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My Kingdom

NR
2.8 out of 5 stars (4) IMDb 5.1/10

From the action director of IP Man 2, MY KINGDOM is a tightly-woven tale of two brothers' quest for fame, love and revenge set against the backdrop of the Shanghai opera stage during its 1920's heyday.

Starring:
Chun Wu, Geng Han
Runtime:
1 hour, 39 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance, Action
Director Xiaosong Gao
Starring Chun Wu, Geng Han
Supporting actors Barbie Hsu, Louis Liu, Biao Yuen, Rongguang Yu, Annie Shizuka Inoh, Alex Genneopoulos
Studio China Lion
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on January 31, 2012
Format: DVD
I had heard a lot of criticism leveled at Gao Xiaosong's "My Kingdom" complaining that its two disparate halves never really fit together into a cohesive narrative. The first part of the film strains for epic grandeur with its story of two orphans being trained in the art and honor of the Chinese opera (not the singing kind). One of the boys sees his family slaughtered in a political maneuver but is saved from imminent death by a wandering opera master and his charge. The three form a offbeat family unit which is threatened when their master is humiliated in a challenge with a Southern rival. The movie fast forwards until the boys are grown and ready to seek a form of retribution as they move into the popular Shanghai opera scene in the twenties. After this simple story is resolved, the second half of the film becomes a loopy bit of revenge fantasy. The screenplay twists and turns as secrets are revealed, implausibilities mount up, and characters have their ulterior motives exposed. It is chaotic (and tries way too hard), but at least it's fun.

Many who have unfavorably judged "My Kingdom" tend to proclaim the first half as brilliant and the second half as the weak link. I, however, tend to disagree. I thought that the introductory premise was so thin and contrived that I never bought into the dramatic substance of the plot. Heck, two seconds after the boys arrive in Shanghai, they are greeted by a street parade extolling an upcoming performance of the man who bested their adoptive father 15 years previously. Hey, that was simple. These two vagabonds issue a challenge to the opera superstar that somehow gets newspaper coverage and makes them headliners in a opera duel. Hey, that was simple too. Now they are legends! Wow, that's a lot for their first day in town!
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Format: DVD
There are certain practices in the long tradition of Chinese cinema that have been used by the most talented Chinese film makers and the least talented. Such as moments of staring up into the sky after a dramatic announcement, showy martial arts maneuvers, revenging a master, and trying to shove a whole life story into the first twenty minutes of the film, to explain character motivation. Sometimes these practices are pulled off well, heightening the experience of the film. In the hands of others, however, these tricks of the trade become the most painful of cinematic tortures. Forty-five minutes into the film My Kingdom, I decided it was clearly torture.
The story centers around two boys living in early 20th century China. Gaun Yi Long, played by Wu Chun, and Meng Er-kui, played by Han Geng . Yi Long is an opera student who begs his master to save Er-kui, after he hears him sing at the execution of his family. Er-kui is being executed with his family as a punishment for something his father was accused of, but of course, is innocent of. A few years later, I assume, the boys witness an arrogant opera master, Master Yue played by Yu Rongguang, defeat their master, Yu Shengying, played by Biao Yuen, in a duel. This means that Master Yu has to break his spear and never perform again, a tradition I was unaware of in Peking Opera. Keep in mind these people are actors portraying heros from Chinese history. Their duel is not of acting skills, but fighting, of course.
The two boys train in a mountain mansion with their master until old enough to go to Shanghai to challenge Yue, because all opera troupes with out of work masters have the money for mountain mansions that are built into the rock itself.
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Format: DVD
This movie was not as I'd expected. The movie started out great but that ending just killed me. It had the potential to be so much more than they made it. What a disappointment. I would definitely rethink buying it but it wasn't dramatically bad. Though I wish they'd thought the plot out a little better. The twist at the end was a little unexpected but nothing can make up for that "throw away" ending.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Very good movie. And unlike many Chinese movies, it does not have a totally sad ending where everyone, especially the hero, gets killed!
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