The international criminal Min Deng (played by Ni Dahong) is out for revenge after his brother was killed during a drug raid where the cocky and confident super soldier, Leng Feng (played by kungfu-star Wu Jing), shoot him. Leng Feng gets suspended after the raid and shortly after joins the mythic special forces called Wolf Warriors (战狼队). During military training with his newly found brothers in arms Leng Feng and the other soldiers are caught off guard somewhere close to an unclear Southeast Asian country and has nothing but blanks and bayonets to defend themselves with in the beginning. Of course Min Deng and his mercenaries is only a façade for trying to smuggle out blood samples which in turn can be sold to international bio-pharmaceutical companies who then can use it to make genetic weapons which can be used to target Chinese people as the only “race” affected by the weapon.
Even though this part of the story has little value for the films holistic cinematic value the mere idea of using this kind of race oriented nationalistic notions is to ignore the complexness of Chineseness. Sure, there are some soldiers with a northeastern and southern dialect but how does this potential genetic weapon effect Hakka and people from Xinjiang. Does their gene categorize them as Chinese?
If you manage to ignore the story part an easier way to think of the film is to think of it as Die Hard With a Vengeance but they just exchanged the Gruber clan for a Chinese family with hired foreign mercenaries. Actually, the whole films story is probably only a reason for Wu Jing to shoot adrenaline infused action scenes. Add sentimental scenes, where characters with the most shallow understanding of each other, suddenly has a strong emotional connection, and you come close to what Wolf Warrior has to offer.
As an action film it has some things to offer for those who hunger for explosions and cheesy postures. Even though the film doesn’t come close to the hyperbolic action scenes from the later Fast & Furious films Wolf Warrior still has some scenes that will make you giggle. Like firing a minigun at point blank at someone’s face. Further, emotional expressions in Wolf Warrior, such as the band-of-brothers bond, is implemented as a soap-opera gimmick but the only emotional response I get comes from the music. Maybe it’s because I don’t buy the whole nationalistic theme and the militaristic group dynamic which is so poorly executed I’m actually having a hard time believing that Wu Jing spent a long time with real soldiers in order to get ready for the role. To sum it up, Wolf Warrior offers a glimpse into what american 80’s action would look in a one party nation on the other side of the world.