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I Watched China's Version Of Rambo So You Don't Have To
As mainland China has risen in the last two decades, it has remained firmly behind the United States in one key area: action movies. No matter how hard they seem to try, if the action movie isn't set during the Qing dynasty, it ends up being a steaming pile of Mǎ shǐ.
The Wolf Warrior series is the latest Chinese attempt to unseat the dying Hollywood tradition of a big budget explosion fest, and it fails harder than the Belt and Road initiative.
The plot of Wolf Warrior is simple: A high-speed Chinese sniper, Leng Feng, disobeys orders and kills a bad guy, thus saving lives. After this massive misstep of disobeying authority to win, he is sent to the brig, where he gets recruited to play OpFor with the PLA's red team, the 'wolf warriors'. During his first field exercise, a group of American mercenaries decide to attack the bulk of the PLA army to kill Feng as revenge for his heroic deeds at the start to the film. Yes, that is as stupid as it sounds.
The poster of the first Wolf Warrior filmWolf Warrior
The sequel, Wolf Warrior 2, is set in a unnamed African country. After Feng's actions in the first film, he heads to his dead comrades house. There he runs into one of the censor-approved domestic bogeymen — corruption. After kicking a corrupt landlord into a windshield he is drummed out of the PLA for his vigilante actions, and moves to Africa to forget his past. After there's a revolution against the unnamed African Government and their Chinese partners (there to spur economic growth), Feng finds himself fighting for his life to save innocents in a war torn country.
The portrayal of the American mercenaries is really the fun part of both these movies. These operators are straight-up killers. These kitted out mercs are introduced in the first film by massacring a platoon of elite PLA counter terrorism troops, without taking so much as a hit. In the second film, it's basically the same group, just with *gasp* a blonde female sniper.
The poster of the slightly better sequel Wolf Warrior 2
There aren't any subtle messages in these films. They are pure in their intentions, and that intention is to show that China is good, morally right, and the PLA is unstoppable and decked out in the latest and greatest weapons. The closest American analogy really isn't Rambo. It's Chuck Norris.
Rah rah American films like Invasion U.S.A and The Delta Force gave American audiences a similar cheese-fest of patriotism and explosions. And Wolf Warrior 2's record Chinese box office of 874 million proves that Chinese teenagers also have an appetite for black and white stories of national heroism.
Maybe someday China will find itself embroiled in a low-intensity land war in the middle east, and we can all make fun of the Sino-equivalent of The Hurt Locker.
These films are easy to make fun of, but they are cultural signals of the great power competition that is taking center stage between the US and China. If you want some insight into the PLA mindset, take a gander at these two films, both of which are streaming on Amazon.
But if you are looking for actual entertainment, you should probably look elsewhere.
13 Marines at Camp Pendleton charged with crimes related to smuggling of undocumented immigrants from Mexico
Thirteen Marines have been formally charged for their alleged roles in a human smuggling ring, according to a press release from 1st Marine Division released on Friday.
The Marines face military court proceedings on various charges, from "alleged transporting and/or conspiring to transport undocumented immigrants" to larceny, perjury, distribution of drugs, and failure to obey an order. "They remain innocent until proven guilty," said spokeswoman Maj. Kendra Motz.
The recruiting commercials for the Army Reserve proclaim "one weekend each month," but the real-life Army Reserve might as well say "hold my beer."
That's because the weekend "recruiting hook" — as it's called in a leaked document compiled by Army personnel for the new chief of staff — reveal that it's, well, kinda bullshit.
When they're not activated or deployed, most reservists and guardsmen spend one weekend a month on duty and two weeks a year training, according to the Army recruiting website. But that claim doesn't seem to square with reality.
"The Army Reserve is cashing in on uncompensated sacrifices of its Soldiers on a scale that must be in the tens of millions of dollars, and that is a violation of trust, stewardship, and the Army Values," one Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, who also complained that his battalion commander "demanded" that he be available at all times, told members of an Army Transition Team earlier this year.
According to an internal Army document, soldiers feel that the service's overwhelming focus on readiness is wearing down the force, and leading some unit leaders to fudge the truth on their unit's readiness.
"Soldiers in all three Army Components assess themselves and their unit as less ready to perform their wartime mission, despite an increased focus on readiness," reads the document, which was put together by the Army Transition Team for new Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and obtained by Task & Purpose. "The drive to attain the highest levels of readiness has led some unit leaders to inaccurately report readiness."
Lt. Gen. Eric J. Wesley, who served as the director of the transition team, said in the document's opening that though the surveys conducted are not scientific, the feedback "is honest and emblematic of the force as a whole taken from seven installations and over 400 respondents."
Those surveyed were asked to weigh in on four questions — one of which being what the Army isn't doing right. One of the themes that emerged from the answers is that "[r]eadiness demands are breaking the force."
The Army thinks China will surpass Russia by 2028. Here is how the service is planning to take them on.
If you've paid even the slightest bit of attention in the last few years, you know that the Pentagon has been zeroing in on the threat that China and Russia pose, and the future battles it anticipates.
The Army has followed suit, pushing to modernize its force to be ready for whatever comes its way. As part of its modernization, the Army adopted the Multi-Domain Operations (MDO) concept, which serves as the Army's main war-fighting doctrine and lays the groundwork for how the force will fight near-peer threats like Russia and China across land, air, sea, cyber, and space.
But in an internal document obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army Transition Team for the new Chief of Staff, Gen. James McConville, argues that China poses a more immediate threat than Russia, so the Army needs make the Asia-Pacific region its priority while deploying "minimal current conventional forces" in Europe to deter Russia.
In leaked documents, Army family reports waiting weeks to have gas line and roof leaks fixed in on-base housing
As the saying goes, you recruit the soldier, but you retain the family.
And according to internal documents obtained by Task & Purpose, the Army still has substantial work to do in addressing families' concerns.