1911 (BLU-RAY)


On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Running Time: 
99 Minutes

This counts as Jackie Chan's 100th film.

1911 is an aesthetically magnificent film as well as a pretty decent Blu-Ray release. Aside from some very soft interior shots the film has amazingly eye popping color schemes, very detailed sharpness (especially in battle scenes), and the surround sound aspect is phenomenal. There were a few battle scenes that simply perplexed me with bullets zipping all around my living room and a moment when I had to look around the room to make sure I was really alone when I heard people talking directly behind me. The release, even for its minor technical hiccups, is marvelous. Unfortunately there are some bigger issues to be concerned about.

The biggest problem that I had with the film is that its historical aspect is one that I was not familiar with and I’m sure plenty of other Westerners will have no clue about. Unless you’ve studied this particular era in Chinese history you’re going to be a bit lost. 1911 attempts to offer up snippets of information on your screen as the film moves along to kind of fill in the empty spaces. You have locations, characters, and brief synopses about the event taking place on your screen. The problem here is that the text is minuscule at best and often times flashes across your screen before you can decipher the tiny little characters in each informational pop up. Again, if you’re unfamiliar with this era and the events surrounding it, it’s probably beneficial that you’re able to read the information that pops up, but being forced to pause just so you can do so is a pain and interrupts the flow of the film.

Well Go USA has decided to offer up the film in Mandarin and English for their language tracks, but unfortunately Jackie Chan doesn’t perform his own voice dubbing, which seems weird because by now everyone knows who he is and knows he speaks English. It’s just a bit strange. Also, again, Well Go USA has opted not to have two separate English subs; one for use while in Mandarin and one for simply translating the little things like signs and or papers without giving English speaking viewers the complete script in subs. In any case the subs do not even clarify these items, and while watching it in English with subs on the text sometimes deviates from the spoken word. In the end, unless you can stand the horrible English dub, watch it in Mandarin and hope you can manage to catch the info pop ups in the film while reading the subs and trying to watch the movie. It becomes a bit of a chore.

Bonus features also suffer from hiccups as well. The supplemental stuff is divided on the BD and a standard edition DVD disc, both of which feature Behind The Scenes featurettes that reach nearly an hour combined, but neither include subtitles, making them all but useless. Other bonus features include:

~Deleted and Extended Scenes in HD  
~Original Trailer in SD
~Trailers In HD
~Interview with Li BingBing in SD
~Hong Kong Press Conference

When I watched 1911 I couldn’t help but think of other great war films like Saving private Ryan, the Band of Brothers series on HBO, Hamburger Hill and the likes. The film truly is a masterpiece as a war film and marvelous as a set piece film. I only wish that I was knowledgeable in the history of the war in which is documented here or were given more pieces to this puzzle within the film. If you haven’t seen it, see it. A film like this makes me envious considering the paltry level that American cinema has been reduced to. This is how it should be done, always. If it sparks an interest research the history and watch it again, something I may do. As always final judgment is yours. Enjoy.

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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