When and how did I watch this?
September 25th, 2015, on Netflix.
Had I seen this film already?
What did I know about the movie before watching it?
Yet another foreign film. After last night’s feature, I have a growing respect for non-U.S. films on this list. They’re often underappreciated and far more memorable, as my wife and I discussed this evening. The film received several nominations in its country’s most prominent award ceremony.
What do I know about it now?
Typically, martial arts film follow a similar plot: the good guy overcoming the odds and beating the bad guy in the end. While this actually does do exactly that, the ramifications are far greater. Rather than the protagonist being all about winning, the story unfolds into a much bigger premise: one man representing an entire nation already under the boot of an oppressive Japanese occupation. We feel like he has been able to mobilize the entire people of China by the end of the film, and we end up acquiring greater respect for the man, the nation, and ourselves.
What are some themes in the film?
WWII, poverty, economic disparity in wartime, pride, rage and revenge, passive resistance, pacifism, class mobilization.
Did this affect me personally?
I was moved several times. It’s strange that action sequences allowed room for that, other than just being awesome to watch.
Why is this ranked #224?
People might see this as a cool action flick, and then the others that think more about the premise have ranked it based on its political significance, stunning cinematography, and character development. But even then, I think people are missing out on ranking this accordingly, because this is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.
Did my wife watch/like it?
She felt the same way I did.
Would I watch it again?
I could watch this consecutive times, and the effect wouldn’t be lost on me.
Would I recommend it to a friend?
Everyone needs to see it.
Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?