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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - January, 2012

ARTICLE INDEX

"1911 Revolution" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Milton

movie-january-2012-1911

Synopsis

Dexterous martial arts legend Jackie Chan reaches his 100th film milestone with this historical drama set in the year 1911, as the Chinese public begins to revolt against the Qing Dynasty that has ruled the country for 250 years. As the child emperor takes the throne and his mother, Empress Dowager Longyu (Joan Chen), clings to power, famine sweeps the land and warring factions clash in battle. Meanwhile, the "New Army" beings targeting rebels and the desperate leaders of the Qing Dynasty begin putting the country's future at risk through rampant trading with foreign countries. When Huang Xing (Chan) returns home from studying modern warfare in Japan, he finds his homeland consumed by strife. Realizing that the only hope for the future is for China to take up arms and topple the Qing Dynasty, Huang enters into an epic battle that threatens devastating consequences for the common people.

Specifications

  • Well Go USA
  • 2011, Color, Rated R, 6 Hr
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Codec: AVC MPEG 4
  • 1080p
  • English and Mandarin 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Jackie Chan, Bingbing Li, Joan Chen, Winston Chao
  • Directed by Jackie Chan, Li Zhang
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

I laud Jackie Chan for attempting to propel his acting career into the more serious side, but this propaganda film fails to achieve “epic” stature because the narrative line bounces around too much. Due to the large amounts of dialog, I was unable to follow the story completely because the subtitles consumed my eyes instead of the grand picture. It also failed to capture my emotional interest. There was a 60 second “gratuitous” Kung-Fu scene thrown in for Jackie, but in the end, the story shuffled back and forth and leaves the viewer wondering if they should have just watched “The Last Emperor” in stead. America's eyes were turned toward the growing European conflict in 1911, so this films historical references may be new to many. Ironically, people will get this film thinking Jackie is the main character, but he plays a secondary role at best.

Technical

The picture quality was quite good with plenty of details. Colors were well saturated and dark scenes looked detailed. The CGI boats came  off as rather crude, especially the ships wake as it cruised through the sea. As a technical point, the German flag displayed in the movie used the wrong color for that time period and the lifeboats had internal engines (I know...I'm anal). Sound was well presented with lots of gun fire and cannon explosions throughout the battle scenes. The English speaking actors sounded somewhat stilted, but clear.

Extras

Nothing revolutionary here: Featurettes, interviews, deleted scenes and a trailer and a DVD copy.