Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Boxer Rebellion (1976)

This movie jogged my memory about a part of world history I had learned in junior high school. Thanks to director Chang Cheh for making this story easier to remember.

Near the end of Qing dinasty, Li Chung-ching, a sort of priest, gathered young fighters and made them believe that they were invincible: they were immune to swords / sharp weapons and bullets. Liu Chia-liang made a movie about this in a lighter tone, the title is 'The Spiritual Boxer'.

The country was ruled by Empress Dowager. Her officials deceived her that she believed the Boxers were really bulletproof and could handle the foreigners' attacks.

In the first fight after Li Chung-ching gathered the Boxers, for their first attempt, they attacked a Japanese camp. It didn't work well, but because a hero named Chang Chen-chiang sacrificed himself to stop the Japanese soldiers' machine gun, our three heroes - played by Bryan Leung, Chi Kuan-chun and Fu Sheng - won this war. After all had been done, Li Chung-ching appeared and claimed that he himself had killed the Japanese soldiers. There were about 9 dead bodies around, but his followers spread the news that Li had killed 90. When this news reached the empress's ear, the number became 9000.

L-R: Fu Sheng, Bryan Leung, Tang Yen-tsan, Chi Kuan-chun
With this success, the Boxers gained power and anything with the word 'yang' (foreign) would be confiscated. In Chinese language, the word 'yang' could be combined with another word and the meaning would be entirely different, it didn't have anything to do with foreign or foreigners anymore; but the Boxers didn't care. Most of the confiscated things would go to Li Chung-ching.

In this chaos, the allies - led by Waldersee from Germany - attacked and Beijing fell. Waldersee ordered to kill Chinese men and Beijing became a dead city, and our heroes would try to make him stop the massacre.

I think Kuo Chui played 2 minor characters: a boxer and a Japanese soldier

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