Codename Cougar

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Codename Cougar
Traditional 代號美洲豹
Simplified 代号美洲豹
Mandarin Dàiháo měizhōubào
Directed by Zhang Yimou
Yang Fengliang
Written by Cheng Shiqing
Starring Gong Li
Ge You
Liu Xiaoning
Wang Xueqi
Cinematography Gu Changwei
Release date
  • 1989 (1989)
Running time
90 minutes
Language Mandarin

Codename Cougar (also known as Codename: Cougar, Operation Cougar or The Puma Action) is a 1989 Chinese thriller film. It was co-directed by Zhang Yimou and Yang Fengliang. Unlike the bulk of Zhang's early works (ranging from 1986's Red Sorghum to 1995's Shanghai Triad), which were all historical pieces, Codename Cougar is a modern thriller involving a skyjacked airliner and political intrigue.

The film was made as a private investment by a friend of Zhang, but parts of their initial ideas were censored by the Chinese authorities. In the end, the film broke even but earned no profits. Zhang called it "a purely commercial gun chase film".[1]


The film follows a commercial airliner on a routine flight between Taipei and Seoul that is hijacked and taken to mainland China by the fictional Taiwan Revolutionary Army Front. Communist authorities cannot seize the plane because of the presence of an important business figure on the flight, and agree to cooperate discreetly with Taiwanese authorities to defuse an already tense situation.



The film is generally considered a failure or a footnote to Zhang's general oeuvre; Time referred to the film as Zhang Yimou's last "purely frivolous work."[2]


  1. ^ Zhang Yimou. Frances K. Gateward, Yimou Zhang, Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2001, p. 31.
  2. ^ Corliss, Richard (2002-12-15). "In the Mood for Swordplay". Time. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 

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