Chinese Movies are quite fun, I’ve decided!

Double Dove Apartment, 临海市,浙江省,中国

电影 Your Chinese word for today is "Movie." I've been watching a ton of Chinese movies lately, which has been very interesting. I decided that if I was here I'd be able to learn the language much better if I did my best to completely immerse myself, cutting myself off from even Western entertainment.
Diànyǐng I personally find Chinese movies very interesting – I've been able to learn a ton from watching them, and they definitely help with my language comprehension skills. I've decided to summarize the movies I've watched so far in this post.

Hero (2002) 英雄 – 5/5

Hero is a Jet Li movie about a man without a name who is a prefect of a small province in China. I really enjoyed this movie – it has a great way to present a story from multiple perspectives. You actually get to see the story three times – each from a different perspective and each time showing you different aspects of the whole story. At the end, it's all wrapped up very interestingly, and with a great moral.

I would honestly advise this movie to anyone. The martial arts are very good, the special effects are amazing, and the acting is excellent. I give it 5 out of 5. 

Little Big Soldier (2010) 大兵小将 – 5/5

This is another excellent movie. It also takes place in ancient China. It's a Jackie Chan movie – he's actually been working on the plot for this movie for about twenty years, so he definitely took the time to do it right. It shows. The acting is superb and the story's extremely good. 

Basically the plot is about two different soldiers – one a conscript who doesn't want to be a soldier and the other a commanding general. The conscript captures the general after a battle and the story is about their interactions. I give this one as well 5 out of 5

The Promise (2005) 无极 – 2/5

I'll be honest with you – out of all the Chinese movies I've seen this has been my least favorite. My copy was rather bad – it would stop and start sporadically and I'd have to skip past the sections that wouldn't work through the first half of the DVD. I was still able to watch the vast majority of the movie, though.

The acting wasn't very good, the special effects were rather awful, and the plot was full of holes. It had several scenes it really didn't need that almost ruined the movie for me. This is the only Chinese movie I have seen that I really wouldn't recommend…

Royal Tattoo (2009) 皇家刺青 – 5/5

I absolutely loved this movie. It's the closest thing I've found to a Chinese "Monty Python's Holy Grail." I was laughing throughout the whole movie – it's so ridiculous it's absolutely hilarious. 

Basically it's a plot about a man who's been sent to fulfill a mission. He has tattooed all over his body plans and maps to help him accomplish his mission. Yes, on the cover is a picture of his butt. The tattoo on it is a message for a man he had to rescue. That played rather hilariously into the whole movie, actually – it was very well done. 

As I said, I really enjoyed this movie and highly recommend it. It gets a 5 out of 5!

Seven Swords (2005) 七剑 – 4/5

Seven Swords is another movie in an old setting. It's an adaptation of a famous novel, actually. It's supposedly part one of a trilogy – the other two movies haven't been created yet.

I quite enjoyed this film as well. It was overacted, and the martial arts were over-the-top and the story was somewhat cheesy, but it was definitely enjoyable overall. If they ever finish the next two movies I will definitely watch them – as I said, I enjoyed it. I give it a 4 out of 5. 

Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon (2008) 三國之見龍卸甲 – 4.5/5

To be honest, this was the first Chinese movie I saw on this trip – I saw it on the plane flight here. I didn't know what it was called at the time and ended up buying it quite by accident at the local DVD store.

I really enjoyed this movie. It takes place during "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms," which is one of the four great Chinese classics, and is a small portion of the story of one of the kingdoms – the Kingdom of Liu. The story follows one of the Liu soldiers – Zhao Zilong, through his life. The martial arts are absolutely spectacular, the cinematography is great, and the acting is quite good. I'd definitely recommend this movie – I liked it enough to watch it twice!

So much has happened since I started writing this update that I barely know where to begin. It's taken me literally a week to get this update online because the computer ate it about five times… That was, needless to say, rather frustrating. Basically since I wrote this update I've been to Hangzhou, Hong Kong, back to Hangzhou, and am now back in Linhai. My father's here with me, too. I'll give you a brief synopsis of the trip to get back here:

On Thursday I left the factory on the 4:30 bus for my home, which ended up getting caught in some terrible traffic and got me home just in time to make it to the long distance bus stop. What a way to start a trip, I know… It gets better. So I get to Hangzhou and it's dark and foggy so I can't tell where I am. I naturally assumed (never do that, it's really dangerous…) I was at the Hangzhou South bus station, because that's where I've always gone before. Was I? No – this particular bus went to the Hangzhou station (Hangzhou has four bus stations.) I couldn't tell because it was dark and foggy. Anyhow, I decided I wanted to walk/run to my hostel, because from the Hangzhou South station it's less than one mile. Needless to say, I got very lost. Turns out the Hangzhou station's something like 15-20 miles away from West Lake… Yeah… I ran/walked for a little more than an hour then finally caught a cab (which wasn't easy – it was another Chinese holiday so cabs were scarce…)

Once I got the cab I was able to make it to my hostel – the Wushanyi International Youth Hostel – I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone – without any problems. It was kind of fun, actually – I was able to see my friend Nita (she works at the hostel) and we talked for something like an hour before we both had to go to bed. It's always really good to see old friends. I had the usual assortment of roommates – this time I had one from China, three from Russia and one who came in late so I couldn't ask her nationality.

I woke up early and checked out, then they called a taxi for me. I was lucky and got Hangzhou's fastest cabbie – I'm not kidding, either. This guy was something else! We were blazing past all the other cars on the freeway and the small streets. He was a very good driver – if he hadn't been we would have died how fast he was driving. He managed to get me to the airport with about an hour to spare, which was awesome. I hate being almost late for a plane…

The flight was uneventful (which is always a good thing with air travel) and I managed to find Dad without any problems. Hong Kong was awesome! We did some exploring around our hotel (which took us some time to find) and went up Victoria's Peak (which was awesome, though it was foggy and we couldn't see much of the view. It was still very impressive.) We also took a harbour cruise that evening, which was spectacular! Hong Kong is an amazing place, indeed! I really wish my camera could take night pictures!

The next day we packed up and prepared to head out, then went to the airport and did some exploring. The Hong Kong airport is rather amazing, actually – it's like the ultimate shopping mall. The technology available in Hong Kong is amazing! I found computers I literally cannot get in America! The crazy thing is that the prices were even comparable with American pricing! You very seldom find that in Asia – technology usually is more expensive here (believe it or not, it's true.)

That afternoon and evening in Hangzhou we did some exploring. I showed my father where my hostel is and then we explored the streets and shopping areas. Hangzhou has the most amazing night market ever! We found all sorts of very interesting things there, and I was able to get a nice new wallet and some good polo shirts and pens for very little money. Oh, Hangzhou also has some amazing swords! I'd love to buy one – the ones I'm looking at though aren't very cheap at all… I don't buy cheap swords…

This morning my father and I got packed up and left our things with the front counter of our hotel. Then we met one of my friends in Hangzhou – Chris. She used to work at the factory, but stopped working there about a month or two ago. She wanted to show us around when she heard we'd be in Hangzhou. She brought two of her friends along, too, which was fun. Their names are Coco and Sunny. All three of the girls speak excellent English. Anyhow, we went to a really beautiful garden, which was amazing. It was interesting to see the number of brides who were getting wedding photos there. As it was a holiday, the garden was crammed full of people, which was interesting – it's amazing to see how many people actually live here in China… Zhejiang province alone has about 200 million people – about 2/3 of the population of the USA. It's just mind blowing!

After our exploration of the garden Dad and I decided to treat our new Chinese friends to lunch at the hotel my Dad usually stays at – the Hangzhou Hyatt. They have an absolutely fantastic buffet for lunch there, which the girls really seemed to enjoy. It was a good lunch, and we were able to have a really good conversation as well.

Our friends helped us catch a cab to the Hangzhou South Railway station (which is different from the Hangzhou South bus station, and in a completely different place) so we didn't miss our train, which was awesome of them. It was great to be able to spend time with them – I have to say it's wonderful to have friends in the majority of the cities I will go to in Eastern China now. 

Our return trip via train was also uneventful, though we had to race to board the train, and I was lugging the demon suitcase from hell that my father brought with him – it's full of fabric samples and other things for the factory, and is ungodly heavy… It also broke while we were in Hong Kong – the wheels broke loose, so when you drag it they don't help at all… It's also a terrible design for a suitcase – it doesn't have straps to hold it where you need them. It's pretty much just very bad. I am going to relish sending it to its shallow grave. It's high time it died – it's pretty much there already.

In any case, it's rather late right now (like 23:54…) and I really do need to be getting to bed. Tomorrow is a national holiday – "Tomb Sweeping Day," so no work tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes!

~S. A. Collins

About wence

I'm the one who started this whole blog (at Tatyana's behest) to chronicle my adventures in China. I've since returned to America and am slowly but surely rediscovering the wonderful world of blogging.
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4 Responses to Chinese Movies are quite fun, I’ve decided!

  1. Tatyana says:

    Well you certainly picked the best time to go to China!!! You're not working at all! You just party all the time hahaha
    So fun about travelling a lot! That's really exciting. 
    Lame about the suitcase…most people seem to have problems with the rolling wheels…Companies need to make better wheels! You should design some luggage haha

  2. Zekintha says:

    We actually own about three or four Chinese movies, including Hero.  I really enjoy watching them as well, even though I need the subtitles to understand what is going on.

  3. Thanks for these reviews! I havn't seen several of them yet, so I'll go find them. :)

  4. wence says:

    Haha, from reading this it would definitely seem that way, now wouldn't it? I've become so busy on my work days I find it difficult to update, thus you never hear about them :) Aye, the traveling around is definitely fun. It'll be weird to go back to America and actually be able to read all the signs and understand people and be able to ask for directions easily!

    I really should design a suitcase that isn't a demonic suitcase from the fiery pits of hell. Most have not been anywhere near as bad as the one I had – it was just about the worst designed piece of luggage I've ever had the misfortune to carry! Needless to say we were very happy to be rid of it.

    Zek, I never knew you guys had Chinese movies! They are something else. At present, I also need the subtitles, though I've been able to get the gist of what they're talking about without them at least some of the time. I look forward to the day when I no longer need them (or can just keep the Chinese subtitles!)

    I'll do my best to post again tonight, though I'll be packing so it might not get done until tomorrow…