Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen in Rogue One, the most successful Chinese related film for years

The first time the Chinese actors in the film are not set for Chinese money.

The Star Wars series films, which have won the total box office of about $7 billion in 40 years, are good memory of many people. Recently, there comes out the eighth film, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (or simply Rogue One) that is directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, starring Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, and Forest Whitaker. The story happens between in the third film Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and the fourth film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. There is a sentence in the subtitle of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,i.e., Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, on which is exactly the Rogue One story based. The little truth mentioned about 40 years ago now is revealed that how it is stolen and who are the rebel spies. That is really of mystery for decades.

For most Chinese audiences, the greatest achievement of the film is that the Chinese actors don’t just pass by any more, and they get important roles rather than just are set to cater to the Chinese audiences. Take Angelababy in Independence Day: Resurgence for example, she is meaningless in the whole story structure, but a character completely to please the Chinese market. Besides, the bad acting and implantation of Mengniu make it awkward in general. Many Chinese people take it for granted that Yankees should show basic respect for Chinese actors and box office to get them to do real performance, or Yankees never get Chinese actors in their films. Of course, Chinese people would not be moved when Yankees do their own job just one time, because what they have done before is all bullshit to swindle.

But the prophecy has unfortunately come true that the film is not to please Chinese market and it really doesn’t please Chinese market. After it is put on screen for 5 days, it just received about $40 million, not worth mentioning compared to the global income.

Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen in Rogue One

In fact, it is not acclimatized in China. First, the endless sequels make Chinese people boring. Except the senior Star Wars fans, those who don’t know former story don’t intend to enter the movie hall. The reason is simple that in order to understand it, you have to spend much time knowing the whole series and the stories happened 40 years ago. Second, for visual movies, there easily comes visual fatigue. In order to pursue high box office, the film companies make many visual movies, and the boredom cannot be avoided. Third, the audience difference is the main factor. The Star Wars series are the classic incarnation of Americans, not of Chinese. The film people ignore that the Star Wars series from 1970s are very strange for those Chinese audiences born in 1990s and 2000s who are the major audiences in Chinese market now.

In a word, the film people want something to happen, like a watched flower never blooms, but an untended willow grows, which is doomed to fail.

The excellent performance of Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen.

As the first Chinese faces that show in Star Wars series, Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen are chosen for the story, not for Chinese market, which greatly satisfies Chinese audiences. Rogue One does a lot of effort for the character design of Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen, and their roles have their past characteristics. They have special relationship in the film, just like a couple. It is fair to say that they are the most eye-catching actors. But, it is somehow abrupt, just like that on the street the leading actor and actress come across the two guys who are just the right one.

Maybe the screenwriters of the films take the image of the hero Blind monk in Riot Games, Donnie Yen plays the blind warrior in the film. The blind warrior could be the Yip Men in the space, sensitive to the Force but not a Jedi Knight, not talking much, quarterstaff in hand, and shows Chinese Kong Fu in every motion. His fierce fighting skills are brought into full play, the same powerful even when fighting with the robots. He encounters little resistance in the robot army with evasive maneuvers and dead attack.

Jiang Wen is a heavily armed Weapons Specialist in the film. Humor and hippie style, he loves the gun battle. He always fights together with Donnie Yen, just like Donnie Yen’s personal bodyguard. This modeling reminds people of the Chewbacca in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. And Jiang Wen also takes the responsibility of livening things up with the robot K-2.

The film shows the little people images. The protagonists don’t engage in individual combat, and they are not undead persons to kill the enemy a thousand times. It is more reasonable and humanistic. There are too many little people who sacrifice themselves for the noble cause. History doesn’t remember them, and they are just passing the history, but their story could be told. This is more attuned to the spirit of the Star Wars, i.e., to fight for hope, the slim hope, even if they have to lay down their lives.