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The Eight Hundred

  • Drama
  • Arts and culture
  • 2020
  • Guan Hu
  • 143 mins
  • 15

Summary

In 1937, a group of Chinese soldiers put up a four-day defence of the Sihang warehouse in Shanghai as Japanese forces overwhelm the country. Blockbusting period drama co-written and directed by Guan Hu, starring Huang Zhizhong, Oho Ou and Jiang Wu. In Chinese, Japanese and English

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Review

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

With the global pandemic closing cinemas, it wasn't a Hollywood blockbuster that wound up topping the box office in 2020, but rather this epic Chinese war drama. Set in 1937, three months after the Japanese invasion, the film sees a lone division of retreating National Revolutionary Army soldiers tasked with defending a warehouse, which is the only thing standing between the aggressors and the Allied-occupied International Settlement of Shanghai. What follows is essentially a siege movie, as the Chinese dig in and repel wave after wave of Japanese attacks, with snipers, suicide bombers and gas attacks among the terrors faced. What makes Guan Hu's film so novel is that the conflict plays out in full view of the multicultural community across the river, and the contrast between the bustling, neon-lit streets of the free city and the claustrophobic hell of the industrial battleground couldn't be more marked. The camerawork is meticulous, while the screenplay invests time in its characters, with deserters becoming heroes and cynical profiteers finding their moral courage. Foregoing the usual "death before dishonour" combat clichés, the Chinese rallying cry here is "survival is victory", which makes the inevitable loss of human life all the more poignant. Flag-waving propaganda it may be, but The Eight Hundred makes for stirring, satisfying entertainment.

Credits

Cast

rolename
Duan WuOho Ou
Colonel Xie JinyuanDu Chun
Lao HuluHuang Zhizhong
Xiao HubeiZhang Junyi
Lei XiongZhang Cheng

Crew

rolename
DirectorGuan Hu

Details

Theatrical distributor
Trinity Filmed Entertainment
Released on
2020-09-16
Languages
English | Japanese | Chinese
Guidance
violence, swearing
Available on
DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour
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