The Men Who Would Conquer China | Chicago Reader

The Men Who Would Conquer China

New York investment banker Mart Bakal, who specializes in privatization in formerly communist countries, attempts to take his act to China in this 2004 documentary. His well-connected Hong Kong partner, Vincent Lee, is far more appealing, telling the obnoxiously aggressive Bakal he's too impatient and condescending; Lee's also the one who comes up with a workable plan. This is most intriguing as a portrait of an arrogant American: Bakal doesn't want to build relationships with Chinese partners by buying a small company; he wants to invest big and become a billionaire who leaves his mark on the world. The overly picturesque imagery isn't nearly as interesting—director Nick Torrens includes way too many airplane takeoffs and pans up skyscrapers. 78 min.

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