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Award-winning filmmaker Yung Chang (“Up the Yangtze”) returns to China for another riveting documentary on that country’s ever-changing economic landscape—this time through the lens of sports. In CHINA HEAVYWEIGHT, Chang follows the charismatic Qi Moxiang, a former boxing star and state coach who recruits young fighting talent from the impoverished farms and villages across Sichuan province. A select few boys (and girls) are sent to national training centers, with the hope of discovering China’s next Olympic heroes. But will these potential boxing champions leave it all behind to be the next Mike Tyson? Their rigorous training, teenage trials and family tribulations are expertly intertwined with Coach Qi’s own desire to get back in the ring for one more shot at victory. Cinematically rich and intimately observed, CHINA HEAVYWEIGHT is all at once thrilling sports drama, astute social commentary and a beautifully crafted portrait of an athlete.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 21
- Fresh: 17
- Rotten: 4
- Average Rating: 7.2/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: Mr. Sun straddles ancient and modern, tranquillity and turmoil, with equal sureness.
Fresh: An intimate and affecting account of two aspiring boxers from the sticks training under the same hard-working coach.
Fresh: Perhaps by focusing on something that is so much an individual sport, Chang creates a deep sense of tension between singular people and the bigger concerns of history, the team or country.
Rotten: China Heavyweight is an uneasy mixture of familiar sports doc tropes and sociological portraiture.