Chinese film and TV can be slightly perplexing to the Western eye at times, but until recently the Mainland was a relatively closed market. Times change, and over the last decade Hollywood blockbusters have dominated. Half of the top twenty grossing films of all time were made in the US. However, homegrown cinema is having a bit of a resurgence. In the last year, Kung Fu Yoga, The Mermaid and Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back have all entered the top ten. Dante Lam’s new film, Elite Force: Operation Mekong, quietly sneaks in at number Twenty-Two.
When two commercial ships are ambushed, and their crews massacred, on the Mekong River, the Chinese authorities are determined to discover the truth. The Thai army are trying to frame the sailors as drug smugglers, and it all reeks of a set-up. Led by Captain Gao Gang (Zhang Hanyu), a small group of elite narcotics officers are despatched to the Golden Triangle to uncover the truth. They team up with an undercover agent (Eddie Peng) to try and take down the notorious head of a drug cartel.
Based on a true story, Dante Lam serves up a festival of action in Elite Force: Operation Mekong. There are twists and turns, with intrigue aplenty. Whilst there’s a great camaraderie between the group which allows the audience to empathise with them, the main attraction is a seemingly endless array of impressive action sequences. Elite Force: Operation Mekong feels fresh and vital. A Chinese thrill ride which will keep you on the edge of your seat.