Contributed By Melvin Lim
Billed as Jackie Chan’s 100th film, 1911 is suitably epic, given that it is also released on the 100th year anniversary of one of China’s milestones, the Xinhai Revolution. Produced and co-directed by Chan, it brings to light the events preceding the abdication of Emperor Pu Yi and the fall of China’s centuries-old monarchical system, led by Huang Ke Qiang (Chan), the chief commander of the Tong Meng Hui army, alongside its chairman and Huang’s brother-in-arms, Sun Yat-Sen (Winston Chao).
Vividly dramatized by the stunt choreographer, Chan’s grave and sombre treatment of the film is gradually parlayed into a nostalgic reminiscence, in line with its purpose—to commemorate the sacrifice of the nation’s pioneers during that era. The notion that “revolution is not about death, but rather, a better future for the future generation” is well conveyed without coming across too heavy-handed or propaganda-ish. Keep your eyes peeled, and you might just be able to spot Chan’s son, Jaycee, in one of the scenes as well.
You don’t have to be a history or film buff to enjoy 1911; Chan’s flair for storytelling will draw you into the tumultuous affairs of that era. And for someone who has built an illustrious career on slapstick comedy-martial arts films, that’s saying a lot.