Riding with Company for Thousands of Miles
Children of Hueng Shi (2008) **1/2
Caught this one a little while ago. I was a bit disappointed, though i
wasn't really expecting too much I suppose to begin with. The story
follows the true adventures of British journalist George Hogg during
WWII in China, who witnessed atrocities at the hands of Imperial Japan.
Hogg eventually ends up at a school, where he reluctantly, of course,
becomes attached to the children. Hogg, played by Jonathan Rhys-Meyers,
along with the help of an Austrailian Nurse (Mitchell) and a Chinese
Communist (Yun-Fat) leads sixty children on a thousand mile journey
across China's mountains to safety, away from invading Japanese forces.
The technical quality of the film-making is solid - as is to be
expected from Spottiswoode. However, it also carries the usual
Spottiswoode flaws - namely more expositional dialogue than you can
shake a stick at and convenient contrivances throughout. I enjoyed
Spottiswoode's previous film, the far superior Shake Hands with the
Devil (which itself it not without his usual faults), but I just
couldn't get into this one. The dialogue is too heavy handed and half
of it is dedicated to delivering a history lesson. Spottiswoode's
desire to inform is certainly admirable, and the story and the
background history certainly are worthy of telling. Nevertheless,
attempting to deliver both in depth is a recipe for failure. The acting
is for the most part fine: Yun-Fat delivers a fine performance, as does
Rhys-Meyers, who I think someday will likely deliver an amazing
rendering of a psychopath (the eyes!). Overall, I can't quite recommend
it, and my review may be slightly off as I don't remember it very well
(which may actually justify my review). I wouldn't however tell you to
avoid it. I'll probably rewatch it someday myself just to see how this
review stacks up..
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i like it is very interesting.
aysxdcfvgbhnjmk, watch The Pelican And The Snipe movie
a good movie, I want see it.
inuyasharules32 watch Show People movie
its action so it has to be good.
ahmad110 watch Unfinished Life, An movie
ACTIVE N KUNG FU GOOD.
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Be forewarned: This is not a film for the historical-minded
"The Japanese are not savages," insists George Hogg(Jonathan Rhys
Meyers)to a fellow photo-journalist, while from their vehicle, we see
refugees traverse the Nanking roadsides and the Japanese soldiers who
keep the Chinese capital under siege. Both men find themselves in this
foreign land on a mission to substantiate reports about a massacre.
When George finds himself separated from his colleague, he witnesses a
group of Chinese men and women being gunned down mass execution style.
Although "The Children of Huang Shi" doesn't whitewash the violence
that went down in Nanking, the filmmaker does temper the killing to a
degree, in which ethnic cleansing never becomes the subject of the
film. If you're expecting an adaptation of Iris Chang's "The Rape of
Nanking", you'll be sorely disappointed. When our story begins, the
massacre is over and done with. Since "The Children of Huang Shi"
withholds from its audience the number of Chinese people involved in
the slaughter, this enables the filmmaker to portray the Japanese as
In one scene, George convinces an army general to call off his troops
from searching for weapons at a random check-point. The filmmaker wants
us to believe that the Japanese official would care about his soldiers
contaminating the sterilized medical supplies meant for the sick and
injured Chinese people. This show of clemency is downright laughable.
In "The Rape of Nanking", Chang details instances in which women's
babies were ripped out of their wombs, young girls being raped, while
the city was reduced to rubble, and its people, literally, chopped into
pieces. Later in the film, a Japanese soldier discovers the hat of a
comrade placed on the head of a Chinese boy. George explains that the
orphan found the hat on the ground during their sojourn. Even worse,
one of the older boys points his gun at the Japanese contingent.
Incredibly, an exchange of gunfire is averted, even though the
historical record shows that the Japanese soldier had no qualms about
aiming their guns at children.
But let's be fair. Along with the HBO documentary "Nanking", the story
of Japan's war crimes are finally being told to a western audience.
It's about time. Although the orphans don't get enough credit for their
own survival, George Hogg is deserving of the accolades that his
self-evident heroism brought him. But just in case the audience fails
to recognize what this man accomplished, Mrs. Wang, an opium dealer,
tells George how wonderful he is. Lee(Radha Mitchell) seconds that
emotion. She had her doubts when the nurse assigned George to the
orphanage. And then there's the real-life survivors who offer their
testimony about his greatness during the closing credits.
The film never proves that the Japanese are savages, but Lee was in
Nanking during the siege. If the audience knew about the nature of the
attack, Lee's disproportionate anger over George's redecorating efforts
on her living quarters, which inspires the nurse to storm out of the
orphanage, would make this British woman completely insufferable.
The less you know about "The Rape of Nanking", the better..