Commentary: To enjoy the Chinese film Wolf Warrior II, shed your biases

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-16 11:42:56|Editor: Yurou
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by Xinhua writer Gao Wencheng

BEIJING, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Wolf Warrior II, an action film written by, directed by and staring Chinese actor Wu Jing, has become the first non-Hollywood movie ever to crack the list of 100 global box office champions, a dose of Chinese kung fu to Western-dominant movie markets.

While Hollywood superheroes who save the earth are taken for granted, some Western critics misjudged Wolf Warrior II as "propaganda stunt." It was a classic example of sour grapes.

Moviegoers shrugged off the prejudice. The film received a rating of 86 percent on Rotten, a famous U.S. review aggregator for film and television.

The action is set deep in Africa, where Leng Feng, portrayed by Wu, reaffirms his duty as a soldier and battles Western mercenaries to rescue innocent Chinese civilians and African workers at a Chinese company.

Leng's sense of responsibility with the belief of "Once a Wolf Warrior, always a Wolf Warrior" is applauded on the screen and beyond. Tears were shed at the movie's end, and many returned for a second or third viewing.

But some Western critics saw the film differently.

Ignoring the value of loving one's homeland, something widely shared in China, the British Broadcasting Cooperation called the Chinese action movie "nationalist action movie."

Even the growing confidence of Chinese people etched in the movie is called great-power chauvinism. But is there really something wrong with having faith in one's country to carry out the quintessential job of protecting its own people?

In fact, such heroism claimed in the movie is commonly-articulated in Western war and action movies, including a number of Hollywood films.

During a press conference, Wu lashed out at the bias held by Western critics, saying "Why is that a problem? America makes movies that promote the American spirit. Why can't I do that for China?"

Actually, the U.S. superheroes are inherently political creatures. In the backdrop of World War II, U.S. superheroes including Captain America glamorized war in comic books. The U.S. government even used comic books to promote conscription.

From then on, superhero images in comic books and movies have been devoted to the adventures of powerful individuals compelled to use their abilities to impose a personal morality on the world.

It is not hard to find a political complexion in them. People cannot help wondering whether these U.S. superheros promote war while maintaining their own country as a defender of peace.

Different from most U.S. superheroes who fight in a world of make believe, Wolf Warrior II is inspired by reality.

China's evacuations of people from such conflict-torn countries as Yemen and Libya have been hailed by the international community over the past few years.

At one point in the movie, Leng unfurled a Chinese flag with his arm as the flagpole to assure safe passage through a war zone.

China's emergence as a key player in Africa is a tough pill for Western countries to swallow. Some critics say Wolf Warrior II is merely propaganda whitewashing China's role on the continent.

But Wolf Warrior II is a microcosm of China's friendship with Africa.

Contrary to Western colonialists who brutally seized control of the continent, China is involved with the countries of Africa in a mutually beneficial way.

China imposes no political conditions on African governments when channeling aid and investment into the continent. Chinese firms are willing to invest where Western counterparts are unwilling, just like how the Chinese and locals live and work together in the movie.

Like Chinese doctor Chen in the movie helping to fight communicable diseases in Africa, many Chinese technicians are dispatched to Africa to provide modest social and economic assistance and to build people-to-people bridges to strengthen China-Africa solidarity.

But sour grapes can never make sweet wine.

As China grows increasingly interconnected on the global stage and rises as a power, double standards continue to be the norm. The prejudice surrounding Wolf Warrior II is yet another example.

In the future, China will continue to produce an abundance of high quality movies to entertain people all over the world. Eventually, the world -- free of misconceptions and bias -- will learn to embrace China as a peaceful and responsible country.