Chinese war blockbuster starring Bruce Willis to be released in the States: new thoughts on U.S.-China relations?

The Chinese war drama Air Strike (previously known as The Bombing, aka Unbreakable Spirit) is going to have its globally theatrical release, including North America.


Poster/Air Strike (aka Unbreakable Spirit)

Starring Bruce Willis as an American commander who is dispatched to China during the Second World War to fight against Japanese air force with young Chinese fighter pilots, the movie is a transnational co-production in many respects. Transnational collaboration of it expands from production level to exhibition.

Mel Gibson was hired as art director and joined this project just before he started making the Oscar-nominated Hacksaw Ridge, which received both commercial and critical success in China in 2016. Since then, Mel’s name has become extremely popular with Chinese audiences. Vilmos Zsigmond (Cinematographer of The Deer Hunter) was appointed as cinematography consultant of the movie. Both of them had expressed their delight in co-operating with Chinese filmmakers on the war epic before in interviews with leading Chinese media.

Assembled in the movie are actors from different countries and areas, including Bruce Willis, Adrien Brody, and South Korean actor Song Seung-Heon.

According to Xiao Feng, the director, working on a movie with such diverse cast and crew is not easy, but all participants acknowledge the anti-Fascist spirit and ideas of humanity stressed in the movie.

The preparation of script began in 2011 and lasted for four years, followed by another four years of production. Based on one of the cruelest bombings that happened during the Second World War, Air Strike tells how civilians in Chongqing live their life with unexpected optimism and fight against Fascism with strong mind.

The scale of theatrical distribution in the States is still unknown, but possibly a war blockbuster showing the ‘unbreakable spirits’ of Chinese people will shed some lights on the current U.S.-China relationship. There was a time when the two nations joined the Allies to fight against Fascism. And recent years also see frequent exchanges of ideas and talents, especially in the cultural and art fields. Apparently, a trade war will certainly affect far more than economic interests of the United States.

Blue Box International acquired worldwide sales rights to the movie on last year’s MIPCOM, according to ScreenDaily. The movie’s international distribution will be led by Lionsgate Grindstone Entertainment Group along with Blue Box International.

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