First of three films about the People's Revolution in China in 1948. Each film runs around four hours. I picked up the two DVDs that comprise this first film for two bucks in Chinatown. Despite not being in English, I picked up the film because I kept seeing these films in one of the video stores I frequent and was very curious.(I figured I'd give the film a shot because I had to see how the propaganda was handled) Being unable to read or speak Chinese is a major hindrance when watching the film since its mostly talk. Generals talk, politicians talk, soldiers talk. Except for one brief sequence early in the film there is no sign of war for roughly 90 minutes.Many times when you watch a film in a language you don't understand you can get the gist by other things, motion with in a scene, attitude, unfortunately much of this film is groups of people talking in rooms or at tables, or in such away that unless you know whats going on you're going to be lost. I was and I hit the scan button. The battle scenes, when they occur are spectacular (They are maybe a quarter of this film). Its the sort of thing that makes you go "wow". Unfortunately the politics get in the way and you see the clichés creeping in, dying for the greater good, the red scarf given to a soldier and floating on a breeze when he dies, the martial music to bring home the point: we fight for Mother China. It gives the scenes an unintentional humorous edge. The attack on the factory will remain etched in my mind. For all its propaganda silliness this is a very well made film. The performances are great and the action scenes are on a scale only the Russians ever matched. If you get the chance to see this (for free-or two bucks) you'll want to try it for the action.
This is also a film for people who like bad hair- with Mao's hair piece looking like a shellacked helmet