it is heavy on drama, it is grand in ideas, it has Jackie Chan in it, but all of the above does not make it a good movie, not even close – I would rated as low as Fantasy Mission Force, The Prisoner, and most of Lo Wei’s early efforts with Jackie – 1911 will feel right at home there, believe me. I’m struggling to squeeze more impressions out of this film, but my brain is stuck already, there is nothing interesting about it, nothing significant happened in the course of the movie, Joan Chen is boring, Jackie is boring (and old), Dr. Sun was unable to bring any charisma on his quest for liberating the Chinese people, the battle scenes were trying to get in the vain of the other war movies, there wasn’t one single character I cared about, all was I praying to finish quickly and to spare my mind. 

Another look upon the lost glory of The Forbidden city...
The thing is that I had to watch 1911 to the very end, where I knew what was going to happen, but was keeping a grind of hope inside me that someway, somehow all of a sudden I’ll see a light. In comparison “Bodyguards & Assassins” was light years ahead of this – it had more impulse, more energy, more interesting characters, more of everything, and even I was starting to sympathize to Dr. Sun when the killers were after him. Here I had to watch wooden performances by equally wooden characters, lead by a wooden script – lots of firewood to burn, let us all gather around the cozy fire place and sing together the Rain song like the Native Indians – it will sooth my sorrow and pain in the eyes inflicted by this so called movie proudly bearing the name and reputation of one J.Chan… 
He found it, it is not a bottle, but close enough
The final judgement is clear from 100 miles – it is one of the worse movies I’ve ever seen in my life:



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  2. Thanks for the comment - I'm not trying to share universal truth about those movies, instead I just provide my readers with personal impressions over some examples of martial arts movies genre.

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