Sharp Arrow Operation: World War II Kung Fu

How does a Chinese television producer please viewers and censors alike? How many “Anti-Japanese War” shows can the Chinese public take before they decide to tune out for good? How much patriotic programming can a channel drop before SARFT chafes? Sharp Arrow Operation (利箭行动) has something for everyone: it is just the latest in a decades-long line of World War II TV dramas, but with a martial arts kick. Shot at Hengdian World Studios in Zhejiang Province, Sharp Arrow’s 35 episodes cost RMB 50,000,000 (US$8 million). It is the big-budget, action-packed answer to the demands of state and public.

And so a new genre is born: the World War II kung fu show. As this gif makes the rounds online, netizens chuckle at the fictional bloodbath: @hesnet: A Japanese man came to visit China. His first stop was Zhejiang. He found a local guide and gave her 3000 yuan, telling her his grandfather had died fighting in China. He wanted her to take him to the location of the worst Japanese casualties to pay his respects. With money in hand, the guide had him spend 300 yuan on a car, and off they drove. An hour later, she announced that they had arrived. As soon as he stepped out of the car, he saw the sign: Hengdian World Studios. @钢铁侠Z:有一个日本人来中国旅游,第一站到了浙江,他找了一个当地导游,给了3000块钱,说他祖上战死中国,要求导游带他去国内日本人伤亡最惨烈的地方祭拜,导游收钱后带日本人花300块包了辆车,一个小时后告诉日本人到了,日本人下车一看:横店影视城。
Poster for Sharp Arrow Operation.
@avb001: Q: During the Anti-Japanese War, which Chinese military unit finished off the most devils? A: Bayi Film Studio. @avb001:问:在抗日战争中,中国军方编制下那个单位消灭鬼子最多?答:八一电影制片厂 Via CDT Chinese. ...
« Back to Article

2 Responses to Sharp Arrow Operation: World War II Kung Fu

  1. Will says:

    The accounts of WWII or kàngzhàn in most PRC history textbooks are nearly as fanciful and ludicrous as PRC feature films like Sharp Arrow Operation. Somehow in these ultranationalist rhapsodies it is always the CCP that is the chief victor claiming the lion’s share of the credit for the defeat of militarist-era Shôwa Japan.

  2. Peter Edwards says:

    So, the latest Chinese war movie shows Chinese winning. Somehow, that reminds me of most Hollywood movies, depicting the Americans winning everytime, and conveniently sidestepping historical reality in the process.