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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 28 November 2016
A good understanding of Chinese history by watching this film one of my favourite films to date
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on 11 August 2013
The movie starts with a failed battle in the Revolution. The reasons why the Qing dynasty is being deposed is not mentioned until later in the story and then only in abstract fashion. Much of the movie concentrates on overseas Chinese money funding the revolution as well as the attempts to stop foreign investors from loaning money to the Qing dynasty. This gives you a behind the scenes look at a revolution.

The movie was littered with patriotic slogans and noble causes to the point it interfered with the smoothness of the production as a historical piece into a modern Chinese patriot production. The message of the revolution is of self sacrifice for the good of the nation and don't forget to keep sending those dollars back home. I felt lost a few times during the film and that the producers of the movie had less historical integrity than an Oliver Stone film. The attempt to make heroes out of everyone who participated in the revolution was over done. I kept waiting for them to cut off the emperor's head and parade it through the streets and then I got really disappointed. Seems the Chinese are not French. I could never relate to the characters.
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This film was made to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution or Hsinhai Revolution also called The 1911 Revolution. It was part of a series of uprisings against the last Imperial dynasty that of the Qing Dynasty. The starting point is the Wuchang uprising where Jackie Chan playing Huang Xing leads a small group to slaughter, but inspired others to become `martyrs' for the cause.

That is the historical basis for the film and the makers did try to get as much of their version of history across as possible. A lot of the reasons for the revolt were an accumulation of grievances and the out moded feudal system that still persisted by the Manchu minority ruling over the Han majority; this is not really touched upon in the film. What we do have is the work of revolutionary fund raiser Sun Yat Sen played by Winston Chao, and his efforts to thwart more foreign aid going to the Qing's coffers. There is also the internal politics and screaming self interest that goes on at the Imperial court.

All of this is balanced fairly well with lots of fighting that is done in that colour filter way to add realism and on the whole is very good. The problem here is speed and editing. Every time a new character or location appears we have small print sub titles coming up in both Mandarin and English. Not only are they nigh on impossible to read on even a large TV, they also appear for a few seconds whilst at the same time the other subs for the dialogue appear too. Even using the pause button it was still a bit of a chore.

Then we have the foreigners who are all cardboard cut outs and played by some D list drama school drop outs, they even all appear to be dubbed; which is woeful. They are presented as all detestable and rude whilst being smug and selfish, whilst all of the revolutionaries are shining beacons of self sacrifice and service to the nation. We do have some ambiguous characters but they get so little screen time that we do not get much of a chance for any intrigue to build up. Also the other characters, of which there are many, are all only bit players so little chance to get much in the empathy bank too. I feel they tried to cram too much history in and were unsure of the vehicle, so had a kind of action propaganda idea with a love interest shoe horned in between Chan and Bingbing Li.

This also appears to have been edited down from the original film from 118 minutes to 95 or so, and I have no idea why; you do get over 100 minutes of extras though. This was co-directed by Chan and he may have bitten off a bit too much, also it is painfully obvious that allowances were made for the Chinese authorities who see the 1911 revolution as the beginning of modern China, which of course it was not, as that was fought for a republic and not a centrally planned Communist system.

All of that aside this is far from being a turkey, it just could have been a lot better historically and even failing that as a film, it is too busy, too rushed and too ambitious with too many barriers to achieve that ambition. In the end we have a passable film that is part action and part political shenanigans. This has scored particularly badly on Rotten Tomatoes, in the single figures at present, but that could be because in America this was billed as a Jackie Chan movie, and it is not a martial arts fest, he only does that in one scene, and is trying to do serious drama. Whilst that is all well and good, I think next time he might want to let someone else sit in the director's chair.
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on 22 September 2015
I was expecting a lot more action but not realising this was a historical renactment of certain instants of history so for me I will be keeping it filed away for study, Having said that I did find that some of the actual facts had been glossed over and an interpretation of events was portrayed relying on heresay or conjecture rather than actual fact. So the story teller has taken quite a lot of poetic licence. It is a film that certainly makes you think about the stuggles and it did inspire me to do my own research so in that respect it was a gleaming success.
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on 30 September 2012
It is a panoramic history, not just in the scale of the scenes and the sumptuous period costumes, but the race through the history of unusually turbulent times in China. The actors have been selected for amazing resemblance to the real historical figures, although the acting is not always completely convincing.

The film has been made from a Chinese perspective. The people portrayed are well known figures to educated Chinese viewers, and the events recalled by almost all from school history books. For the western viewer who might be less well versed in Chinese revolutionary history the film will seem to move too quickly and with insufficient explanation. I recommend that you familiarize yourself with this period of history before watching.
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on 14 January 2015
Sun Yet-sen, is the father of the Chinese Republic.
Say what you want about Mao, no one has a bad
word to say about Sun Yet-sen. And rightly so...

Think Nelson Mandela, Ghandi and Martin Luther
King, and this is how important this man is to China
and Chinese history.... Sadly... 1911, is a very bad
movie of his life... This movie, seems to want to tell
us every detail of the 1911 revolution. All well and
and good, but we are drowned by facts, that makes
this a very dull and uninteresting film, that is told
MUCH better in other films, on the same subject,
like Bodyguards and Assassins, or The Great Revival.
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on 16 June 2014
Anyone expecting a Jackie C movie will be disappointed (though thy do sneak one short martial arts fight in for him) but it is a serious history film, as other reviewers have pointed out. It is visually well done but suffers from the problem such films have - how to explain what it going on without turning into a documentary. The battle scenes are excellent and a lot of effort has been put into details like uniforms and period detail.

But at the end of the day, it is really only one for history buffs who already have some interest in the period.
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on 12 August 2013
I love these more serious movies we're getting from Jackie now that he's sadly reached an age which makes his usual stunts difficult to do. Movies such as The Shinjuku Incident for example.
However, I didn't really enjoy this movie to be honest.

Jackie himself was not to blame for this I just felt the movie itself was very hard to follow. It felt as though we had a battle scene, followed by some political argument over money & funding, then back to another battle, more talking political debates, etc etc.
Maybe it was just me but I felt that someone going into this movie with no knowledge of the event in history would, as did I, find it very hard to keep track of what was going on.

Worth a watch but NOT a must watch for fan's of Jackie.
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on 13 August 2013
The film seemed a bit disjointed at times but overall an enjoyable film. Imdb has the running time at 121 mins but this only comes in at 95 mins so makes me wonder if it would feel less disjointed if the scenes had been left in.
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on 25 May 2016
Nice to see Jackie Chan in a serious role rather than a martial arts film. He ought to do more of these type of films to show his potential as a serious actor. Good film and definitely worth a watch.
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