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The Chinese movie Wolf Warrior 2 is just a piece of Chinese pro-military propaganda. Even the movie is the second highest earning movie in history of China’s cinema industry, there are a lot to criticized the sense of patriotism in the movie not because any reasons but the fact that sense of patriotism honoring an ugly ‘white savior’ power fantasy.
In Wolf Warrior 2 movie, its core is brought on the table nourishing the fantasy that only Chinese military is capable enough to save a nameless African country from bloodthirsty native rebels and gross European mercenaries. Watching Wolf Warrior 2 an at-capacity crowd on Sunday gave me an idea of what it was like to watch Rambo 2 back in the 80s. They both lecture you, pummel you and then, expect you to cheer.
Wolf Warrior 2 starts with scenes of a protagonist, Leng Feng – played by director Wu Jing – who is a special ops officer known as Wolf Warrior, travels to an African country after he’s imprisoned in military jail for two years for beating up a heartless slumlord, taking note that the country Leng travels to is never spelled out, the reason for that maybe because real-world details will tie down Leng’s shoot-’em-up safari or it’s an implications of exploitation that the screenwriters flirt with but never satisfactorily address.
Briefly about Leng, he is a very tough dude, as the movie is rousing, and technically accomplished opening sequence attests.
In an opening, Leng stops a group of pirates from boarding his Africa-bound sea vessel. Soon after that, Leng further proves his bona fides as a manly bro by out-drinking local Africans. Then, he saves a group of Chinese expatriates from a group of murderous rebels by shooting and kicking the baddies’ butts. This scene is also promising since it includes a bit where Leng stops a flying grenade with a box-spring mattress, then discards the grenade so that it only destroys a nearby car.
However, Wolf Warrior 2 gets really bad once it gets sober. Leng makes contact with local Chinese military leaders, and sets off to rescue humanitarian doctors Chen and Rachel (Celina Jade) from evil soldier of fortune Big Daddy (Frank Grillo) and his fellow Caucasian assassins. Big Daddy and his group are not immediately offensive. In fact, they’re initially defined by generically stilted characterizations, but as the movie going on, Big Daddy’s group is introduced as a largely unexamined element of good vs. bad exploitation inherent in any foreign military intervention in an undeveloped country.
It’s sure that Big Daddy seems harmless when he assures Leng he will “always be inferior” to “people like” Big Daddy, or even when Big Daddy speaks for the movie’s creators when he exclaims that that he was wrong about the Chinese army’s prowess. It’s easy to spot out the way that Jing and his co-writers don’t bother focusing on the motives of the rebel groups that Big Daddy represents; he is a bad guy just because he’s an outsider who doesn’t care about the people he’s casually slaughtering.
In the contrast, Leng represents a relatively less troubling but still borderline exploitative outside group. That is only fundamentally different between Leng and Big Daddy’s group. However, it’s irony that Leng’s colleagues’ though just like Big Daddy’s group; they’re good guys just because they’re hang out with Leng.
At this point, we all see that there is something too much in the way Leng being celebrated. If we look at all characters in the movie excluding Leng from above, the only thing we notice is that none of them has any depth, they are just shallow dummy joining together as a background to highlight Leng, and we all what Leng represent for.