The Founding of a Republic

2009 [CHINESE]

Action / Drama / History / War

14
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 32% · 500 ratings
IMDb Rating 4.9/10 10 3845 3.8K

Director

Top cast

Jackie Chan as Li Jishen's Interviewer
Donnie Yen as Tian Han
Jet Li as Chen Shaokuan
John Woo as Liu Wenhui
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.27 GB
1280*554
Chinese 2.0
NR
24 fps
2 hr 20 min
Seeds 5
2.6 GB
1920*832
Chinese 5.1
NR
24 fps
2 hr 20 min
Seeds 7

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by tomofsweden 7 / 10

A Chollywood movie?

A Chinese film, financed by the government of China, about the formation of said republic. This is all out propaganda. What is interesting is that it's big budget, and it's on par with the many similar American propaganda films (from Hollywood). Stuff like Independence day, Black Hawk Down, Argo and so on.

The acting is perfect. It's a star studded cast. They got all the biggest Chinese stars to do this. And you can tell. Both Jackie Chan and Jet Li have minor supporting roles. Their stars aren't bright enough to crowd out the better talent. So that's saying a lot. Great dialogue, as well. Anyway, cool to see a film like this where USA is the villain. While I'm in no way pro-Chinese. I do like variety and shifts in perspective.

There's zero soul searching going on in this film. In this film Mao is the best guy ever. Truly loved and respected by all who know him. Although Chiang Kai Shek didn't actually kick a dog on screen... you just knew he did off camera. This is a bad man.

I'm a history buff. So I've read biographies about all these people. They didn't need to do it this way. The Chinese communist party (ou tin the real world) already declared Mao an incompetent leader, and purged all his "henchmen". They did that in the 70'ies. So there should be zero contemporary controversy, in China, to do an accurate portrayal of both Chiang Kai Shek and Mao. But they chose to do it this way instead. Which took me a bit out of the drama. It's fun when the American ambassador is shown as a coward who doesn't stick up for his friends. Again... just nice to see, for a change, a high quality film that doesn't endlessly repeat the Hollywood messages of America's perfection.

They do a quite good job dramatising, what essentially just is, a series of talks where a bunch of elderly men negotiate at various tables. There is a lot of smoking, and talking about smoking. I never figured out the symbolism of that. Or perhaps it just was historically accurate? The film does get a bit boring at times. There's a fun segment where Mao has taken sleeping pills but needs to get to safety in a bomb shelter. But he's high as a kite from the pills, and has no intention of cooperating with his handlers, who end up having to carry him by force on a stretcher (not a spoiler, since everybody who knows anything about history knows Mao survived).

They do show some of the fighting. But this isn't a war movie. This film is only about the, behind the scenes, negotiating that later led to what became the formation of the republic. It spends a lot of time explaining why and how each member of the first Central Committee was elected. Which might be more fun if I knew more about recent Chinese history. Most of these names mean nothing to me. But it's pretty clear the viewers are supposed to be impressed. Which is another thing I like about it. Just like American propaganda films, it's shot for a domestic audience. It's obvious that this is shot for a Chinese audience, and only a Chinese audience. So they don't bother explaining, lots of stuff, you just have to know. I've read a lot of history, so I could mostly follow it. But far from everything. I did a lot of pausing and looking up stuff on Wikipedia. I must admit that I liked that aspect of it. It adds to the immersion, somehow. Despite it's flaws I did learn a lot, which I think is what's most important when it comes to historical dramas.

Reviewed by Thepastgazette 2 / 10

Communist propaganda

Communist propaganda that at the end of the film flaunts the names of the many 'emperors' who command red China in a dynastic way, following their families. After the year 1949 began the campaigns against foreigners, the destruction of books replaced by lies, and the killing of 60 million citizens.

Reviewed by Tweekums 5 / 10

The Founding of a Republic

This film tells the story of China from shortly after the end of the Japanese Occupation in 1945 when Mao Tse-tung, chairman of the Communist party met with Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek to discuss the future of the country, through a bitter civil war till the founding of the People's Republic of China and the retreat of the Nationalist it the island of Taiwan.

Given that it was made by the Chinese State and dedicated to the 60th anniversary of its founding it is not surprising that it shows Mao in a better light than he is viewed in the west… that isn't the problem with the film; the problem is that it is just too stodgy. There are lots and lots of scenes with people just talking about things that aren't all that interesting at times; perhaps these are more interesting to people who know more about the history of China. The film was further let down by some very misleading packaging in the UK; the DVD cover boldly announces "For the first time in one epic film: Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen"… they may all have appeared but in cameos so minor it would be easy to miss them. There is not much in the way of action and the majority of what there is features sepia tinted footage of unknown foot soldiers rather than protagonists. The cast do a decent job; Guoqiang Tang was particularly good as Chairman Mao; of course it helped that he looked rather like him. On the plus side the film was more even handed than I expected; while Mao was obviously depicted as the good guy the Nationalists weren't shown as the villains they might have been. Overall I found this to be a bit disappointing but certainly not enough to regret watching it; I wouldn't particularly recommend it unless you are particularly interested in this period of Chinese history.

Read more IMDb reviews

12 Comments

Be the first to leave a comment