To understand the important of 1911, is to understand China. I guess. You know how much they apparently love number symbolism, with the 2008 Olympics. THis movie was theatrically releases in 2011, 100 years after the events of the movie. It also happens to be Jackie Chan’s 100th acting appearance. Coincidence? Or Jackie Chan?

Often considered to be the Chinese Chuck Norris.

This movie is about the 1911 Revolution in China, which overthrew the last Dynasty (Qing) and lead to the creation of the Republilc of China. I think Dynasties existed for about the last 2000 years before that, so this was a big change indeed. Dynasties, however, are why there are so many historical Chinese movies from way in the past, full of war. So Dynasties, great for entertainment, bad for “freedom”.

Anyways. There are tons of characters in the movie. In fact, during it, a person will often start talking and on the side it will display their name and title, even if they are only shown once/have one line. If you are watching this movie with subtitles, it can be very distracting. Often instead of showing actual events, giant subtitles will pop up in the middle of the film, (usually when no one is talking thankfully) to explain what happened. Blah blah group got killed, blah blah happened, etc. This happens a LOT.

It was already a movie I was reading, so reading more wasnt the problem. Just seemed to take me away from the action. In American films usually that type of thing is only done at the end, to explain what happens next/after the movie. Not during the movie that they dont want to show. Just seems weird, like it could have been done way better.

Thanks to his goal of making it factually correct, I guess, Chan doesn’t fill it up with silly martial arts either. There is zero of that, but a few gun fights.

But that becomes the bigger problem. Boredom. It seems like a long history lesson on this event that, while important (maybe), just isn’t that interesting. A lot of the fighting was done with politics and arguing, and getting monetary allies. That is all. That could be entertaining, but it wasn’t in this movie. Bingbing Li played the other main role in this movie, but it didn’t seem to be particularly great, her role. There was a lot of scenes filled with people just yelling things at each other, as if their emotion went from dull to AHHH and no in between.

Bing bing
Here is a picture of Bingbing, you’re welcome!

Despite just watching a movie on it, and actually liking History (I majored in it), I cannot say I know anything more about the 1911 revolution than I did before. Well. I now know it was the Qing dynasty that was last? But uhh, that is about it. So I feel like having retained zero knowledge of the actual events seems to be another fault of the storytelling.

Hopefully Chan will get over his period piece obsession, and do something modern, if only to break up these films.

1 out of 4

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