'Warriors of Future' is a breakthrough for Chinese sci-fi

By Zhang Rui
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, August 4, 2022
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Veteran Hong Kong actor Louis Koo has made another breakthrough in China's sci-fi film genre by creating China's first mech movie, "Warriors of Future." The movie is also touted as the most visual effects-heavy Hong Kong film ever.

Prolific actor and producer Louis Koo speaks to the audience via video link at the premiere event for "Warriors of Future," held in Beijing, July 31, 2022. [Photo courtesy of Wishart Communication]

Koo said at the premiere event in Beijing on July 31 via video link that the film fulfilled his childhood sci-fi dreams. "We overcame many difficulties during the production, but I also enjoyed the whole process. This film is like a child of mine," he said.

The actor and producer said there were at least six draft scripts before the final script was selected. "The final script had what I needed for my vision about environmental protection issues. The Earth is witnessing many changes, including climate change and air pollution. I felt we could tell a story about it, encourage the audience to take more care of our planet, and pay attention to environmental protection."

The movie, with a big budget of reportedly $58 million, is the directorial debut of award-winning visual effects master Ng Yuen-fai, starring Koo and other veteran Hong Kong actors such as Sean Lau and Carina Lau.

Set on a barren future Earth, ravaged by years of pollution and climate change, the film tells the story of a meteorite crashing down, bringing with it a fast-growing alien vine-like plant known as Pandora that purifies the planet but kills everything in its path. In response, the heavily mech-armored military of Hong Kong attempts to defend Earth but uncovers a vast conspiracy. 

In the film, a futuristic Hong Kong is rendered entirely in CGI, but the crew designed futuristic props based on actual objects to give a sense of realness. In an interview, Ng said that this film was the most technically complex ever made in Hong Kong.

To promote Chinese culture, the movie's futuristic mechs are named after Chinese mythological figures such as Xingtian and Qiongqi. The names originate from the ancient book "The Classic of Mountains and Seas," a Chinese classic that records many myths, legends, animals, and folklore. 

Koo remembered it was a challenge to convince his fellow Hong Kong actors to join the project because they didn't make such films at this scale before and didn't quite understand the sci-fi vision.

"I asked Carina Lau to visit our filming site to see for herself, and she witnessed a great scene where helicopters were landing. She was stunned. I even arranged for a life-size robot to accompany her. She told me, 'you are crazy. I want in.' Meanwhile, for Sean Lau, I showed him the animated short we made as a preview, and he was attracted to the project and understood what we wanted to do," said Koo.

As a big sci-fi fan, "Warriors of Future" was Koo's cherished dream project. The film took over 10 years to prepare and produce.

A poster for "Warriors of Future." [Image courtesy of One Cool Pictures]

"I feel you must persist in what you want for 10 or 20 years. You need to persist and make it happen," the actor said. "In China, sci-fi is not a big genre. Though the process may be very hard, we must be brave to explore and try. I think we can open more doors for sci-fi movies in China."

He added he had learned many lessons from the project and hoped to make more Chinese sci-fi movies in the future.

"Warriors of Future" will be released in China on Aug. 5, with advanced screenings arranged for Aug. 4. To the delight of sci-fi fans, China's 2022 summer film season has been jammed with sci-fi movies, including the Hollywood blockbuster "Jurassic World Dominion" and domestic productions "Mozart from Space" and "Moon Man."

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