Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Movie Review: Wolf Warrior II

The blockbuster sequel shows the global superpower flexing their military might and expanding the story of the Wolf Warrior. Leng Feng (Jing Wu) has left China after having trouble with the law when he beats up a greedy developer to death. He is on a mission to avenge his love Long Xiayun (Nan Yu) who was murdered in Africa. All he has to go off of is a bullet with a unique design. The opening sequence has Leng fighting off pirates in a decent underwater fight scene. Leng drowns his sorrows with beer even though he used to not drink at all. He has fallen into the Chinese wine trade with his helper Tundu (Nwachukwu Chukwuebuka), a young African boy. Their business dealings are stopped when rebels burst into the city and start killing civilians. Leng fights off the rebels and flees with Tundu to the Chinese embassy. It's not clear which African country the story is set in but there is a marked display of Chinese naval might. 

The UN prevents China from acting in the African conflict so Leng Feng is forced to act on his own. He sets out first to save Dr. Chen, a scientist who has been studying a deadly disease known as Lamanlan. The physicians are held hostage by a ruthless gang of mercenaries led by Big Daddy (Frank Grillo). The evil Russian mercenary Bear (Oleg Prudius) interrogates the doctors and Dr. Rachael Smith (Celina Jade) tries to cover for Dr. Chen, but the Bear executes some of the prisoners. Athena (Heidi Moneymaker) is another mercenary who assist Bear when Leng Feng crashes in to save the doctors. Dr. Chen dies but he asks Leng Feng to protect his daughter Pasha (Diana Sylla).

Leng Feng escapes with Rachel and Pasha but he encounters infected dead bodies. He sets out on the road to a factory where Tundu's mother is hiding along with other Chinese workers. They are protected by a military group led by Zhuo Yifan (Hans Zhang). The workers are surrounded by rebels but Leng Feng calls in a UN helicopter to rescue survivors. At first, the leaders try to split the Chinese from the Africans but Leng Feng puts an end to that nonsense. As the group celebrates the impending evacuation, Big Daddy sends in drones and rebels to kill the factory works. Leng Feng fights them off killing some of the mercenaries but the disease courses through him weakening him. Big Daddy is about to go in for the kill but is called back by an African warlord. Big Daddy betrays the warlord who doesn't want Chinese killed so that he can impress the UN. They are sure to note that China is a permanent member of the United Nations. 

Leng Feng is sent away despite helping them survive when he reveals that he is sick. He has to recover in a cave and Rachel injects Pasha's blood, which a potential cure. Leng Feng recovers and heads back to the factory where the rebels have taken over. He uses a poison dart to take down a group of the mercenaries and frees the workers. Leng Feng, Zhuo Yifan, and other soldiers fight the mercenaries but Big Daddy calls in the rebels. Zhuo manages to shoot Bear in the head after a brutal fight. There are some crazy action scenes with a tank and decent enough action. Leng Feng faces off against Big Daddy in a final fight. Big Daddy espouses some racist thoughts before he is finally defeated. Leng Feng does a large patriotic gesture at the end driving through war-torn African village holding up the Chinese flag as a way to establish dominance and scare the rebels.

This second film in the nationalist Wolf Warrior series sees China spreading out their global influence and tangling with international restraints. Jing Wu is plenty charismatic as the main character and also sat in the director's chair once again. The film isn't so subtle when it plays out the greatness of China but it is easy to look past that and enjoy the over the top action sequence. I'm interested in seeing more of this series and I hope this opens up more foreign films to come to America. I like this of living in a global society though we are still so separated and the message here is always the most helpful. There are more subtle references to the mistakes of colonialism and the troubles in Africa that we so easily ignore. Wolf Warrior 2 is a step up from the original and the great box office success hopefully promises more in this action series. 

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