I'm not a big fan of war cinema and The Eight Hundred really took a page from their Western counterpart. The film focuses on one famous battle, picks a side and tries to make their fight as heroic as possible. This film is all about Chinese honor, dedication and sacrifice, so if you can't stand (foreign) patriotism it's better to skip this one altogether.
Eight hundred Chinese soldiers are shacked up in the Si-Hang building, in the middle of Shanghai. They're surrounded by Japanese troops, their goal is to hold them off until the bulk of the Chinese army reaches Shanghai to help them out. It's a four-day battle that'll cost many lives, but they're doing it for the honor of their people.
Lots of chaos, bodies flying around, bullets whizzing, with some light but loud drama in between the action. It's not really my thing, but the cinematography is so stunning that I almost didn't care. I knew Guan could deliver styling-looking films, but I was surprised he managed to elevate a full-on blockbuster like this. I didn't really care for the soldiers and their plight, but simply kept watching to see what marvels Guan would come up with next. If you like the big Western/US blockbuster war flicks though, this comes well recommended.