The domestic launch of this thunderous Chinese war epic was delayed previous 12 months for what trade journal Wide range explained as “mysterious political reasons”. It is considered the film displeased Communist celebration lecturers by portraying rival Kuomintang army officers all through the 1937 Sino-Japanese war in much too optimistic a light-weight. To an outsider, on the other hand, The 8 Hundred seems to be like a paragon of tub-thumping patriotism in its description of heroic Chinese troopers defending the Sihang warehouse in the battle for Shanghai. Like Dunkirk for Brits, the incident is noticed in this article as an honourable defeat, a minute to galvanise nationwide delight.
Director Guan Hu plunges straight into nightmarish battlefield chaos with breathtaking scenes of Shanghai bombed to ashes and burning rubble. The Chinese army is defeated, outnumbered and outgunned. The metropolis has fallen but a one regiment is ordered keep at the rear of to protect the warehouse – a symbolic previous stand (western newspapers termed it “the Chinese Alamo”). It would be miracle if these troops could keep out for a one working day against the Japanese artillery slamming into the manufacturing unit walls. And Guan goes hammer and tongs with the specific effects, offering stupendously, joint-rattlingly-loud battle scenes and combat sequences edited to the lightning tempo of a superhero film.
Across the river from the warehouse is Shanghai’s neutral zone – populated by a chic cosmopolitan mix of Chinese and foreigners, who to begin with observe the spectacle throughout the h2o whilst sipping cocktails as if it was free street theatre. As the 4-working day wrestle for survival nears its finish, the bravery of Chinese troopers results in being suicidal, as they strap on grenades and leap out of windows on to the Japanese troops underneath. But with so a lot rigorous focus lavished on the action, there is none to spare for the characters’ emotional lives, and it is challenging to treatment a lot about who lives or dies. As for the musical score, it ought to be cautioned by the law enforcement for sonic assault and battery.