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.
You know what what America really needs right now? No, not new and bold war films based on the storied battles of the Forever War. Nah, what we need is another blood-soaked, bulgy-veined rampage starring the action genre’s most iconic PTSD-addled veteran: John Rambo.
Back in the 1980s, the United States considered the Mujahideen the “good guys” because they were waging a guerilla war against the Soviets Union in Afghanistan. Fast forward to the present and the Afghan Mujahideen are now widely viewed as the Islamic fundamentalists who eventually begat the Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS, and other folks who will hopefully meet their end at the business end of a MOAB.
When it comes to war movies, the fast-paced action blockbusters that have defined American pop culture since the ‘80s have a bad reputation: massive explosions, impossible marksmanship, and nobody ever, ever runs out of ammo. Yes, it’s a hole the genre is finally starting to dig out of with incredible technical expertise on display in more recent Hollywood projects like John Wick and 13 Hours, or in TV miniseries like History Channel's SIX. But if you want proof that this wasn’t always the case, just look back a few decades to the age of “unlimited ammo.”