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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best war movie in years, from East or West
Feng Xiaogang's Assembly has drawn several comparisons, not least of which is Saving Private Ryan. However, due to the cultural vantage point one often views Chinese Cinema through, it should be taken on its own merits as a war movie, rather than the all too common approach of labeling a Chinese movie as "China's answer to..."
Assembly is a unique war movie that...
Published on 7 Feb. 2011 by Adrian J. Smith

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mmmmmmmmmm
Can't argue with the service which was prompt, just the quality of the film. I have been burned by these foreign language films before and i have again. It's no Battle Royale, City of God or City of Life & Death.
Published 18 months ago by Mr. S. E. Davis


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best war movie in years, from East or West, 7 Feb. 2011
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This review is from: Assembly [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
Feng Xiaogang's Assembly has drawn several comparisons, not least of which is Saving Private Ryan. However, due to the cultural vantage point one often views Chinese Cinema through, it should be taken on its own merits as a war movie, rather than the all too common approach of labeling a Chinese movie as "China's answer to..."
Assembly is a unique war movie that should be appreciated on its own merits. The most immediate comparison, Saving Private Ryan, is not without reason, as the cinematography, choreography, and visual styles are very similar, and both are very bloody, Assembly more so. However, this is where the appropriate comparisons, as far as this reviewer is concerned, end.
Set during the Chinese Civil War, Assembly is certainly no propaganda piece. No insight is given into the cause of either sides struggle, and the story of Gu Zidi's struggle is taken as the story of a soldier's struggle for the recognition of the sacrifices of himself and his brother's, not with any ideological agenda.
First of all, the battle scenes are very intense, and easily on a par (if not superior to) the set pieces found in Western Cinema. However, the action set pieces are primarily located in the first half of the movie, as the rest concerns the struggle of Gu Zidi to counter the MIA status incorrectly accorded to his 46 brother's who perished in combat. While the first half is a harrowing war movie, the second half is a moving portrayal of one man's struggle for the recognition of his brother's.
The cinematography is beautiful, with a contrast between the devastated landscape of the war, and the beautiful landscape of 1950s North East China.
Assembly is both a harrowing war movie, and a heartfelt story of one man's struggle for recognition. One of the best war movies I have ever seen, and a movie to be approached on its own merits, without the predictable comparisons.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Story!, 7 Nov. 2009
By 
:) "Knows" - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Assembly [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
A true story, gritty and honest and brilliant. Based on a true event about a small force of soldiers holding out to quite literally the last man, and then being forgotten. The only survivor then spending years trying to prove they existed and were not deserters. Sound simple but is beautifully and shot, incredibly violent and bloody, but uplifting too. It is Chinese, has subtitles, but it is brilliant, one of the best war films I have ever seen!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Initially just a gore fest, 7 Jun. 2010
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This review is from: Assembly [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
But after the battles are gone done and over it changes drastically to one of the frailties of an old soldier, though this drags on slightly, it feels raw and compelling even tear jerking at times.

The subtitles are a bit funny sometimes though and make no sense in English (I had no idea what they were saying in Chinese)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and thought provoking., 12 Sept. 2011
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This review is from: Assembly [Blu-ray] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
I have to admit watching this film merely on the strength of its trailer. I was a little worried that it would be full of Chinese propaganda. I needn't have had such concerns. This is one of the most gripping and thought provoking war films I have ever watched. Set during the Chinese Civil War of 1948 and Korean War and after. We follow Captain Gu Zidi, A soldier trying to gain acknowledgment for comrades who died in a massacre he felt he could have prevented. The battle scenes are mind blowing and some of the most brutal I have ever watched. It was interesting to see the point of view of a defending force after so many war films focussed on the attacking side's p.o.v. I suppose it would be easy just to write that this is the Chinese Saving Private Ryan. But the film is much deeper than that. It very much focuses on the relationship among individual soldiers and the brutalities of war. Hanyu Zhang performance as Captain Gu Zidi is outstanding and in my opinion one of the greatest acting performances I have seen recent years. I highly recommend you see this film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One for both those who like explosions *and* those who like stories, 20 April 2010
By 
D. R. Cantrell (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Assembly [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
Set during and in the decade after the Chinese civil war, the film is based on the true story of a war hero fighting for the honour of his company, who despite fighting to the last man to cover the retreat of their regiment, were listed as Missing In Action instead of killed by the enemy. It is well-written (and well-translated and subtitled too - including, amusingly, a few lines in English spoken by a Yankee tank commander during a scene set in the Korean War), well shot, has an especially good musical score, but is perhaps a little let down by the acting - although I'm sure it doesn't help that I was having to read subtitles instead of just watching. The lead character Gu Zidi is particularly sympathetic, as is his company's political officer, but the rest are somewhat one-dimensional. Overall, the story is touching, and that it provokes an emotional response shows that it's Good Stuff. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good fast delivery, 11 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Assembly [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
Good fast delivery. I thought the film was great. The first half is the war. The battles were well done, bloody and realistic, and I didnt really get a sense of one side is good the other is bad, they were just two sides at war following orders. The second part of the film is set after the war and covers the continued attempts of the captain to prove his troups were heroes and get them the recognition they deserved. After the raw emotion raised by the battle scenes this second half was a gentler but for me more emotional section and was very well done. One star has been lost for the disc itself though. Before the film you have to sit through several trailers that cannot be skipped. The extras are minimal with only a trailer and making of featurette.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Assembly, 20 May 2009
By 
J. Roberts "John Boy" (Bournemouth .UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Assembly [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
This video is in Chinese, but subtitilled, in saying that , it was one of the best war stories I have seen, the action shots are so real and the story line is one that follows the main charecter through the story, with a feeling as to what will happen next to him and that you want to shout at the screen to help him in his trials, get it the price is low , a definate watch again movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Film of Two Halves, 31 Dec. 2010
By 
Peter Thomas (Northants England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Assembly [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
I found myself changing my mind about the film, early on whilst the battle scenes are very well put together I did find the now compulsory shaky camera shots quite irritating and I almost stopped watching but the battle scenes are very strong and give Saving Private Ryan a run for its money as far as gore is concerned.. It must also be viewed in the context of pro communist Chinese propaganda, Communist soldiers good nationalist Chinese bad!! However for all its faults it is really a good and enjoyable film that is well worth watching. The second half whilst almost totally at odds with the all action first part has a really good story to tell.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gut punch combat and slow, slower and slowest civilian life, 17 April 2012
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This review is from: Assembly [2007] [DVD] (DVD)
Assembly is hard to watch, but in a good way. The combat is just so brutal and shocking. Even for jaded eyes that has seen pretty much all the war films worth seeing, the way the fighting happens on the screen will leave the viewer drained. After such a gripping and realistic opening to the film, my attention (and ability to care) was tested as the commander went about trying to find his old squad. This was because some of the scenes were slow and seemed to have been added on to give more length to the film. Whilst I can sort of see what the writer and director was going for, I'm not sure it was really needed.

The film manages to restore its gut punching ability in the final act though and it's worth soldiering on through the sometimes tedious middle ground. The emotionally charged payoff is well written and brings a sense of closure to the film's arc. Whilst it's very difficult to sympathise with North Koreans from a western point of view, Assembly does a great job of helping the viewer relate to his fellow man. Worth seeing.
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4.0 out of 5 stars very impressive story, 12 Jan. 2010
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K. C. Tong (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Assembly [Blu-ray] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
This is a very touching anti-war movie about a war hero, around a rather typical military tactic of having to sacrifice a small unit to save the majority. A very difficult decision for the commander but even worse so for the immediate senior officer, and perhaps outright outrageous for the sacrifical unit.

After recovering from the loss of memory from the trauma the unit commander, as the sole survivor, persisted in seeking the minimum recognition of the heroic deed of all the sacrificed soldiers - war hero designation rather than "missing in combat". This is particularly important for the widow, orphan, and old parents left behind - stark contrast between glory or shame, receiving government subsistence allowances or going starved. And yet it took many years before the persistent and even annoying (to the authority) effort pays off.

Really well made chinese war movie and excellent script without any of the political propaganda.

Region free, original Manderin dialog and optional English sub-titles.
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Assembly [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Assembly [Blu-ray] [Region Free] by Feng Xiaogang (Blu-ray - 2008)
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