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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Epic Movie & Great Performance By Chow Yun Fat
This is a beautifully shot film that will open up the life of one of history's greats to many more people. Chow Yun Fat puts in a superb performance as Confucius and the cinematography is spectacular. Although on the Cine-Asia label, who are renowned for their martial arts catalogue in particular,this is categorically not a martial arts films - although the battle scenes...
Published on 6 Oct 2010 by kwikxhexreviews

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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Blu-ray for average Confucius film
In spite of only giving this 3 stars, I'm not saying it's a bad film. It's just I think it could be a lot better with a slightly different treatment, e.g. a director's cut.

As stated elsewhere here, some of the subtitles - even though they convey very important historical information and signpost milestone plot moments - appear on the screen for only a fraction...
Published on 16 Mar 2011 by Dr T


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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Epic Movie & Great Performance By Chow Yun Fat, 6 Oct 2010
This review is from: Confucius [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
This is a beautifully shot film that will open up the life of one of history's greats to many more people. Chow Yun Fat puts in a superb performance as Confucius and the cinematography is spectacular. Although on the Cine-Asia label, who are renowned for their martial arts catalogue in particular,this is categorically not a martial arts films - although the battle scenes will I am sure, please those that enjoy immense scale action. This is definitely a film for those that are in to Chinese cinema art and that want to be entertained whilst finding out more about history, philosophy and Confucianism.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Premier Knight, Divine Sage, 25 Jun 2011
By 
Charles Vasey (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Confucius [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
This is a very lovingly produced version of the life of Confucius ranging from his roles in politics (including the Chinese pleasure in crafty military ruses) through to his wanderings with his faithful disciples to his return to his homeland. I cannot speak to the accuracy of the film but it certainly gave a strong narrative line as the exponent of civility of government is variously honoured, cheated and rejected by the ruling elites of the Warring States. It is not a short film and will not please those who look for Chinese cinema to be mostly wire-work and sword play.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Blu-ray for average Confucius film, 16 Mar 2011
In spite of only giving this 3 stars, I'm not saying it's a bad film. It's just I think it could be a lot better with a slightly different treatment, e.g. a director's cut.

As stated elsewhere here, some of the subtitles - even though they convey very important historical information and signpost milestone plot moments - appear on the screen for only a fraction of time. If you are not already familiar with the historical Confucius (I'm not) then this is a real wasted opportunity to let the film convey this information, without the need for independent research (or the need to watch a different film).

Still, what's here is sensitively handled. By which I mean, the film is not all balletic, epic fight sequences that I worried it might be (though there are one or two) and is mainly about politics and character development. Chow Yun Fat is great in it too. Not overplayed. Not overdone. A very nice, respectful, believable rendition.

As I say, I feel I missed a lot of important information throughout, so the film didn't have the impact for me that it might have. Lastly, I found the text put up right at the end of the film, kind of like an epilogue tribute to the legacy of Confucius, was a little overdone. It's not that it was factually incorrect (on which I'm not fit to judge) but rather that the film had already left me with a positive appreciation of Confucius of my own, so I found this a bit forced/jarring.

Lastly, the Blu-ray presentation is good. Crisp and colourful images and good sound (in the original language).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Confucius very good film, 26 Jun 2011
This review is from: Confucius [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Chow Yun-Fat gives a wonderfully rich and full bodied portrayal of the godfather of China in this thought provoking and emotive film. We see Confucius grow in stature and how his rise gave way to jealousy and his ultimate exile in his own land.
The cast gel well and the film score is beautiful and really compliments the story.
Battle scenes are well done but not spectacular but its in the drama that this film excels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A massive work about a great man, unfortunately let down by the lack of depth., 3 May 2012
This review is from: Confucius [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Confucius called in this film Kong Ze is played by Chow Yun-Fat. The actor brings to screen a great deal of gravitas. Chow Yun-Fat manages to portray Confucius with a great deal of dignity.
Unfortunately he is battling against a film that couldn't make up its mind. For a film about a great man which is meant to portray both his history AND his philosophy it did neither.
We jump straight into the film where half of Confucius life is already gone, we see nothing of what made the man.
Cine Asia label who made the film are best known for action films and as such decided to fill the film with a action sequences. Admittedly the cinematography is excellent but they tended to miss the man himself.
Chow Yun-Fat follows the Confucian way himself, it enabled him to bring a great deal to the film. Frankly he carries the film, what could he have done with a better vehicle.

All told it could have done with half an hour cut from it to make an action film or the same added to make a decent biography. As it is it sits in the Half-and-Half territory and does neither.

As with the other reviewers I had problems with the subtitles.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A film of substance ?, 8 May 2011
This review is from: Confucius [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
Although I was aware of the film, it had gone under my radar as it was not one of my top priorities to see.but when purchasing other films of a similar nature, it sprung forth and I am quite an admirer of Chow Yun -Fat as an actor...Crouching Tiger etc...so I thought it might be worth watching and Confucius seemed a more meaty role ,so I was intrigued to see how they portrayed him and whether it could be considered an epic.
The film commences with his rise to Justice minister in the Kingdom of Lu, a reward for diverting the assassination of the King and preventing the Kingdom been seized by the King of Qi..jealousy from other ministers forces Confucius ( or Kong Qiu as he is known in the film ) into exile, so he and his disciples wonder the land teaching and looking for shelter and a place to settle..Confucius and his disciples end up destitute and struggling to survive. However, the very person who forced his exile, the Prime Minister of Lu is dying, and they face attack from their neighbours. Confucius agrees to return home, but on the condition he is not sought for advise on politics or military strategy and that he can be left to his books and teaching and so the film ends with him sitting in this library surrounded by all his works..and you look and think wow.
So was this film epic? Well there were large battle scenes between the neighbouring kingdoms and the production sets looked grand ...though not on the scale of hero...and that for me is where it ends. I don't know any of the previous films by the director Mei Hu, apparently this film did pick up an award,
For me this was a watered down sanitised more biographical account ,which left me with no lasting impression and made reviewing it very difficult. Yes Chow Yun -Fat looked convincing as Confucius but that is the extent ( for me anyway) as to the depth of this great man of history...not the fault of the actor but the script which he was handed.
An opportunity to show the world a lasting and memorable portrait of probably one of the greatest philosophers of all time wasted.
Too much emphasis was placed on the waring kingdoms, and very little on the teachings of this great man, yes there were token saying laced in the script..but at the end of the film, I was left disappointed..This should have been a film of magnitude, that could have gone down in cinematic history..I had hoped that I would learn more about the man ,his teaching...I wanted to see more inter action between him and his disciples....this film should have given me a thirst for knowledge, and understanding..it should have engaged my mind and been thought provoking ..It should have educated me and helped make me wiser..that for me is true entertainment.
What a shame that one of Chen Kaige, , Ang Lee or Wong Kar-Wai had not directed , I can't help feel we would then have been left with a master piece and a film of great merit and Chow Yun Fat's portrayal as Confucius would have been hailed as one of the best performances.

Subtitles both Mandarin and English got confusing at times and the print went very small..which made film hard to follow at times.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Confucius, Hollywood style, 21 April 2011
By 
John Ferngrove (Hants UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Confucius [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
This was actually a very enjoyable movie to watch, being cinematically lush in the manner we have come to expect from big-budget Chinese cinema productions. True to the blurb, the large scale action sequences were suitably epic, but refreshingly brief, and not predominating over the political intrigue which gave the film, at least to one not too conversant with the relevant history, a satisfying sense of intelligent authenticity. As a movie it was clearly flawed once we moved into the period of Confucius' exile, which was depicted as a succession of rather loosely connected, and possibly over-sentimentalised episodes. In fairness it is hard to know how this part of Confucius' life could be turned into a convincingly unified narrative, but something more artful than this could surely have been contrived. Nonetheless, as I say, I enjoyed the movie and felt myself to have come away somewhat educated and, all things considered, was prepared to credit it with being a four star experience. However, once I started zooting about on the web investigating the background of Confucius' life, I was subject to a sense of deflation accompanied by a feeling of tedious inevitability. Search as I might I could find no mention of Confucius directing vast battles, perpetrating elaborate military ruses, or engaging in high-stakes archery contests at any point in his career. All my reading suggested that Confucius was strictly a man of ideas and letters, devoted to moral conduct and its application to politics. I can find no trace of the Hollywood style action hero this film attempts to portray him as. So, another star gone - three stars.

An interesting aside is the PRC Government's controversially heavy-handed support for this movie in its competition with Avatar at the time of their simultaneous release. Considering that during the Cultural Revolution the party line was that Confucian philosophy stood entirely discredited, it is interesting to ponder the significance of his present rehabilitation, and how hopefully it bodes for the eventual ethical orientation of the newly emerging superpower. Viewed uncharitably this film is Confucian bubble-gum for the masses, but its core ethics are entirely sound, and as such, it just might be the interpretation of the Confucian legend that modern China needs to hear right now.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth seeing, interesting and different, 11 Oct 2010
By 
DMH "music lover" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Confucius [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
For a Western audience this film has the disadvantage of being in Chinese with English sub-titles. Moreover the subtitles are quite small and hard to read at times. This makes it a bit hard to work out who everyone is, but as the film progresses the characters become clearer. The filming struck me as imaginative. The location shots use the vast distances and dramatic landscapes to very good effect. Lasting a little over 2 hours, this is a film well worth watching.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Confucius., 18 May 2011
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Great cast and acting, and superb photography. The brilliant Chow Yun-Fat has a remarkable physical similarity to depictions of Confucius and does the part great justice. The story is well told but I found some of the key moments of the film were not given sufficient gravitas to make an impact. My attention did waver a little. So on first viewing, a four star movie as opposed to something like Hero which struck me the first time I viewed it as a truly exceptional five star film. Having said that, after a few more viewings the film has grown on me, it's quite long but it's a really well told story. Chow Yun-Fat gives a brilliant performance.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A biography?, 18 Jan 2011
By 
L. A. Camy "Eastender" (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Confucius [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
The first thing to say is that I have only the sketchiest knowledge of the life of Confucius and so the accuracy of what is portrayed I leave to others. The other thing that I was not aware of was what Confucius actually taught. I am familiar with the Neo Confucianism of the Manchu period which based on this film appears a different animal.

The film no matter how many supporting parts and fine actors to perform in them (and this film has both and all are to be commended) any biography relies on the performance of the lead.
And this is where I had some trepidation in ordering this film. There is nothing in Chow Yun Fat's career to suggest that he was the man to play this part. His whole career in Hong Kong was in modern dress and his few ventures into costume drama have shown him ill at ease. I think of Dream Lovers and the 2 later films of Crouching Tiger and the disasterous Golden whatever flower was supposed to be the centre of the action. Also I understand he is not happy in Mandarin and this film both used that language and is a costume drama. The interesting bonus items made it clear that the director had reservations about Chow but because of his supposed lack of knowledge of Confucius. This surprised me because the one thing that had persuaded me to buy the film was the fact that Chow's was brought up in the neo-Confucian tradition and his whole life is a shining example of that fact. Chow is very much an actor who draws on his own emotions feelings and beliefs which had had suggested to me that he would bring insights into the character from the inside oc Confucianism and this proved to be the case
As to the film Chow is superb he appears totally comfortable with both costume and language and is able to express what I have mentioned above in a natural and understated fashion. His performance is the best I have seen from him since at least the modern part of Dream lovers.
So why 4 and not 5 stars? Perhaps to a Chinese audience this would be possible but the film is in 2 parts. Confucius's time in office and his exile. While the former is perfectly accessible the latter spends a long time telling the same story that he moved from court to court and was not wanted The way it is shown looks like pure indulgence by the director as a excuse to show her mastery of cinematography and I might also add is typical of Chinese productions where show is more important than substance.

Do I recommend the film? yes for Chow's exceptional performance and the supporting performances but a editor willing to cut at least 30 minutes from the present film would have made it a masterpiece
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Confucius [DVD] [2010]
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