The Eight Hundred Review By Jamie M MacDonald

An epic War film with depth heart and passion that is second to none.

“Heroes and Martyrs emerged from the War of Resistance Against Japan".

They are the pride and glory of all Chinese people, and the backbone of the Chinese nation. Those who served the country with loyalty, Yang Jonguo, Zhaon Shangzhi, Zuon Quan, Peng Xuefeng, Tony Linge, Zhao Dengyu, Zhang Zizhang and Dai Aalan,

The Fearless and lionhearted 18th Group Army “Five Heroes of Wolf teeth Mountain”, The Audacious and undaunted New Fourth Army “ Liu Lau Zhauang Company”, The Curageous and indomitable Northeast Anti-Japanese United Army “Eight Female Warriors”, The Heroic and Mettlesome Chinese National Party “The Eight Hundred and more,

Together with many unsung heroes, their spirit is a monument for future generations.

In 1937 the early days of the Second Sino- Japanese War, and on a greater scale World War 2, the Imperial Japanese Army invaded Shanghai, which became known as The Battle of Shanghai. After holding off the Japanese army for 3 months, and suffering great loses, the Chinese army are retreating. This is due to the fact that they are endanger of been encircled by the Japanese.  Lieutenant Colonel Xie Jinyuan ( Du Chun) of the 524th Regiment of the under equipped 88th division of the National Revolutionary Army, leads his men to defend Sihang Warehouse. They`re ordered to hold off the Japanese for a total of 4 days. In order to boost morale for the Chinese people and to gain time and support from Allies. What is more bizarre is that the foreign powers are in full view of the battle from across the Suzhou Creek. This is the last stand, to stop the Japanese from invading Shanghai. A suicidal mission that will see the Colonel, his officers and his men give their all for their people and country…

Firstly, I just got to say WOW! An epic War film with depth heart and passion that is second to none. From writer director Guan Hu comes the impressive The Eight Hundred. The film follows Xie Jinyuan and his men, not only consisting of his army but of straggler, and deserters that they pick up on their retreat to the warehouse. The film gives, or seems to give each man time for you to get emotionally attached to them. It must`ve been quite the task to direct such a massively scaled film. Also I believe this is the first Chinese film to be shot for IMAX. The feel and look of the film is just perfect, visually it is stunning. The first act of the film follows the ragtag stragglers and deserters that were picked up. Delves into PTSD and cowardice of the deserters, not shying away from the brutality of war and the pressure stress it puts on the soldiers. It`s surreal to see the men overlooking the creek at night listening to people go about their business, be it a nightclub singer, or the casino opening. One of my favourite characters is the professor (Hou Yong), he doesn’t want to be there (who would) and he does not want to kill. When they try and escape over the creek by heading into the tunnels under ground and through a tunnel. They see the enemy and are forced to head back. Such a powerful scene so grounded in way for you to take the desperation of what is happening. The second act concentrates more on the battle, the attacks by the Japanese, these are brutal when they happen, with a sense of realism, that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end and shivers down your spine. The Third act is a mixture of the battle and some political games entwining. It all comes down to politics, as said to Jinyuan “The Nature of War, is always Politics.

Without doubt The Eight Hundred, is one of the best war movies in years, and needs to be seen to be believed!

4 / 5 stars     

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