The Eight Hundred (Ba Bai, 2020)

Nordic Noble Entertainment Blu-ray edition

Text written 2021-05-05


In 2020 this film was the highest grossing picture in the world. Yes, Hollywood didn't release some of their Juggernaut films
due to covid-19 and many of the viewers of this film may have been Chinese, BUT, the Chinese film industry flourishes
and is well on it's way of surpassing Hollywood as the No. 1 film industry in the world.

"The Eight Hundred" was a powerful and gripping film-viewing experience and a very, very impressive Super Blockbuster,
and then i don't normally even like warmovies. But this one .... Wow! I was glued to my seat, and it's a true story.

The fascist Japanese Army occupied China from 1931 to 1945 and killed an unfathomable mass of Chinese people, maybe
as many as the film says - 35 million people. The numbers differs, some sources says 18 million people dead.
This film takes place in 1937 when the Japanese army had bombed Shanghai, with the exception of the Western run districts
of the city, i.a. the english and the french after a Western deal with the Japanese.

The Chinese NRA army, National Revolutionary Army (the military part of Kuomintang) had failed to stop the Japanese
occupation of Shanghai and had retreated, with the chinese part of the city burning and turned into rubble and with the
British and French concessions at the other side of the Suzhou river untouched by the Japanese army.
On one side Heaven, and on the other - Hell.
But, all the remaining chinese troops, a collection of about 400 men of nationalists, peasants and deserters, the remains of
the 524th regement of the NRA 88th division, has gathered in the NRA ex-headquarter, The Sihang Warehouse at the
Suzhou river, to defend it against the overwhelming force of the Japanese army as long as possible. A battle to the death.

The 400 soldiers, said to be 800 to maybe refrain the Japanese, is on a suicide mission, but not in vain as the goal of the
hopeless mission is to show the world that China won't bend knee for Imperial powers, to raise the patriotic spirit and for
folk to join the chinese army, and to maybe get international help.
On one side of the river a warehouse under massive attack and on the other, the neon lit British concession with foreigners
and chinese civilians and the international press on-looking the battle as if some sort of attraction.

The resistance fighters initially thwarts the Japanese attacks and these men turn into heroes and awakens the patriotic
fire within many of the chinese onlookers who wants to join the army. But, they can't join the warehouse fighters as they
aren't allowed to cross the bridge to the other side, and if so they will be shot by japanese snipers. No chinese soldiers
are allowed to swim over or walk over to the British side either, and if so they will be shot by British machine guns.
The defence of the Sihang warehouse is lead by Colonel Xie Jin-Yuan (Du Chun).

Naturally with a film like this there is a lot of CGI used, but it looks great. It's interesting too that this Chinese massive
warmovie let the NRA soldiers be heroes, the military of Kuomintang. But Chinese are Chinese and heroes are heroes,
and even if a Civil war was ongoing between the Chinese Red Army/People's Liberation Army and nationalist army
these 2 parties sometimes lay down their weapons to join in the WW2 fight against the Japanese invaders.

The film is presented in 2.35:1 widescreen with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mandarin audio with swedish subtitles, region B.
No extras

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