Chinese film industry

Chinese blockbuster ‘Wolf Warriors 2’ contains clues to China’s foreign policy

Just as Hollywood’s Rambo took on the might of the Soviet empire in the 1980s, Wu Jing battles China’s foreign enemies.

When Hollywood is not being criticised for being a liberal mouthpiece, it is often viewed as a front for American foreign policy. The time-honoured example of this is the Rambo series wherein Sylvester Stallone’s invincible super soldier battles America’s communist enemies.

The Rambo films were shot against the reheating of the Cold War in the light of the “Star Wars” Strategic Defense Initiative and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. They were also a reflection of growing American confidence during the Reagan presidency after the pessimism of the post-Vietnam era. But Hollywood is not the only industry guilty of this cinematic jingoism today.

China has found its own Rambo in Leng Feng, the hero of China’s latest box office smash, Wolf Warriors 2. The film has become the most successful in the Chinese box office, making more than five billion Yuan (£585m) since its release in late July, in contrast to a rather tepid year for its American counterpart.

Just as Rambo took on the might of the Soviet empire in the 1980s, Leng – played by Chinese action superstar, Wu Jing, who also directed the film – battles China’s foreign enemies. While strongly Chinese in national sentiment, it follows the path set by its Hollywood predecessors in terms of action and storyline. Also like many Hollywood movies, the film is indicative of the changes in Chinese foreign policy and attitudes today – just as Rambo had been for the Reaganite policies of the Cold War.

The plot is standard action fare with Leng, a maverick Chinese soldier, going to a fictional African state in the middle of a civil war to rescue Chinese workers and their African comrades – while also tracking down those who were responsible for his fiancée’s death. While this appears to be in keeping with the gung-ho US blockbusters of the 1980s, it is calls to mind recent events in Africa.

Wolf Warrior 2.

Near the beginning of the film, Chinese nationals are whisked aboard a People’s Liberation Army Navy ship in a scene reminiscent of the evacuation of Chinese citizens from Libya during the country’s 2011 civil war. Such a move has been cited as a watershed for China’s approach to Africa due to the sheer scale of the operation as well as being a break from the more cautious approach of the past.

This change in stance is further augmented when Leng argues with the admiral in charge of the evacuation, who claims that the lack of Chinese intervention is due to the United Nations rather than China’s reluctance.

The anti-Rambo: Frank Grillo as the bad guy in Wolf Warrior 2.
The anti-Rambo: Frank Grillo as the bad guy in Wolf Warrior 2.

There is also a parallel with Libya in the fact that the baddies in the film are portrayed as little more than puppets for their nefarious Western advisors, a group of mercenaries led by Big Daddy (Frank Grillo). This has shades of the assistance provided to anti-Gaddafi forces by NATO – and the claims that the rebels would not have been successful without Western support.

Ties that bind

So Wolf Warriors is both a critique of Western foreign policy and an expression of Sino-African solidarity, ties which stretch back to the period of post-war decolonisation – when the nascent People’s Republic of China provided assistance to numerous independence movements in the continent fighting against exploitation and harsh colonial policies.

Leng’s love interest, Rachel Prescott Smith (Celina Jade), alludes to this in a brief respite from the action in a graveyard for Chinese migrants to Africa. While detailing suffering in Africa’s past, she refers to the slavery brought to the continent by outsiders. They are not directly named – but it’s obvious that she is talking about the European empires that once ran much of the African continent. This is presented as a counterpoint to the idea that anti-colonialism was a key factor in the development of significant Sino-African ties in the 20th century.

The ties that bind: China lends a helping hand to Africa.
The ties that bind: China lends a helping hand to Africa.

This solidarity as expressed in Wolf Warriors II echoes Chinese foreign policy. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, China’s priority shifted towards economic development – and Africa, with its abundant resources, has become particularly crucial to achieving this, especially in the wake of the continent’s apparent abandonment by the US and Russia after the Cold War.

Rising dragon

At the same time, Wolf Warriors II also serves as an expression of China’s growing military might – just as Rambo had been for US power in the 1980s. This comes in the light of China’s military modernisation announced by Xi Jinping in March 2017 on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army. China’s power is demonstrated in the film’s ending where the Chinese fleet moves in to wipe out the remaining Western antagonists and their African puppets while Leng battles his American foe.

China’s increasing military power has been accompanied by a greater willingness to use it – and the country’s military presence in Africa has been augmented by the establishment of a naval base in Djibouti which is expected to enhance China’s ability to project power in Africa. This comes with the involvement of other Asian powers, most notably Japan and India, on the continent, leading to fears of a new “scramble for Africa”.

If film historians of the future examine Wolf Warriors II, they are likely to view it as a reflection of China’s growing confidence and assertiveness in the Xi Jinping era – just as Rambo demonstrated American self belief in the Reagan era. This sentiment, alongside the utilisation of China’s soft power initiatives, in turn also illustrates a new shift in Chinese foreign policy in line with China’s growing power – something that is one of the major issues of the present international system.

Tom Harper, Doctoral Researcher in Politics, University of Surrey.

This article first appeared on The Conversation.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Top picks, best deals and all that you need to know for the Amazon Great Indian Festival

We’ve done the hard work so you can get right to what you want amongst the 40,000+ offers across 4 days.

The Great Indian Festival (21st-24th September) by Amazon is back and it’s more tempting than ever. This edition will cater to everyone, with offers on a range of products from electronics, home appliances, apparel for men and women, personal care, toys, pet products, gourmet foods, gardening accessories and more. With such overwhelming choice of products and a dozen types of offers, it’s not the easiest to find the best deals in time to buy before your find gets sold out. You need a strategy to make sure you avail the best deals. Here’s your guide on how to make the most out of the Great Indian Festival:

Make use of the Amazon trio – Amazon Prime, Amazon Pay and Amazon app

Though the festival officially starts on 21st, Amazon Prime members will have early access starting at 12 noon on 20th September itself, enabling them to grab the best deals first. Sign up for an Amazon Prime account to not miss out on exclusive deals and products. Throughout the festival, Prime members will 30-minute early access to top deals before non-Prime members. At Rs 499/- a year, the Prime membership also brings unlimited Amazon Prime video streaming and quick delivery benefits.

Load your Amazon pay wallet; there’s assured 10% cashback (up to Rs 500). Amazon will also offer incremental cashbacks over and above bank cashbacks on select brands as a part of its Amazon Pay Offers. Shopping from the app would bring to you a whole world of benefits not available to non-app shoppers. App-only deals include flat Rs 1,250 off on hotels on shopping for more than Rs 500, and flat Rs 1,000 off on flights on a roundtrip booking of Rs 5,000 booking from Yatra. Ten lucky shoppers can also win one year of free travel worth Rs 1.5 lakhs.

Plan your shopping

The Great Indian Sale has a wide range of products, offers, flash sales and lightning deals. To make sure you don’t miss out on the best deals, or lose your mind, plan first. Make a list of things you really need or have been putting off buying. If you plan to buy electronics or appliances, do your research on the specs and shortlist the models or features you prefer. Even better, add them to your wishlist so you’re better able to track your preferred products.

Track the deals

There will be lightning deals and golden hour deals throughout the festival period. Keep track to avail the best of them. Golden-hour deals will be active on the Amazon app from 9.00pm-12.00am, while Prime users will have access to exclusive lightning deals. For example, Prime-only flash sales for Redmi 4 will start at 2.00pm and Redmi 4A at 6.00pm on 20th, while Nokia 6 will be available at Rs 1,000 off. There will be BOGO Offers (Buy One Get One free) and Bundle Offers (helping customers convert their TVs to Smart TVs at a fraction of the cost by using Fire TV Stick). Expect exclusive product launches from brands like Xiaomi (Mi Band 2 HRX 32 GB), HP (HP Sprocket Printer) and other launches from Samsung and Apple. The Half-Price Electronics Store (minimum 50% off) and stores offering minimum Rs 15,000 off will allow deal seekers to discover the top discounts.

Big discounts and top picks

The Great Indian Festival is especially a bonanza for those looking to buy electronics and home appliances. Consumers can enjoy a minimum of 25% off on washing machines, 20% off on refrigerators and 20% off on microwaves, besides deals on other appliances. Expect up to 40% off on TVs, along with No-Cost EMI and up to Rs 20,000 off on exchange.

Home Appliances

Our top picks for washing machines are Haier 5.8 Kg Fully Automatic Top Loading at 32% off, and Bosch Fully Automatic Front Loading 6 Kg and 7 Kg, both available at 27% discount. Morphy Richards 20 L Microwave Oven will be available at a discount of 38%.

Our favorite pick on refrigerators is the large-sized Samsung 545 L at 26% off so you can save Rs 22,710.

There are big savings to be made on UV water purifiers as well (up to 35% off), while several 5-star ACs from big brands will be available at greater than 30% discount. Our top pick is the Carrier 1.5 Ton 5-star split AC at 32% off.

Also those looking to upgrade their TV to a smart one can get Rs. 20,000 off by exchanging it for the Sony Bravia 108cm Android TV.

Personal Electronics

There’s good news for Apple fans. The Apple MacBook Air 13.3-inch Laptop 2017 will be available at Rs 55,990, while the iPad will be available at 20% off. Laptops from Lenovo, Dell and HP will be available in the discount range of 20% to 26%. Top deals are Lenovo Tab3 and Yoga Tab at 41% to 38% off. Apple fans wishing to upgrade to the latest in wearable technology can enjoy Rs 8,000 off on the Apple Watch series 2 smartwatch. For those of you just looking for a high quality fitness tracker, the Fitbit Charge has Rs. 4500 off on 22nd September.

If you’re looking for mobile phones, our top deal pick is the LG V20 at Rs 24,999, more than Rs 5000 off from its pre-sale price.

Power banks always come in handy. Check out the Lenovo 13000 mAh power bank at 30% off.

Home printers are a good investment for frequent flyers and those with kids at home. The discounted prices of home printers at the festival means you will never worry about boarding passes and ID documents again. The HP Deskjet basic printer will be available for Rs 1,579 at 40% off and multi-function (printer/ scanner/ Wi-Fi enabled) printers from HP Deskjet and Canon will also available at 33% off.

The sale is a great time to buy Amazon’s native products. Kindle E-readers and Fire TV Stick will be on sale with offers worth Rs 5,000 and Rs 1,000 respectively.

The Amazon Fire Stick
The Amazon Fire Stick

For those of you who have a bottomless collection of movies, music and photos, there is up to 60% off on hard drives and other storage devices. Our top picks are Rs 15,000 and Rs 12,000 off on Seagate Slim 5TB and 4TB hard drives respectively, available from 8.00am to 4.00pm on 21st September.

The sale will see great discounts of up to 60% off on headphones and speakers from the top brands. The 40% off on Bose QC 25 Headphones is our favourite. Top deals are on Logitech speakers with Logitech Z506 Surround Sound 5.1 multimedia Speakers at 60% off and the super compact JBL Go Portable Speaker at 56% off!

Other noteworthy deals

Cameras (up to 55% off) and camera accessories such as tripods, flash lights etc. are available at a good discount. Home surveillance cameras too will be cheaper. These include bullet cameras, dome cameras, simulated cameras, spy cameras and trail and game cameras.

For home medical supplies and equipment, keep an eye on the grooming and personal care section. Weighing scales, blood pressure monitors, glucometers, body fat monitors etc. will be available at a cheaper price.

The sale is also a good time to invest in home and kitchen supplies. Mixer-grinders and juicers could see lightning deals. Don’t ignore essentials like floor mops with wheels, rotating mop replacements, utensils, crockery etc. Tupperware sets, for example, will be more affordable. There are attractive discounts on bags, especially laptop bags, backpacks, diaper bags and luggage carriers.

Interesting finds

While Amazon is extremely convenient for need-based shopping and daily essentials, it is also full of hidden treasures. During the festival, you can find deals on telescopes, polaroid cameras, smoothie makers, gym equipment, gaming consoles and more. So you’ll be able to allow yourself some indulgences!

Small shopping

If you have children, the festival is good time to stock up on gifts for Diwali, Christmas, return gifts etc. On offer are gaming gadgets such as Xbox, dough sets, Touching Tom Cat, Barbies, classic board games such as Life and more. There are also some products that you don’t really need, but kind of do too, such as smartphone and tablet holders, magnetic car mounts for smartphones and mobile charging station wall stands. If you’re looking for enhanced functionality in daily life, do take a look at the Amazon Basics page. On it you’ll find USB cables, kitchen shears, HDMI cables, notebooks, travel cases and other useful things you don’t realise you need.

Check-out process and payment options

Amazon is also offering an entire ecosystem to make shopping more convenient and hassle-free. For the festival duration, Amazon is offering No-Cost EMIs (zero interest EMIs) on consumer durables, appliances and smartphones, plus exchange schemes and easy installation services in 65 cities. HDFC card holders can avail additional 10% cashback on HDFC credit and debit cards. Customers will also get to “Buy Now and Pay in 2018” with HDFC Credit Cards, as the bank offers a 3 Month EMI Holiday during the days of the sale. Use Amazon Pay balance for fast and easy checkouts, quicker refunds and a secured shopping experience.

Sales are fun and with The Great Indian Festival offering big deals on big brands, it definitely calls for at least window shopping. There’s so much more than the above categories, like minimum 50% off on American Tourister luggage! To start the treasure hunt, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of and not by the Scroll editorial team.