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China Heavyweight

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Canada, China, Finland · 2012
1h 34m
Director Yung Chang
Genre Documentary

In southwestern China, state athletic coaches scour the countryside to recruit poor, rural teenagers with a natural ability to throw a good punch. As these young boxers develop, the allure of turning professional for personal gain and glory competes with the main philosophy behind their training – to represent their country.

Stream China Heavyweight

What are people saying?

What are critics saying?


Washington Post by

Its brutality is unacceptable to Buddhism and Confucianism yet is increasingly appealing to young men (and women). And in a country that still professes socialism, it's fiercely individualistic. There are no collective work groups in the boxing ring.


The New York Times by Jeannette Catsoulis

Illustrating the film's rags-to-ring narrative with panoramic mountain views and compact shots of young bodies punching their way up the food chain, Mr. Sun straddles ancient and modern, tranquillity and turmoil, with equal sureness.


Variety by Justin Chang

As he did in his Three Gorges Dam documentary "Up the Yangtze," Chang examines how a particular strain of Western culture promises opportunity and prosperity for Chinese youth, even as it remains a continual source of intergenerational tension.


Village Voice by Michael Atkinson

In the end, once we realize the title doesn't refer to these bantams' weight class but to their strength of heart, or something, the film feels blandly respectful and, oddly enough, apolitical.

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