Script is lame. Dialogue could not be more unrealistic. Even the battle scenes are over-dramatized. Plus, because Jackie Chan is included in the cast we are obliged to have a gratuitous, totally-out-of-place martial arts fight scene...
Performances are mostly woeful.
In the early 20th Century, China was in a state of turmoil. There's all kinds of poverty, social unrest, and recent reforms that were designed to help, have instead made matter worse. The ruling Qing Dynasty, at that time led by a 7 year-old emperor and his ruthless mother, are greatly out of touch. The power of this dynasty had been unquestioned for about 250 years, but right around the end of the first decade of the 20th Century, the tide began to turn, and a revolution to overthrow the old regime began to rise. And this is the story of that revolution.
The basic leader of the revolution is Huang Xing (Jackie Chan). He returns to China after spending time in Japan studying modern warfare. And, after seeing the sorry state his country is in, he feels no choice but to revolt, using his newly acquired skills and knowledge.
I really wanted to like this. It looked immense and epic and thrilling, and I'm almost always down for a historical drama. The film is supposed to have a run time of 125 minutes. For whatever reason, the version I saw was only 99 minutes. There's some deleted scenes on the DVD that would help beef up the run time, but even then, I feel like there's a lot missing. And for what is supposed to be an epic, it feels like anything but.
It feels rushed, and that's not good for a film about a complex and important event. Some context is given for the big players, major events, and all that, but all of the title cards are written in extremely tiny font, and flash by the screen all too quickly. Another bad sign. The film is apparently relatively faithful to the actual events in terms of portraying how it all went down, and the period details are quite nice. The film was given support by the Chinese government, but at the same time, the film cuts out some of the more sensitive and less flattering material that led to the revolution.
What I'm trying to say is that this is a condensed, neutered, half-assed film that is worse than it should be.
Like I said though, the period details, sets, costumes, etc. look great, and there are some decently done action scenes with good effects. It just makes me mad that you need a lot of prior knowledge (and/or excellent vision) to really figure out and appreciate what is going on here. Chan downplays his usual shtick, and the results are pretty strong. Joan Chen is also decent as the Empress Dowager. Everyone else though just kinda exists and does only as much as they're required. It also doesn't help that I struggled to care or get invested.
All in all, I'm unfortunately not impressed. This was a real let down. It has it's moments, but they're too few and far between for me to give this a higher rating.
What gives? I am not a Jackie Chan fan, like one negative reviewer, but I did watch this film finally, deciding to avoid the deleted scenes and watch only the film first.
A good move on my part as it turned out that the film is watchable whereas the deleted scenes do not provide the fact that watching one means you will be watching all of them plus the behind the scenes feature and the preview. No link called "Play All" because clicking one the first one means you will watch all of them, no ifs ands or buts.
Having subtitles on proved distracting as the spoken English didn't always match the subtitles and there were small historical references that popped up from time to time.
1911 Revolution is a sad yet fascinating look at the end of the Chinese Empire, the 1911 Revolution and the revolutionaries including Dr Sun the first president of revolutionary China. 10/10
The movie was filled with lots of serious and action battles, showing the memorable bloody moment where the elites were fighting for the bright future of China. However, typical chinese movie explained too much of the background, and the performance of Sun Yat Sen in Europe was overly dramatic. Also the over emphasizing the facial expression of Jacky Chan and other chinese who tried to sacrifice their lives for the revolution were overwhelming.
Otherwise, this could be a good movie.....
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. (2009) As the director, he did not create any stunts or scenes of war for the sake of pleasing the audience who are seeing more action from him. War scenes are created to tell the pain people go through in a revolution, just as what was mentioned in the film, 'Revolution is not about death, but rather, paving a better future for the future generation.'
This was a fantastic, action pact, war film, which takes you into what it war was like in the early 20th century, If you are a Jackie Chan fan, and you haven't seen this movie, you are really missing out!