China’s winter warriors rout US Marines, UK’s MI6


Trailer image for ‘The Battle at Lake Changjin.’ PHOTO/YouTube

Beijing’s macho nationalism bears fruit as epic Korean War movie sets course to be top global film of 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping, besieged by crises from China Evergrande to power outages, may take some comfort in recent news: A human wave of enthusiastic citizens is storming his nation’s cinemas.

The historical blockbuster Chinese are watching in record numbers is state-funded Korean War epic Battle at Lake Changjin. Its popularity suggests that Beijing’s drive to inculcate patriotism and machismo is bearing fruit.

Making the story even sweeter for Beijing mandarins, it is based on the true story of a torrid Chinese victory over America’s premier troops.

The December 1950 struggle around the high-altitude Lake Changjin – known in the West as Chosin Reservoir – was fought in one of the harshest battlescapes imaginable. Amid rugged mountain terrain, in sub-zero temperatures, an under-equipped Chinese Army Group forced a division of top-tier US Marines to retreat from North Korea.

And it is not just the US Marine Corps that has fallen to the film’s sword. It has also taken out Britain’s secret intelligence service, MI6. Box office receipts for Battle at Lake Changjin outdid those for the massively anticipated but long-delayed new 007 film, No Time to Die.

In a sign of the surging size and importance of the Chinese cinemascape, the film is overrunning every film Hollywood can throw in its path. Trade publication Hollywood Reporter writes that it looks set to become the world’s top grossing film of 2021.

“Battle at Lake Changjin, whose box office is expected to be the largest in Chinese film history, has pushed the patriotic sentiment of people across the country to a peak amid the tense China-US competition,” state-run media Global Times wrote approvingly, noting that the film has so far smashed 14 domestic box office records.

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