To save the only child of the Zhao Family, whose entire clan was massacred at the hands of a nefarious minister, a doctor sacrifices his own son; after the Zhao child grows up, the doctor becomes intent on seeking his vengeance.
Release Year: 2010
Rating: 6.2/10 (570 voted)
Critic's Score: 53/100
Stars: You Ge, Xueqi Wang, Xiaoming Huang
Storyline Sacrifice (Orphan of Zhao Family): To save the only child of the Zhao Family, whose whole clan is massacred at the hands of a nefarious minister, a doctor sacrifices his own son, and later becomes intent on seeking vengeance against the minister after the child grows up. For generations, the Zhao family has wielded power, even extending over the king. In a well-planned coup, their mortal enemy TU'AN GU (Wang Xue Qi) slaughters the entire clan, determined to wipe out their influence forever. However, a solitary Zhao baby survives the massacre, and is hidden and taken home by CHENG YING (Ge You), the doctor who delivered him, to live with his WIFE (Hai Qing) and their own newborn baby. Set on revenge, and raising the Zhao child as his own, Cheng Ying bides his time, enrolling himself and the Zhao orphan (whom he calls Cheng Bo) into the service of the Tu'an Gu household. Tu' an Gu grows very fond of Cheng Bo and makes Cheng Bo his godson...
Cast: You Ge
Sacrifice (2010) directed by Chen Kaige is a misguided attempt at
popularism. It fails in almost every department and resembles the work
of a far less talented director. This is the surprise of Sacrifice,
that it was directed by Chen Kaige.
The film is so overly edited that at times this frequent cutting only
heightens continuity errors. In one short sequence when the young hero
walks towards his "godfather", one carefully chosen shot would suffice
but we are treated with cuts to over five different camera set- ups.
There are constant narrative flashbacks that are so short and trimmed
that they confuse rather than enlighten.
The use of the "fade-to-black" is so prevalent that it becomes a
distraction. There are many cinematic clichés such as slow motion
suddenly being inserted into a sequence for no other reason than
"style". The sound-design is very cheesy with booms and thumps
accompanying almost every fade to black.
The story is essentially a melodrama, so the action, which is
over-the-top and inconsequential, detracts from any emotional reality.
Unlike other famous Chinese directors that have successfully
experimented in the martial-arts (Wuxia) genre, Chen Kaige seems
uncomfortable with the action and the more fantastic it becomes the
more out of place it seems.
The production design is also a weak point, with the sets looking like
what they are - overly dressed sets.
Finally the question has to be asked: How many horses were killed
during this shoot? During a lacklustre cavalry battle, some horses take
terrible falls that could only have been achieved with a trip-wire. A
couple of horses are seen to fall directly onto their necks and faces
while their whole bodies twist above them. It is impossible to imagine
that in these instances the horses where not seriously and irrevocably
A very disappointing and highly schizophrenic film from Chen Kaige.