If you like your war movies epic, expansive and downright incredible, then its time to watch The Battle At Lake Changjin. Directors Tsui Hark, Dante Lam & Chen Kaige bring this $200 million movie with a equally epic run time to match (Just shy of 3 hours). Relentless action, explosions and heart. The Battle At Lake Changjin places its marker for one of the best big screen war movies.
Chinese soldiers won the battle at Lake Changjin (also known as battle of Chosin Reservoir) in extreme weather conditions. The fight between the United States and China, which took place from November 27 to December 24 in 1950.
Commissioned by the propaganda department of the Chinese Communist Party as part of the Party’s 100th anniversary celebrations, The Battle Of Lake Changjin is shameless in it’s jingoism, however no worse than anything its western counterparts have ever produced. That aside, The Battle At Lake Changjin is as previous. Mentioned epic in scale and fantastic with its execution of the story and action. Starring Wu Jing and Jackson Yee as brothers in the People’s Liberation Army fighting together against insurmountable odds against a better equipped and better fed American army who despite warnings crossed the 38th Parallel and then faced a Zulu Dawn type onslaught from the PLA.
The film not only circles around the massive battles complete with explosions even Michael Bay would be proud of, but the central characters, family fighting together, fighting to stay alive and fighting for their country. While nearly three hours, the films moves at a canter so the story or action never slows down long enough to give you a break without blowing something or someone up.
If there’s any complaint it would be that a film with this sizeable budget, they could have done a lot more with the CGi, which at times is so strikingly bad, it becomes jarring enough to take you right out of the story. Couple that with some seriously hammy overacting from the foreign cast most notably Kevin Lee and John F. Cruz you literally yearn for heroes of China to end it as soon as they can.
However, The Battle At Lake Changjin, is a excellent war movie from the other side of the fence, it pulls no punches with the war is hell on both sides of the battleground, but overall there is enough here to enjoy and keeps you hanging on every bullet, every potato eaten and you’ll be holding your breath every time a American fighter plane swoops down to make this a very engaging experience. With the sequel released earlier this year in China already amassing over $100 million at the box office, you will soon realise what impact this film has had.