With news that Hollywood is looking droolingly at China’s growing film market with plans to make a “superhero” film in which Xi’an’s terracotta army comes to life to battle space aliens, we thought we’d develop a list of other China-themed films that Hollywood should get to work on right away:
Mad Max: Beyond Ulan Bator Long since retired and teaching English in post-apocalyptic Beijing, “Mad” Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) is called on by desperate Chinese authorities to lead the charge in repelling a modern-day, Harley-riding Mongol horde attempting a re-invasion of China. Max hops back into his black Interceptor and repels the invasion with the help of a rag-tag pack of Beijingers riding Chang Jiang 750 sidecar motorcycles.
Toy Prestory: The long-rumored prequel to Toy Story takes place in a factory in Guangdong where Buzz and Woody discover an army of counterfeit toys that go on strike to protest being covered with toxic lead paint. Woody and his fellow genuine licensed merchandise go on the adventure of a lifetime, along the way instilling a new sense of respect for copyright protection and saving Christmas for consumers worldwide. In the heartwarming finale, many of the former counterfeit toys, now sporting officially licensed logos, sneak away from the factory to take up residence with the children of the underpaid assembly line workers who could otherwise not afford to purchase them.
Mànhādùn: Woody Allen returns in his usual acting/directing role, this time playing a married NYU film director who comes to China to enter an Artist-in-Residence program at the Beijing Film Academy. There he meets and attempts to adopt a 19-year-old Chinese starlet-to-be, but after realizing she has passed the legal age of emancipation, he dumps his wife and marries the girl instead. The film’s opening montage features several “underpants” shots of the CCTV building as scored along to Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”.
RoboCadre: Mid-level delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress Alex Wang dies in a car crash when run off the road by a band of corrupt village officials whom he catches embezzling money earmarked for the relocation of farmers to make room for the village’s first Ermenegildo Zegna shop. He is reanimated with technology built by domestic heavyweights Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi, and is urgent to complete his directives before the iPhone version comes out. Sick of the corruption that runs rife in officialdom, RoboCadre goes on a one-man mission using GPS technology, human flesh search engines and a kickass set of Baidu Virtual Glasses to clean up China’s politics once and for all. In compliance with national censorship standards that forbid violence or any kind of Verhoeven-esque satire, RoboCadre is equipped only with anti-corruption buttons and red propaganda banners with which to complete his goal.
Planet of the Apes: Rise of the Monkey King: Space travelers landing on a distant planet find that they’ve traveled back in time to the 5th Century AD where the ruthless Sun Wukong rules over a planet dominated by apes who are convinced that a rag-tag band of human resistance fighters led by the monk Tripikata are hoarding Buddhist texts.
Ocean’s Fourteen: With Danny Ocean in retirement, third-string cast member the Amazing Yen (Qin Shaobo) steps forward to lead the gang on their latest caper, the scamming of a Macao casino frequented by Kim Jong-un’s wayward half-brother. Along the way Yen ropes in Chow Yun-fat and Jackie Chan to join the star-studded cast. In this all-Mandarin sequel, Yen still only speaks Chinese; however, no one understands what he says because Brad Pitt isn’t around to translate for him.
The Matrix Part 4: Neo gets resurrected (again) and finds himself trapped in the Matrix; this time, he’s caught within the confines of China’s Great Firewall without a VPN and unable to escape before matching wits (and brawn) with a Sinicized Agent Smith. Meanwhile in the real world, Morpheus deals with the fallout of the uncovering of an ancient text by Gavin Menzies claiming that the fabled land of Zion has been an inalienable part of China for since the 8th Century A.D. Later, the Oracle reveals the true spelling of our hero’s name: “Niu.”
National Treasure III: An eccentric Chinese billionaire lures treasure hunter Benjamin Gates (Nicholas Cage) into looting the Xi’an mound said to hold the booby-trapped tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shihuang. Several CGI set pieces later, Gates finds the tomb to be inhabited by the true national treasure of China: a group of pandas that have raided the grave for its ancient and well-preserved aphrodisiac potions that once and for all solves the species’ innate lack of horniness. The end credits feature Gates in a cartoon dance-off with an animated version of the pop trio S.H.E. as a randy pair of pandas get it on in the background.
Another Ugly Betty: Lucy Liu stars in the title role as the hideously repulsive hose-beast that all of China sees her as. To reverse her fortunes she spends her meager savings from her job as an ayi on face-shaping plastic surgery and a full-body skin-whitening treatment at a cut-rate salon operating in the back of a Fengtai KTV. The transformation immediately nets her a millionaire husband, and she lives happily ever after, lounging around her penthouse apartment in a pink velour “Juicy” tracksuit and surfing her top-of-the-line gold plated iPhone 6 while her husband spends all his time at work.
The Hangover, Part 4: The gang is once again reunited for the pre-nuptial ritual of the bachelor party, this time in Beijing. They wake up lying on the floor of The Den amongst dozens of empty ergoutou bottles to find the non-marquee cast member of their party dead from fake alcohol poisoning. The only thing they remember from the night before was being invited to a student art exhibition in Wangfujing. Their madcap adventures take them on a wild goose chase across the city in which they are ripped off at Silk Alley, fall for the classic teahouse scam, and are charged RMB 4,013 from a taxi for a ride from downtown to Haidian. Chow (Ken Jeong) returns as the crazy Chinese crime overlord, but is demoted to a short cameo since he’s portrayed by a man of Korean ethnicity.
Kung Fu Pander: 90 minutes of anthropomorphic animals asking, “Is this real Chinese kung-fu?” and then getting a response in the affirmative. Eddie Murphy, Kevin James, and Donald Trump star.
Images: Joey Guo