Director – Liu Xiaoshi – 2023 – China – Cert. 12a – 128m
Genuinely thrilling action movie about Chinese test pilots owes much to US movies Top Gun and The Right Stuff, even as it attempts to justify current expansionist Chinese views – out in UK and Irish cinemas on Friday, May 5th
From above the clouds. Two stealth jets. Down towards the sea surface and an oil platform flying a Chinese flag. Coffee in a cup vibrating Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, 1993) style to indicate the imminent approach of the monster. Sonic boom. Aircraft fly past. Oil rig windows blow out. Faces are cut to ribbons. In one cockpit, the pilot radios his colleague and, presumably, anyone else listening (in US English): “we can come and go anywhere we want.”
Then, a Chinese plane after them. In their sights. But, before the American can shoot it down, the Chinese loops the loop, transforming from target to shooter. Vowing, like that villainous Hollywood icon The Terminator (James Cameron, 1984) to be back, the US pilots leave Chinese airspace.
The Chinese aircraft, meanwhile, clearly inferior to its US counterparts, suffers flameout requiring its ace pilot to make a forced landing during which its drogue parachute fails to open.… Read the rest