Military action movie arouses patriotic sentiment among Chinese audience
Photos: official posters of Wolf Warriors 2 

Chinese military action movie Wolf Warriors 2 reportedly has earned RMB 1.2 billion in its home territory since its release last Friday night. With an investment of RMB 0.2 billion, box office of the movie directed, co-written and starring motion actor Wu Jing is expected to climb to RMB 2 billion. Some analysts suggest the “indigenous super hero plus Hollywood stereotype” has led to its instant success, while movie goers believe it’s the patriotic sentiment aroused by the unique “Warriors 2” story that makes it stand out.

“Warriors 2” is the sequel to a 2015 Wu Jing-centered production, which became one of the few modern military films that have gained good box office results in China. “Warriors 2” undoubtedly has gone well beyond its predecessor to become one of the classics that give direction to the genre, Liang Pengfei, a reviewer wrote. The military film is labeled by some as the first homegrown “heavy-industry” production, referring to its barrage of breathtaking blasting scenes that stir adrenaline rush.

Wu Jing’s two “Warriors” all feature marvelous sight of military combat and firefight using modern weaponry. All the exhilarating fight and kill scenes are delicately choreographed for maximum impact. The opening scenes of “Warriors 2” grasp the audience attention with a six-minute full-length shot of underwater combat between Wu’s character and pirates. The following escalating stimulus includes street gunfight, car-chasing in slums and decisive battles featuring tank warfare and helicopter felling down to the ground—all work to push the plot to its climax.

Wu Jing plays a former Chinese Special Forces operative caught in the turmoil of an African military revolt. With the belief of “Once a wolf warrior, always a warrior”, the former Chinese soldier volunteered to brave into the war zones to bring back Chinese nationals to voyage home. The plot echoes with the fact that China has launched a series of massive overseas evacuations for its nationals from countries including Yemen, Libya, Kyrgyzstan and Solomon over the past few years.

One of the most loved posts on Weibo, China’s microblogging platform, said “it is the country’s rising national strength and more prominent international status reflected in both the real world and the “Warriors 2” story that inspire resonance with the audience.” All in all, after admiring classic ‘saviors’ in Hollywood blockbusters like Captain America, now Chinese theater goers finally get to embrace their own super hero image in the cinema world.
“Warriors 2” has surprised the market with its unexpected success, some industry insiders analyzed. Over the past decade, fictional stories with computerized effects have made the most money while romance movies became the most favored genre. Producers have cranked out countless ones starring young, handsome, but effeminate stars and now aesthetic fatigue seems to emerge.

The market is calling for more genre movies to diversify the now stereotyped productions. “Warriors 2” has made a perfect example. On one side, the story is based on real life and so is capable of stirring up empathy in the audience; on the other hand, the tough-guy genre is believed to be able to help tackle China’s ongoing “Masculinity Crisis” in the entertainment scene.


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