The Bombing (aka Air Strike) takes place in China where everyone is obsessed with an annual Mahjong contest, despite floods, droughts and, now, World War II. I thought I’d signed up to watch an action movie, not ‘Play Chess (’80s daytime series). Similarly, the dialogue feels like something from a bad soap opera, and even in one scene when a couple are meant to be upset about the death of their child, I’ve not seen acting like that in 25 years – since Eldorado was cancelled. Now, I loved Eldorado back in the day as it was cheesy and fun, but it wasn’t what I’ve come here to see.
Plus, just like a bad soap opera, there’s daft scenes of in-fighting amongst the Chinese people when really, they should be more concerned about fighting the Japanese.
And don’t forget adding in a clichéd and ridiciulous scene where a character makes a speech which may as well be saying, “I could survive quite easily and there’s no reason not to, but hey, I think I’ll sacrifice myself by staying put to say a few words, and thus – an unnecessarily – putting myself in fatal danger.”
There’s been no expense spent on the scenes of aerial combat, as they look like a CGI cut-scene from a PS3 videogame. In fact, *every* CGI scene with looks like the rare occasion when I’m given a preview of a film to watch which explicitly states: “Special FX are not yet complete”, but in this case, it’s the finished film! The effects are just terrible! As such, you rarely get the feeling that anyone’s actually in real danger, which takes all the tension out of those scenes.
Often, you see people running around as bombs are about to drop, then there’s a big explosion that’s clearly separate from anything, and then we return to the same building, only to see it almost completely decimated. We’re talking absolute shoestring budget!
Bruce Willis – who plays a US military advisor to the Chinese crew – is in this for about 10 minutes and looks like he mumbled his way through all his scenes in an afternoon. Part-way through htat afternoon, he had a shave, so sometimes he has it, and sometimes he doesn’t! He proves that it’s not just the Chinese and Japanese dialogue which requires English subtitles(!)
Even worse, there’s a brief monologue from him, around 2/3 of the way in, which begins “Let’s set some rules”, and which sounds NOT like Bruce Willis, but more like someone trying to overdub him with a bad impersonation. Did someone lose the original audio?!
Adrien Brody turns up halfway through in one scene, and very briefly, as well as one more, and it makes you wonder why they were brought in to attempt to lend weight to a cast, when their performances are as heavy as a feather. Lending weight is certainly what they do to the misleading cover, as they’re the only faces on it!
And who played photographer Susan? She wasn’t listed in the cast.
Overall, though, what The Bombing gives us mostly, is a load of scenes we witnessed in movies many times before, and with nothing new added.
As a bit of trivia, I understand this film was shot in 3D, in 2015 (at a time when the process was becoming less common, since studios were more likely to shoot in 2D and convert it to 3D in post-production, which rarely looks great in terms of the 3D effects), and then later they decided to release it in 2D only. It certainly doesn’t need to be in 3D, and I expect it was just for those questionable aerial dogfights.
Also, following the big names of Bruce and Brody, another well-known Hollywood name, Mel Gibson, was the art director on this film.
And if two names for this movie isn’t enough, here’s a third, as it’s also known as Unbreakable Spirit.
NOTE: This review is just for the film only.
The Bombing is released on Monday, October 29th on DVD.
Running time: 127 minutes
Studio: Signature Entertainment
Released: October 29th 2018
Director: Xiao Feng
Producers: Stephen J Eads, Stephen Eckelberry, Kimberley Kates, Jian-Xiang Shi, Buting Yang
Screenplay: Ping Chen
Script translation: Tie Dong Zhou
Music: Liguang Wang
Gangtou Xue: Ye Liu
Col. Jack Johnson: Bruce Willis
An Minxun: Seung-heon Song
Steve: Adrien Brody
Cheng Ting: William Wai-Ting Chan
Du Mei: Shengyi Huang
Lei Tao: Nicholas Tse
Ye Peixuan: Bingbing Fan
Yagou: Yongli Che
Ding Lian: Su Ma
Uncle Cui: Wei Fan
Qian Xue: Janine Chun
Zhao Chun: Gang Wu
Julia: Rumer Willis
Madam Zheng: Xiaoqing Liu
Xue Manguan: Yuanzheng Feng
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.