Movie Review: Operation Red Sea

If you do not know Dante Lam, you should check out Operation Mekong. I liked the movie, and hence I was looking forward to Operation Red Sea. There are many similarities between the movies, and it does not end with the similarity in the name. Both of it comes with a tag "based on a real event." It is about a covert military operation based on an attack on Chinese citizens. Despite the tacky CGI, the canvas is vast. Whereas most of the Asian movies try to place the camera right in the middle of the action, Dante Lam pulls back the camera so far away to show the vast canvas, on which action takes, to awe us. In this regard, it follows Wolf Warrior and Baahubali. The audacious action pieces can be made outside Hollywood, far in the east.

When the civil war grips the nation of Yewaire and causes a regime change, a group of Chinese citizens is caught in the crossfire. A Chinese naval ship which was conveniently close by to rescue a cargo ship from Somalian pirates is routed to this fictional city to evacuate the Chinese citizens. The rebels corner some of the evacuees in the middle of the city while there are a group of hostages taken from a nearby energy plant. The situation gets trickier and worse when the promised help from the ground forces does not materialize. So the eight-member Jiaolong Assault Team have to ensure the safety of the Chinese citizens. Though the safety of the nationals is the primary objective, they also demonstrate that they are model global citizens. 

There is a question that arises in our mind. Is this a propaganda movie? I would like to cut some slack here. I would term it as a patriotic movie throwing subtlety into the air during the planning phase. As a result, you will roll your eyes slightly at certain situations. Twenty years ago, I was part of a crowd in India applauding when Bull Pullman promised independence from the alien attackers on 4th of July onscreen. So it doesn't matter to me when Chinese heroes beat up the villains in the name of their country. As long as the action is exceptional and the villain does not originate from India, it is all in the name of good.

There are two significant drawbacks to the movie. I. One of the drawbacks, associated with most of the recent releases, is the excess in two dimensions. One of the dimension is sound, and the other is onscreen violence especially the maiming and the mutilations. Both of these creates a numb feeling in the viewer after a few minutes. The second drawback is the excessive length. When we think the movie is over, there comes another part of the mission to bring closure. We are exhausted at this point. 

Despite these drawbacks, there are several scenes which are worthy of watching. For instance, the fight of the snipers forms the most exciting duel in the movie. The scenes where convoy gets trapped inside the city and also in the desert are two noteworthy scenes. These scenes stay inside your mind because it shows the danger and loneliness of the trapped as the camera pulls back into the sky to reveal the layouts. We have seen car chases. Here you get to see tank chases. 

If you are an action junkie, then this movie is for you. If you do not have a strong stomach, then I advise you to stay away from this movie. It is definitely not advisable to watch with kids.

Language: Chinese

Genre: Action

Rating: **