Death and Glory in Changde
Rating *** out of *****
I am a fan of Asian flicks and the war/military genre especially made in that part of the world. Director Don Shen has a good feel for trench warfare and the battle scenes were good in this representation of the the Japanese battle to take Changde in 1943.
I could have done without Director Shen’s use of slow motion but as it is a director’s medium, his choice here. The close-ups of the Chinese combatants and the use of various tricks of filming trench warfare were utilized to the fullest extent, as the use of the machine gun, hand grenade, poison gas, smoke were representative of a director that knows his war subject matter. Mel Gibson could learn a thing or two by Shen as the deaths in the battle sequences were personal and the mayhem not totally overwhelming.
Sure, this film is not in any way close to being a great one, but I give the director and producers credit in not glorifying the Chinese in a way to turn this into a propaganda flick which would have been so easy to do. Sure, the Japanese are the bad guys, but in fact, they were a brutal bunch in the Sino-Japanese wars. Again, this film took place in the battle for Changde in 1943 during the 2nd war between the two countries. (The conflict is often termed the second Sino-Japanese War, and known in China as the War of Resistance to Japan. There are arguments that the conflict began with the invasion of Manchuria in 1931, but between 1937 and 1945, China and Japan were at total war. Wiki).
The acting is satisfactory. The editing between the trench scenes and headquarters scenes was an issue for me, somewhat confusing, going from a total intense battle scene to a less than interesting war room discussion. Just an observation.
Melodramatic somewhat to please the female viewers, this film none the less was a viewable and interesting one that held my interest.
Viewed on YouTube for free. Do not have this 2010 production. Four stars for the battle set pieces and productions values that gave this movie a look and feel of wartime Hunan Province of this particular war. All in all, a three star rating out of five on my Letterboxed.