Hidden Strike

Hidden Strike
Hidden Strike
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In an action comedy called Hidden Strike, the legendary Jackie Chan teams up with John Cena. The action comedy film Hidden Strike which has been stranded in post-production limbo for over five years will premiere in 2023. It stars Jackie Chan as well as John Cena who is a former WWE world heavyweight champion-turned-actor. The two find themselves thrown together on a mission to Baghdad where they are supposed to lead innocent civilians to safety.

Hidden Strike was called different names during production including Project X-traction, Project X, Ex-Baghdad, Snafu and The Furious Sandstorm. The intermittent and non-chronological production and distribution timeline had little or nothing to do with COVID-19 but much with the changing landscape of China’s role in global box office success.

China plays a crucial role in global viewership and commercial success of movies hence the changes it faces ripple into Hollywood. Hidden strike however, according to director “is representative of what successful collaboration between Hollywood and China looks like both artistically and commercially.” Here’s everything we know as the movie gears up for release.

Mostly centered on a past military soldier from China turned private security contractor sent off to rescue workers within Chinese-owned-and-operated oil refinery. This discovery uncovers that the raid was just one part of the plot designed to steal this country’s oil reserves. He meets his former American Marine friend who now lives teaching orphans in Iraq after he left service.

However, this marine was tricked into thinking he was busting ill-gotten Chinese assets before knowing what he is doing. He gets “had” and then becomes partners with Snow Leopard Commando. They now indulge in playful banter and there is also some humor while confronting mercenaries, massive explosions all around them, plenty of violence.

While it seems like your typical action-comedy set-up, director Scott Waugh says there’s an emotional side to both character’s backstories. Waugh told The Hollywood Reporter “I always want the audience to go for a full ride in my films. I want you to laugh, cry and be on the edge of your sea. Audiences are now paying a lot more money to watch films, so we as filmmakers have the obligation to entertain them.”

In addition, Hidden Strike is heavily influenced by Chinese culture. Waugh lived in China for several months before making this film while Cena learned Mandarin, explained Chan. This filming endeavor of XYZ Films, Changchun Film Studio and Huaxia Film Distribution goes beyond production details; Hidden Strike serves as an example of dynamic intersectional international collaboration among various powerful production studios.

Hidden Strike: Cast and Crew

The film stars Jackie Chan (Rush Hour and Police Story) alongside John Cena (12 Rounds and The Suicide Squad). Pilou Asbaek (Game of Thrones, Ghost in The Shell), Minghau Hou (When We Were Young), Amadeus Serafini (Summer Days Sumer Nights), Li Ma (Moon Man, Goodbye Mr. Loser) and Rachael Holoway(The Few) are among those who support Cena and Chan.

Directed by Scout Waugh, Hidden Strike (Scout Waugh: Need for Speed, 6 Below, Miracle on The Mountain) was scripted by Arash Amel (Arash Amel: Rise, A Private War, Erased). It is also produced by Esmond Ren, Jackie Chan, Joe Tam and Hans Canosa.

Hidden Strike: Everything Else

The Covid-19 pandemic complicated the release of Hidden Strike as it was a joint project between Chinese and American production studios. China’s film theatres were closed down earlier than any other country in January 2020.

When movie theatres were eventually reopened they mainly showed local productions in which native Chinese actors acted such as The Eight Hundred, Wolf Warriors II, Hi Mom and The Battle at Lake Changjin. Thus during the shutdown of cinemas for extended periods of time mainstream Chinese cinema ceased to be international box-office driven.

A PR incident also may have disrupted the distribution of Hidden Strike. In 2021 John Cena referred to Taiwan as a country. Moreover it must be noted that Taiwan is officially recognized as the Republic of China (ROC), an island located across the Taiwan Strait from mainland China which is officially known as the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Taiwan has its own government with democratic elections and more than twenty-three million inhabitants; nevertheless political leaders differ on whether or not Taiwan is an independent state. Since there is currently an ongoing international debate about this issue many public figures do not ‘choose sides’ between ROC and PRC.

Cena’s statements on Taiwan led to backlash and indignation followed by his apologies. His comments had no significant impact on Fast and Furious 9 Chinese box office release except that this event troubled filmmakers who represent Flame Pictures Company together with Huaxia Film Distribution. There was concern after a few months that Chinese crowds would avoid Cena’s movie outrightly.

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