Hoh Xil: Mountain Patrol (2006)



Critic Consensus: In a setting both visually stunning and cruel, this Eastern film evokes the epic spirit of old-fashioned Westerns.

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Movie Info

Filmmaker Lu Chuan, who wrote and directed The Missing Gun, traveled to the remote border of China, Tibet, and Uygur, to make his next feature, Kekexili. Lu based the film on a true story about a reporter from Beijing, Ga Yu (Qi Liang), who traveled to the barren, frigid, high altitude region of the movie's title. Ga Yu had heard about volunteer patrols that were trying to protect the endangered Tibetan antelope from the poachers who were selling their pelts to be made into expensive, fashionable shawls. The cold-blooded murder of one of the patrol members at the hands of the well-armed poachers draws Ga Yu to a small village, where the leader of the patrol unit, Ritai (Tibetan actor Duobuji), agrees to take him out on a patrol, in the hopes that a story in the paper will spur the Chinese government to take stronger action to protect the animals. Ritai is determined to find the gunman responsible for slaughtering the animals, and for killing his comrade. His determination gradually becomes a deadly obsession. Lu shot his movie on location under dangerous conditions, with a cast of mostly nonprofessional actors. Though the film is from Mainland China, it won Hong Kong's Golden Horse Awards for Best Cinematography (Cao Yu) and Best Picture. It was also shown by Subway Cinema as part of the 2005 New York Asian Film Festival.
PG-13 (for violence and disturbing images, brief sexuality and language)
Action & Adventure , Art House & International , Drama
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Critic Reviews for Hoh Xil: Mountain Patrol

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (22)

Breathtakingly beautiful, breathtakingly brutal and simply breathtaking.

May 26, 2006
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Much of the time, the movie plays like a catalog of challenges sprawled over terrain so forbidding that you can't watch it without feeling a steep measure of awe.

May 19, 2006
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

An epic story of white-knuckle tension in a setting of harsh, unearthly beauty, it's the kind of story Hemingway might have told if he'd made it to the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

Full Review… | May 18, 2006
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Instead of a laudable ecological crusade, the film feels more like a futile Captain Ahab obsession, with patrol leader Ri Tai (Duobujie) vainly chasing a poaching kingpin through the harsh, windy wilderness.

Full Review… | May 12, 2006
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

One of the most beautiful and disturbing widescreen epics in last year's Seattle International Film Festival.

May 5, 2006
Seattle Times
Top Critic

What is remarkable is that this film is based on a true story, and filmed on the actual locations.

Full Review… | May 5, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Hoh Xil: Mountain Patrol


A startling look into the true-life tale of the Mountain Patrol of Tibet who went through many hardships to protect the endangered Tibetan Antelope. Shot on location using mostly non-actors, Lu Chuan's film has a very realistic feel to it; almost documentary-like. While the film suffers from some problems structurally, the message and cinematography shine above these issues.

James Bond, Jr.
James Bond, Jr.

Super Reviewer


Kekexili: Mountain Patrol is inspired by the true story of a group of volunteers patrolling the mountains of Tibet against antelope poachers.

Director Chuan Lu does a good job at capturing the realism of this story, however the entertainment factor is quite low. It is not that this movie is poorly put together. In fact, it is far from that. It is just that the story is slow and depressing. The run time is just under 90 minutes, but it seems much longer than that, especially when the ending isn't all that satisfying.

The setting may be plain and barren, however the camerawork is able to capture some good shots, which alone is worthy of note. The film also does a nice job at setting up the so-called heroes, by having the viewer watch them go through all these difficult obstacles as they track down their target.

The acting is pretty impressive. Much like everything else in this picture, it is extremely realistic and believable. Duobuji stands out and carries this picture.

Kekexili: Mountain Patrol uses its inspiring story and realistic approach to impress viewers. However, fans of slow dramas and realism will enjoy it even more.

JY Skacto
JY Skacto

Super Reviewer


A resounding, noble story of the affair of poaching, majestically shot across the beautiful landscapes of Tibet. This amazing journey of honor and sacrifice is based on a true story, one that needs to be witnessed by the world.

Richard Franzen
Richard Franzen

Super Reviewer

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