Sometimes, movie industry developments illuminate themes in world affairs. For instance, a huge moneymaker last year was a title few Americans would recognize. Wolf Warrior II earned nearly $900 million, becoming by far the biggest hit in China’s history. The story focuses on an elite unit of the Chinese Army known as the “WarWolves” who display superhuman combat abilities against arrogant American mercenaries aligned with international drug dealers.
The patriotic themes of Wolf Warrior II feature the Chinese Army as a worldwide force for good—rescuing innocent victims, healing the sick and stabilizing trouble spots in Africa and elsewhere. Wu Jing, 43, stars with scowling intensity, and he also wrote and directed—but he’s hardly an Orson Welles, or even a Jackie Chan.
Plot and dialogue are laughable, and the silly action scenes are way over the top, but Chinese audiences thrilled at the idea that their nation’s mighty military was defending decency against evil Yankee plots.