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Wolf Warrior 2

This morning I had a ticket to see the new Chinese film that has been received well in China, Wolf Warrior 2 (WW2), and trotted off to the Palace in Kwun Tung for the 9am showing.

Jing Wu directed the film and also plays the hero Leng Feng who, from the opening scene in which he saves a ship from pirates off the coast of Africa, he is an indestructible, one-man army. To be honest, I really don't enjoy action movies. As soon as there is an explosion in slow motion I can be fairly sure that a film is not likely to be to my liking. Another technique I hate in films is the overuse of flashback, and WW2 overuses it. The whole thing could be described as a Jean-Claude van Chan movie, no better, no worse.

It seemed like any other action movie, other than that the heroes were all Chinese. The action came thick and fast with the soundtrack consisting mainly of gunfire and explosions and the film's blood budget must have been more than some countries' economies.

On the positive side, most of the death and destruction avoided being too gruesome, so no flying heads, and, other than the flashbacks to Leng's fiance being killed, the film did not waste time on romantic scenes that do nothing to move the story forward. For the most part, the action rarely let up.

It would be fair to say that a lot of films produced in the USA and UK are very patriotic and during World War II, clearly served as propaganda, but these days we tend to expect propaganda to be a little less direct. WW2 is Chinese propaganda which becomes increasingly less subtle, leading to the finale which is likely to leave non-Chinese open-mouthed in amazement.

The film is set in an African country which is going through an armed revolution and a number of Chinese nationals are trapped up country and need to be rescued. There were a number of references to the help that China gives to African countries and how the Chinese are friendly, popular and peace-loving. No real difference from an American film although the bit where the PLA officer explained that the PLA was unable to take any action because they didn't have the permission of the UN seemed particularly amusing.

My main interest in the film before I saw it was that the female lead was played by Celina Jade, who I taught at Island School many years ago. It was hard to judge her acting ability as she was mainly there to be an attractive female lead but it was great to see someone I actually knew up on the big screen.

Towards the end as Leng Feng leads the rescued party back to safety they come to the edge of a town through which they must pass and where opposing sides are shooting each other. Our hero stops the convoy and, using his arm as a flag pole, holds up the Chinese flag for all to see. Both warring factions call out, "It's ok, it's the Chinese". The firing stops and the convoy passes through unharmed.

If fingers were not far enough down the throat by then the final image on the screen was of a Chinese passport with the reassuring caption that wherever you are in the world the PLA will be there to help you.

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