Friday, 21 November 2014
Saving General Yang (5 Stars)
This film is based on real events that took place at the end of the 10th Century. The Chinese peoples at that time were almost as efficient in recording history as the Romans had been a thousand years previously. Compare that to the pitiful state of English history. From the 5th to the 11th Century very little is known about what happened in England. All we have is myths and legends.
General Yang Ye was sent to protect his land against Khitan invaders. He got cut off from the rest of the army, and together with a few troops he took refuge in an abandoned fort. A Buddhist monk gives his wife a scroll with a prophecy that he can be brought home, but only if all seven of his sons join the rescue mission. It's also stated in the scroll that only six of the sons will return. An 85% chance of returning home from battle is good odds, so the seven sons rushed into battle, not knowing which of them would die. Unfortunately they had misinterpreted the scroll. From what I understand the writing is ambiguous, which I need to verify with a native Chinese speaker.
This is the best Chinese war epic I have ever seen. It's much better than "Red Cliff", which is usually highly praised by film critics. It was directed by Ronny Yu. I've only seen three of his films, including this one, and I've given all three a five star rating. I need to check his older films. (The other two films I've seen are "The 51st State" and "Fearless").