I think a lot of Filipinos watch Chinese movies because we are fascinated with all those magical Kung Fu flying moves that we usually see in those kinds of films. More often than not, too, we find that we also "get" their humor and laugh at their jokes (just think Jackie Chan and you'll know what I mean).
Anyhow, when I got an invite to preview a Chinese movie that's included in the 6th Spring Film Festival happening this month, I said yes because I'm sure the organizers would be showing quality films that are really worth watching. I was glad I came.
Bodyguards and Assassins is about a story based on one of China's historical periods. It is set in 1905 when Hong Kong was still under British rule and revolution was on the rise. Sun Yat-Sen, foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, was then set to arrive in Hong Kong to meet with, and unify, faction leaders so they can all finally take down the corrupt and crumbling Qing Dynasty.
When she found out about it, Empress Dowager Cixi, the de facto ruler of the Qing Dynasty, orders Sun to be assassinated. For the Chinese citizens who had long been dreaming of freedom, it was understood that protecting Sun Yat-Sen means keeping China's liberation hopes alive.
Thus, businessman Li Yutang gathers a motley crew of people composed of a tofu vendor, a beggar, an orphan, and rickshaw pullers to serve as bodyguards. Despite their lowly statures in society, the heroic group was able to display their superb fighting skills as they battle it out with the assassins to protect a leader they haven't even met.
The flow of the story is really, really good. There are personal conflicts that need to be resolved, principles to fight for, and memorable characters who will tug at your heart. I felt a lot of emotions while watching this movie. Although there are the expected funny scenes, I found myself touched immensely by the loyalty of Ah-Si the servant for his masters, the deep love of Li Yutang for his only son, and the young Master Li's resolve to serve his country at all cost, even if he might lose his life.
I think that if a lot of Filipinos would get to see this movie, maybe more of us would love our own country, too, enough to really fight for the right things that will benefit everyone and not just a chosen few.
FYI, this action-historical movie garnered numerous awards from the 4th Asian Film Awards, 29th Hongkong Film Awards,16th Hongkong Film Critics Society Awards and 47th Golden Horse Awards. It's really worth watching.
Catch Bodyguards and Assassins and the other five notable films during the Spring Film Festival at the Shangrila Mall Cineplex this coming January 20-29. Admission is free! For the list of other films and their synopses, screening schedules, art activities, and other details, please click here.