Then we focus on the troops. It’s not your typical band of brave warriors. The Chinese army drafted anyone and everyone, including young teens. Along with the stereotypical soldier fighting out of patriotism, we’re given stories of young brothers trying to keep one another alive. Also present, under duress, is a large band of pacifists. These are people who’ve never fired a gun, never killed a person, but are all one bullet away from being shot for desertion.
The final front is made up of civilians on the other side of the bridge. Tall buildings give them a birds-eye view of the action at the warehouse. As the battle rages across the river, they continue with their lives, believing, hoping, things will work out…until the action gets too close for comfort. There’s a sizeable contingent of British soldiers who know if things get bad, they will be allowed to return home. The press has dozens of cameras (the old film kind) lining the rooftops capturing the action for, hopefully, the world to see. Also, the Goodyear blimp flies overhead, providing what seems to be play-by-play and commentary. It’s so strange to watch, but it really happened.
“…the entire narrative is loaded with action and death with needed rest breaks…”
I can’t help but make comparisons to Saving Private Ryan. The story is equally massive in scale. The violence is gruesome— with liberal use of CG blood. Patriotism not only motivates the soldiers but also calls into question why they’re there. At two and a half hours, the entire narrative is loaded with action and death with needed rest breaks (particularly for the audience) as the army recounts their numbers and figures out the next step. It’s almost like a horror film, as you wonder who’s going to die next.
Epic is an excellent term to describe The Eight Hundred. The vistas are grand, and the CG is impressive. It’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s not. The acting is decent, especially for a Chinese action film. It’s a fantastic World War II movie, the action is tense, and the stories on the ground are inspiring and heartbreaking. This movie is intense with wave after wave of brutal destruction. I also like that the ending is not your typical Hollywood one.
The Eight Hundred is a great story depicting the Chinese front. The film is a glimpse into what was happening in Asia while the U.S. was trying to stay out of the conflict as long as possible. I have a personal tie to this period as I have close family members who were children at the time of Japanese occupation. Living in China at that time was far from ideal and, in many cases, physically brutal. In fact, I would not be here today if the wrong side had won in the end.
"…Epic is an excellent term to describe The Eight Hundred."