@aaparallel, it's a shame that Legendary Amazons
was made in such a horrible way. To add insults to injuries, I'm a Yang myself and those amazons are probably my ancestors... or responsible for protecting my ancestors. Hehe.
Anyway, I just saw The Flowers of War
last night. Another film by one of the best Chinese director, Zhang Yimou and based on the novel 13 Flowers of Nanjing
by Geling Yan. How was it? After watching the acting of NT$30M Cecilia Chung in Legendary Amazons, I'd say any of the lead actors here deserved NT$90M for their performances. Ni Ni (the lead female actor) making her debut acting was better by leaps and bounds compared to the veteran Cecilia Chung. I just feel so bad that I still had to rant about how horrible Legendary Amazons
was. Moving on.
This film was a drama but not before showing us a couple of action scenes which I'll discuss later on. About an American mortician named John Miller (Christian Bale) in war-torn Nanjing (aka Nanking), China. Historically, this is set on the Nanjing Massacre also known as the Rape of Nanjing incident. Circumstances forced Miller to pretend to be the head priest of a convent for Catholic girls. At the same time, a group of prostitutes who holed up in the church cellar also wanted him to help them escape from the city. Bale was just so good when acting out scenes where he had to pretend that everything was going to be alright when he knew inside that things won't. You'd probably chock on your saliva trying not let those tears fall from your eyes. His character started out as selfish bastard who magically transforms into a selfless hero. One may think that's a tricky scheme to pull but then near the end, Miller says something about his past and with just a few sentences it all falls into place. Pretty nice subtle explanation. Huang Tianyuan who played George Chen, a 16-ish orphan adopted by the head priest was just dandy in his role. This is one dedicated kid, annoying in some ways but truly dedicated. He did some really emotional and realistic acting too. And then there's Tong Dawei, who played Major Li, the leader of the remaining defending Chinese soldiers. He didn't say much but his attitude was worthy of a true hero. Loved how he carried himself in the midst of the prostitutes. He is a major character but like his rank, it's not high enough. Nevertheless, I liked his character. And then there's the new Mou Girl
, Ni Ni, strange name if you're not used to Chinese names. Only on her first movie and she shown a lot of potentials. Given more projects, we'd all probably get comfty with her name like the other 2 Mou Girls
, Gong Li and Zhang Ziyi.
Yimou just won't disappoint those action junkies. Despite the fact that this was a drama film, he did inject a couple of really exciting battle scenes that's enough make a war-movie fan satisfied. The first battle scene was a straight up shoot out between the defending Chinese soldiers against the invading Japanese soldiers. Think Saving Private Ryan
's battle scene near the end. The human-shield shoot in slow motion was really something to look at... with matching emotions. And then there's the Enemy At The Gate
-ish battle scene. Pacing was dropped a couple of notches down, it's a brilliant sniper against a whole squad (or platoon or whatever). I'm guessing real soldiers would be able to point out some ridiculousness in these 2 scenes but I just loved them.
A word of caution, there are a few gores and disturbing scenes. But it is a war movie so these were expected. The one thing I felt that was kind'a of was that with all the activities going on, I know I would be physically drained. But none of the characters here showed any of that. But I'm just nit picking.
Conclusion... watch it! It's a film that wins movie awards.
Always look on the bright side of life.