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China Heavyweight (2012)


Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 21
Fresh: 17
Rotten: 4

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 14
Fresh: 11
Rotten: 3

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 1,618


Movie Info

Award-winning filmmaker Yung Chang returns to China for another riveting documentary on that country's ever-changing economic landscape-this time through the lens of sports. In China Heavyweight, Chang follows the charismatic Qi Moxiang, a former boxing star and state coach who recruits young fighting talent from the impoverished farms and villages across Sichuan province. A select few boys (and girls) are sent to national training centers, with the hope of discovering China's next Olympic … More

Documentary , Art House & International , Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By:
Yung Chang
In Theaters:
Jan 15, 2013
Box Office:
Zeitgeist Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for China Heavyweight

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (17) | Rotten (4)

This ain't no Rocky, and your take-aways are mostly about Chinese family and social customs.

Full Review… | September 20, 2012
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Focuses on the stories of three boxers and weaves them into a compelling narrative that rivals anything Hollywood could script.

Full Review… | September 20, 2012
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Yung seems to anticipate real-life emotional beats and positions his camera at exactly the right moments, yet nothing seems artificial or scripted. The result is an unexpectedly tender film about the price of coming into one's own.

Full Review… | September 13, 2012
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The documentary is fluid, detailed and well photographed by Sun Shaoguang.

Full Review… | July 20, 2012
Washington Post
Top Critic

Perhaps by focusing on something that is so much an individual sport, Chang creates a deep sense of tension between singular people and the bigger concerns of history, the team or country.

Full Review… | July 19, 2012
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

China Heavyweight is an uneasy mixture of familiar sports doc tropes and sociological portraiture.

Full Review… | July 9, 2012
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Chang works within the philosophical framework of the world of boxing to paint a poignant and often incisive portrait of the evolving Chinese cultural landscape and the temptations and ambitions that come with change.

Full Review… | June 28, 2013
Film Comment Magazine

Award-winning filmmaker Yung Chang returns to China for another unexpectedly lyrical snapshot of that country's rapidly changing economic and cultural landscapes.

Full Review… | September 26, 2012

A useful reminder that China's efforts to "catch up" with the West includes a descent into savagery.

Full Review… | July 7, 2012

Although we never really get to know He or Miao, despite following them around vérité-style, director Yung Chang expertly captures the rays of Western culture bouncing off them.

Full Review… | July 6, 2012
Slant Magazine

Portrait[s] of the individual determination and nationalistic fervor that seems to driv[e] China to the top in so many fields surmounts the sameness of this universal story.

Full Review… | July 6, 2012

This vibrant documentary about young rural Chinese boxers has many of the hallmarks of greatness but keeps its subjects at too much of a remove to achieve it.

Full Review… | July 5, 2012
Film Journal International

When China Heavyweight goes all Rocky in a climactic bout, it feels like it's lurching to life for the first time.

Full Review… | May 11, 2012
NOW Toronto

Audience Reviews for China Heavyweight

Interesting although there have been more interesting topics explored by film makers on the modern China and quite frankly, there are more interesting boxing stories to potentially focus on. Nonetheless, it presents a look into the development of athletes within China and the key decisions that are forced to make.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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