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Beginning of the Great Revival

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

BEGINNING OF THE GREAT REVIVAL details the historic events surrounding the Chinese Revolution - the period from 1911 to 1921 when Sun Yat-sen overthrew the Qing Dynasty and planted the roots of what has become modern-day China's Communist government.

The story charts the beginnings of the country's most influential first-generation leaders, including ambitious warlord Yuan Shikai (Chow Yun-Fat, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), who undertakes an attempt to revive the Chinese monarchy, Tsai Ao (Andy Lau, Infernal Affairs), the pro-Republic governor of Yunnan, Mao Zedong (Liu Ye, Curse of the Golden
Flower) and others.

A "slick and lavish historical epic" (Variety), BEGINNING OF THE GREAT REVIVAL stars over 150 top actors - including Daoming Chen (Hero, Aftershock) and Angela Yeung Wing (Love in Space) - in one of China's biggest blockbuster films of all time.

Special Features:

  • In Mandarin with English and Chinese subtitles

Product Details

  • Actors: John Woo, Chow Yun-Fat, Andy Lau
  • Directors: Sanping Han, Jianxin Huang
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: China Lion
  • DVD Release Date: January 24, 2012
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005DA16FA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,050 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John C. Marshell Jr. on February 19, 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was really looking forward to this film, but it was a disappointment. I almost gave it a two star rating , but that inclination was probably the result of dashed expectations. Three stars is only a little generous, so the reader could probably find my true sentiments somwhere in-between.

With a host of great Chinese stars, I imagined this film would be a great epic production with beautiful scenes and a driving plot. Sorry to say it, but this film truly missed the mark. Though the visuals were great, the film played like a string of commercials, very choppy and somewhat disconnected. Rather than focusing on main themes, the plot presents the years leading up to the Chinese Revolution as a series of small and large events with both major leaders and secondary figures getting their due notice. The result is a movie filled with sound bites of history, a story line of vignetts. The great actors in the film are forced to develop their characters with only a few lines and looks, and the viewer is unable to develop any empathy or connection with them or the events that are unfolding around them. The film never really seems to have a climax or main turning point. Though the May Fourth Movement gets a lot of screen time, it is not clear that the student revolt was the catalyst forming the communist party. When the party is formed, the scene is a half-lit room with tears and song and pales in dynamics when surrounded by assasinations, battles, and student revolts. This film simply lacks good story-telling.

The most memorable parts of the movie involve the characters Ku Hung-ming, Mao Tse-tung, and Pu Yi. Ku Hung-ming probably gets the best line in the film. He is a scholar with clear "old school" beliefs, and he dresses and acts the part.
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Format: DVD
Made from a purely propagandistic standpoint, "Beginning of The Great Revival" is a state sanctioned effort to commemorate the ninetieth anniversary of the adoption of that country's Chinese Communist Party. As such, it is a celebratory and one-sided event that shies away from any unnecessary unpleasantness or critique to present the glories of enlightenment. On subject matter and perspective alone, therefore, the film can be viewed in a rather negative light. And justifiably so. But being pragmatic, a film can be distasteful and/or untruthful but still merit consideration from a historical significance viewpoint. Take, for example, Griffith's "Birth of a Nation." Morally and thematically reprehensible, it still helped define the language of film and is absolutely a masterpiece--however wrongheaded and dangerous (and it was directly responsible for many deaths). Obviously, I'm not saying that "Beginning of the Great Revival" holds the same significance, just that I was willing to have an open mind and judge the film in different categories.

History (2 Stars): Granted, I knew that the film would present events to promote a certain agenda. I had still hoped, however, to get a perspective on events leading up to the formation of the CCP. Unless you have a preexisting encyclopedic knowledge of major events between 1911 and 1921, the film's structure almost defies you to take anything in. There are hundreds of characters, dozens of locations, tons of expository writing, and no scene in the first hour lasts longer than ninety seconds. Even if everything were one hundred percent valid, this is a Cliff's Notes version that has years flying by before you can put anything into context.
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I am a huge fan of John Woo films and even though this is obviously a propaganda
film, it is no less a great film. I enjoy buying Asian films from Amazon because I am
able to buy what I want. This is an all star cast who shined. I advise anyone who
loves Woo as much as I do, buy it.
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This complicated era of Chinese history is hinted at in this story. I sense some extra dramatics that spoils the film a little bit for me. Nonetheless it makes me hope that similar films come out that might center on the roles of a specific historical figure played in this era.
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