I found this movie o.k. and superior by far to the 2nd installment of the Axis of War Triology Axis Of War: My Long March [DVD] . But to enjoy it you must have a vested interest in Chinese history and not mind the brazenly obvious propaganda.
Production values are very high in this series but it is let down by a seriously old fashioned script and not so subtle propaganda. The story itself is interesting and shows well the beginings of the Red Army and the rise of Mao's Communist party. Interestingly the Communists and Guomindang (Kuomintang) worked together at the start and their members fought in the same battles, albeit usually under the Guomindang banner against the Warlords at the time of great strife in China. Both followed in the footsteps of Dr Sun Yat-sen. What set them apart was that the Guomindang power was military based while the Communists looked for support of the masses, while they had more support with left wing intellectuals and history shows that is the wrong crowd when going to war.
So the film tells the story of how Zhu De and his 10.000 strong army joined forces with the Communists under the leadership of Zhou Enlai and in this movie Mao has a secondary role although his presence is strong and the movie ends with a quote from Mao about how nothing can stop the Communists with Mao and Zhu in charge.
For the large part the movie is confusing for anyone not well versed in this part of history. A lot of seemingly powerful persons come to the front and it is hard to tell them apart and who is who. The bright spots are that production value is high, as good as you expect from any good movie. It has fun parts, I real liked the parts where they had the songs, like "Brother John" but about how to bring down the warlords and rise up people instead of the normal text. No expense is spared in the movie and the battle scenes are large and powerful.
The downsides are many as well. Overt propaganda and really old style script. It ruins the battles to have people crying in highly and over the top dramatic cliché. Also the battles have little sense of direction, so for all the money spent they aren't satisfying for a real war movie buff.
All told I thought the movie was o.k. but certainly no more than that. It is possibly best suited to an audience that knows this history best, is open to this form of propaganda and is over 50.