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China Heavyweight

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Award-winning filmmaker Yung Chang (Up the Yangtze) returns to China for another riveting documentary on that country s ever-changing economic landscape this time through the lens of sports. In China Heavyweight, Chang follows the charismatic Qi Moxiang, a former boxing star and state coach who recruits young fighting talent from the impoverished farms and villages across Sichuan province. Boys and girls are selected for national training centers, with the hope of discovering China s next Olympic heroes. But will these potential boxing champions leave it all behind to be the next Mike Tyson? Cinematically rich and intimately observed, China Heavyweight is all at once thrilling sports drama, astute social commentary and a beautifully crafted portrait of an athlete.

Special features include:
--30 minutes of deleted scenes
--Theatrical trailer
--Optional English and Traditional Chinese subtitles

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Moxiang Qi, Yunfei Miao, Ye Xinchun, Zhong Zhao
  • Directors: Yung Chang
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Zeitgeist Films
  • DVD Release Date: January 15, 2013
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,720 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
THE WEALTH GAP is emerging as one of the biggest political, cultural and moral issues of our era. Not only is America's wealth gap widening until upward mobility seems impossible for millions of poor Americans--but the global wealth gap threatens to keep world peace a distant hope. That's the larger drama that keeps us watching China Heavyweight, the latest feature-length documentary from director Yung Chang and Zeitgeist films.

Dirt-poor, rural Chinese kids are given opportunities at middle-school age to take a shot at wealth and success by competing in boxing camps. In 1959, Mao Tse Tung banned Western boxing for many years--as "too American and too violent," as we learn in the opening minutes of this new documentary. But boxing is back now in the new China! As you watch this film, you will spot dozens of American icons from framed photos of Muhammad Ali to the Nike Swoosh surrounding these communities. That rising public interest in China frees educators, trainers and sports promoters to lure children toward the growing sport.

That description may make this movie sound like a simple tale of Good vs. Evil, of Western temptation threatening the health and wellbeing of China's next generation. But filmmaker Yung Chang is a far better documentarian than that. Think of Hoop Dreams, the 1994 American documentary about poor, urban kids trying to make it in professional basketball. That documentary was showered with awards and has been listed, now, in the prestigious National Film Registry as an important depiction of American life.
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Format: DVD
China Heavyweight documents Qi Moxiang, former champion and current coach, as he goes to several rural China villages with Zhao Zhong, the boxing program director, to recruit those with the potential to pursue careers in boxing. It also documents these potential champions as they live life, train, and make life-changing decisions. China Heavyweight is a great look into Chinese boxing and culture.

This documentary has a sports theme, but delves deeper into the general culture of China, specifically those in the rural areas. It is a very interesting documentary, especially for those of us interested in other cultures and lifestyles; you don't have to be a boxing fan to enjoy this. It never abandons the boxing, although it does occasionally lose its focus. It's not a traditional documentary, as in it doesn't follow a simple structure, and is a little hard to follow at times; I say this because it never fully focuses on a single person and jumps around too often, and it feels unfulfilling. The training and the boxing is authentic and intriguing, and the final fight was great, although a bit underwhelming; this isn't a pure boxing movie like "Rocky" or "The Fighter", but it does have quite a few fights and is motivational, as well. I really enjoyed the training segments since it had a lot of variety. The music was also great.

Overall, I enjoyed China Heavyweight as it shows both the boxing (training/fighting) and lifestyles (family/choices). It does, however, feel unorganized. As of 1/11/13, this film is available on Netflix Streaming; I recommend a purchase for fans of documentaries and Chinese culture, a rental otherwise.

China Heavyweight has blood and violence.
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