The 100th film with Jackie Chan is a film that most people wouldn’t expect to see his name attached too. The country is in Chaos, the rebels are being slaughtered but taking out the enemy for the cause to gain Nationalism and end the evil Qing Dynasty. – No propaganda is used in the film which surprised me, as most warfilms Iahve viewed this year has been chock full of it. The movie moves into action very quickly, and Jackie Chan’s role as the 8 fingered general is so very well suited, a very important historical figure but not as important as Winston Chao’s Dr. Sun, the leader and idealist / strategist of the rebellion.
Sun yat-sen is the main character but Jackie Chan does get to be more than just an action figure. If you want to more about this period of Chinese this would be the movie to spur you on or illustrate better what was going on in China at this time. The political insulation and bureaucratic “plaque” built up for Chinese emperors is difficult to imagine. With occasional changes of dynasty through warfare, the concept of divine royalty had governed China for 2,000 years. I thought that 1911 showed this adequately.If you couldn’t tell, I was definitely more interested in the history of the film then the actual film itself. Sure, there are some good bits and pieces, but Jackie Chan misses the mark in directing a patriotic version of a history lesson, rather than a movie experience.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed certain parts of this film with some superb performances from the main cast. But for the most part it was distinctly average verging on boring, with the typical color filtering for battle scenes, you are treated with the usual grittiness of war. It is very apparent you are supposed to feel the up welling of emotion as men and women sacrificed their lives. For those who are expecting Jackie Chan to create something new with his stunts and comical acts, they will be disappointed. 1911 marks Chan taking a serious role in his movie career by telling the remarkable chapter of the China history, which can be seen as another breakthrough after his role as a Chinese illegal immigrant paving a better life at Japan in Shinjuku Incident.
I cannot sum up in words how this movie feels. On one hand the historical aspect was handled less than stellar but then again, it churns your stomach at the body count, it dazzles you with the beauty in how the chaos was filmed. I suspect that Jackie Chan fans may be most let down. Chan spends most of the time in the film looking old and aggrieved, with only a brief fight between Chan and three men coming close to the old Jackie we’ve grown to love. Still this film is a welcomed addition to Jackie Chan’s new career path.