I saw a bit of Went The Day Well the other day. This film was made in 1942 and shows a Nazi invasion being thwarted by a group of ordinary people, men women and children. The portrayal of the Germans is quite savage by the day's standards, and by 1942m the threat of invasion had diminished somewhat, but I don't doubt this helped stiffen resolve.
Fri 4 Aug, 2017 01:30 am
China jumps on the blockbuster action movie bandwagon.
"Anyone who offends China will be killed no matter how far the target is."
That is the tagline for Wolf Warriors 2, the Chinese box office hit that is equal parts testosterone-fuelled machismo - think blazing guns, explosions, and tanks - and chest-thumping Chinese patriotism.
It sees a soldier venturing into an African warzone and saving hundreds of lives from Western baddies. It's basically the plot of your typical Hollywood action movie, but this time it's a Chinese man upholding justice and keeping the world safe.
Following in the footsteps of Jackie Chan and Jet Li, martial arts expert Wu Jing is among a new generation of Chinese action stars turned directors.
His first Wolf Warrior film came out in 2014, but it didn't make much of an impact. Mainstream movies, especially those promoting patriotism, usually don't do very well in China.
Wolf Warrior 2, however, has become a phenomenon.
The film has raked in a record 1.6bn yuan ($238m; £181m) in just one week. The massive response in China also made the film top the global box office worldwide last weekend, beating Hollywood blockbuster Dunkirk.
The film revolves around a covert rescue mission when rebels overrun a town in an unnamed African country.
Leng Feng, a Chinese special forces soldier played by Wu Jing, is sent in to save Chinese businessmen and locals held by Western mercenaries.
Many moviegoers said online that they were touched by the patriotic plot.
"This movie is the best Chinese action movie," one social media user wrote. "Shockingly good - hot blood and tough guys. I shed tears after watching it," said another.
I think we should not forget that war movies are often made purely for entertainment. I'll leave aside the pro-war and anti-war movies, and just point out movies that were about war, but purely for their entertainment value. The Great Escape and Von Ryan's Express are two examples of this. (Von Ryan's Express is a classic example of a movie that just wasn't as good as the novel--it was basically a Frank Sinatra vehicle.) The Vietnam war was not even on the horizon of the American public at the time of The Great Escape, and Von Ryan's Express cannot reasonably be seen as a pro-war movie. Zulu was purely for the entertainment value--war was not on the mind of the British public in 1964. The classic All Quiet on the Western Front with Lew Ayres and Louis Wolheim was made in 1930--before Japan invaded Manchuria, before the Spanish civil war, before Italy invaded Ethiopia, and when Hitler was unknown outside central Europe, except for political junkies here and there. There are a great many war movies that have been made solely for the entertainment value. Let's face facts--movies like that are and probably always will be popular. The HBO series Band of Brothers is just the latest in a long tradition of war movies as entertainment.