Movie Review: Beginning of the Great Revival

By Zhao Kun Source:Global Times Published: 2011-6-17 8:55:00

The decade between the Xin Hai Revolution of 1911 and the founding of China's Communist Party in 1921 saw probably the most chaotic period of time in China's modern history. Now the epic movie Beginning of the Great Revival (or The Founding of a Party), dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the founding, tells of the historical background against which the party was born. The two-hour movie is noless chaotic than the period it's depicting. Co-directed by Han Sanping and Huang Jianxin, the movie stars dozens of China's A-listers. Even such big names as Chen Daoming, Zhao Benshan and Leehom Wang are only given just enough time for viewers to recognize them and get to know what they are doing in this expensive motion picture. It's fun to identify the celebrities in disguise, though it's a bit distracting.

The movie consists of sporadic historical events. Each one could provide enough material for a movie, much more than any single movie needs. With loads of stories in hand, the movie makers chose the approach a Chinese high school history teacher would like to take before a semester's final exam - a quick review of the major events one after another. Therefore, the film keeps cinema-goers busy rushing from one to another so as to get a clear idea about what is happening and what is about to happen next.

To better illustrate the complicated history, there's a lot of on-screen explanation with words and dates. It does help to understand the history but also reveals the crew's ineptitude in storytelling.

Nevertheless, each sub-story, if examined as a standalone, is not bad at all, after being packed with tension, action and star-studded cast as well as the majestic music. To avoid excessive tension in the movie, some relaxing and emotional moments stand in between the historical events and bloody battles, which contain a lot of gun shots, assassinations, chasing and screaming. However, these short episodes are so inconsistent that no one is genuine enough to stir the heart or melt into the storyline.

On my 1 to 10 movie scale, I give this hurry-scurry movie Beginning of the Great Revival a six.

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Posted in: Film, Metro Beijing

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